Nuclear Issues

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The U.S.-Russia Initiative to Prevent Nuclear Terrorism Newsletter: November 2020 - November 2021

| Dec. 10, 2021

 

  • U.S.-Russia Elbe Group Maintains Focus on Threat of Nuclear Terrorism.
  • Former Chernobyl Plant Manager Bryukhanov Dies.
  • Matthew Bunn on Threat to Nuclear and Radiological Transports.
  • On 9/11 Anniversary Russian Officials Call for Resumption of U.S.-Russian CT Cooperation.
  • Experts Weigh in on 9/11 Anniversary.
  • U.S. and Norway Agree to Eliminate All of Norway’s HEU.
  • Two Soviet Nuclear Submarine Reactors Located.
  • Russian Security Council: Terrorists Remain Interested in NBC.
  • IAEA Adopts Resolutions on Nuclear Security, NS Center Planned.
  • Allison on Risk of Mega-terrorist Attack After U.S. Withdrawal From Afghanistan.
  • Arbatov Warns of Enduring Threat of Nuclear Terrorism to Russia in His New Volume.
  • Russia’s New Security Strategy Drops References to CT Partnership With U.S.
  • NNSA’s Non-Proliferation Budget to Decrease in ’22, Provides for US and Russian Visits.
  • Should U.S.-Russian Interaction in Cyberspace Involve CT? 
  • Russia’s NPP Operator Conducts Emergency Preparedness Exercise.
  • Putin and Biden Discuss Terrorist Threat Emanating from Afghanistan, but No Deal.
  • U.S. Experts on Ensuring Access to Neutrons While Reducing Nuclear Terrorism Risks.
  • Beebe Weighs in on U.S.-Russian CT Interaction.
  • Duo Detained for Alleged Attempt to Sell Americium-241.
  • 12th GUMO Guard’s Sentence Upheld.
  • NDAA-Mandated Group to Identify Nuclear Terrorism Risks.
  • Belfer’s MTA Hosts Conference on Lessons of Fukushima and Chernobyl.
  • Russia Withdraws from Uranium Hexafluoride Transportation Deal with U.S.
  • Bell: U.S. Needs to Convince Russia on Contending With Nuclear Terrorism Threat.
  • U.S. and Canada Complete Repatriation of HEU Material.
  • Siegfried Hecker Outlines his Vision of Future for Nuclear Security Cooperation.
  • Hackers Breach U.S. Nuclear Agency.
  • Tobey on Assassinations of Nuclear Scientists and Terrorists.
  • Rosatom Has Checked Nuclear Sites, Following a Tip on Terrorism from U.S.

A member of the Czech Army takes part in an anti-terrorism drill at the Temelin nuclear power plant near the town of Tyn nad Vltavou, Czech Republic, April 11, 2017.

REUTERS/David W. Cerny

Analysis & Opinions - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Twenty Years After 9/11, Terrorists Could Still Go Nuclear

| Sep. 16, 2021

The probability of terrorists getting and using a nuclear bomb appears to be low—but the consequences if they did would be so devastating that it is worth beefing up efforts to make sure terrorists never get their hands on a nuclear bomb’s essential ingredients. To see the possibilities, we need to look at motive, capability, and opportunity.

The logo of Atomwaffen Division, a neo-Nazi terrorist network based in the United States.

Skjoldbro/Wikimedia Commons

Analysis & Opinions - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

A Threat to Confront: Far-Right Extremists and Nuclear Terrorism

| Jan. 14, 2021

Every president serving in the last two decades has said that nuclear terrorism is a significant national security threat. Analysis of this threat has been, for good reason, mostly focused on foreign extremist groups, but recent events raise questions of whether there should be greater focus in the United States on far-right, domestic extremist threats. These extremists represent a unique danger because of their prevalence in federal institutions such as the military and the potential that they might infiltrate nuclear facilities, where they could access sensitive information and nuclear materials.

Photo taken on Feb. 15, 1989, people and relatives greet Soviet Army soldiers driving on their armored personnel carriers after crossing a bridge on the border between Afghanistan and then Soviet Uzbekistan near the Uzbek town of Termez, Uzbekistan.

(AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

Analysis & Opinions - Russia Matters

Lessons for Leaders: What Afghanistan Taught Russian and Soviet Strategists

| Feb. 28, 2019

The following is a selection of military-political lessons gleaned mostly from the recollections of Soviet strategists who were involved in making and executing the fateful decision to send troops to Afghanistan, as well as from writings by some of post-Soviet Russia’s prominent military analysts. Where possible, the author made an effort to relay these strategists’ analysis of the failures and successes of the intervention because he felt that such assessments, based on first-hand experience, are not always given their due in English-language literature on the subject. 

A member of the Czech Army takes part in an anti-terrorism drill at the Temelin nuclear power plant near the town of Tyn nad Vltavou, Czech Republic, April 11, 2017.

REUTERS/David W. Cerny

Report - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Revitalizing Nuclear Security in an Era of Uncertainty

| January 2019

Nuclear security around the world has improved dramatically over the last three decades—which demonstrates that with focused leadership, major progress is possible. But important weaknesses remain, and the evolution of the threat remains unpredictable. The danger that terrorists could get and use a nuclear bomb, or sabotage a major nuclear facility, or spread dangerous radioactive material in a “dirty bomb,” remains too high. The United States and countries around the world need to join together and provide the leadership and resources needed to put global nuclear security on a sustained path of continuous improvement, in the never-ending search for excellence in performance.

Heads of delegation for 2016 Nuclear Security Summit gather for family photo in Washington, D.C. on April 1, 2016.

Ben Solomon/U.S. Department of State

Analysis & Opinions - The Hill

Rhetoric Aside, the US Commitment to Preventing Nuclear Terrorism is Waning

| Apr. 19, 2018

With the world focused on the United States and North Korea, it’s easy to forget that every president for a quarter-century has said preventing nuclear terrorism was a national security priority. This includes the Trump administration, which identified in its Nuclear Posture Review that nuclear terrorism is one of “the most significant threats to the security of the United States.” It appears, however, despite this strong rhetoric, the administration may not be putting its money where its mouth is.

Hiroshima

U.S. Army

Analysis & Opinions - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

The Effects of a Single Terrorist Nuclear Bomb

| Sep. 28, 2017

The escalating threats between North Korea and the United States make it easy to forget the “nuclear nightmare,” as former US Secretary of Defense William J. Perry put it, that could result even from the use of just a single terrorist nuclear bomb in the heart of a major city.

At the risk of repeating the vast literature on the tragedies of Hiroshima and Nagasaki—and the substantial literature surrounding nuclear tests and simulations since then—we attempt to spell out here the likely consequences of the explosion of a single terrorist nuclear bomb on a major city, and its subsequent ripple effects on the rest of the planet. Depending on where and when it was detonated, the blast, fire, initial radiation, and long-term radioactive fallout from such a bomb could leave the heart of a major city a smoldering radioactive ruin, killing tens or hundreds of thousands of people and wounding hundreds of thousands more. Vast areas would have to be evacuated and might be uninhabitable for years. Economic, political, and social aftershocks would ripple throughout the world. A single terrorist nuclear bomb would change history. The country attacked—and the world—would never be the same.

People watch a TV screen showing file footage of a North Korean missile launch, at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea on Aug. 29. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon

Analysis & Opinions - The Atlantic

The North Korean Threat Beyond ICBMs

| Aug. 28, 2017

From the moment that President Barack Obama told President-elect Donald Trump during the transition about the impending threat of North Korean nuclear-tipped ICBMs, Trump’s basic stance has been: not on my watch. From his tweet of January 2 (“won’t happen!”) to his August statements that the U.S. military is “locked and loaded” to unleash “fire and fury” on North Korea if it threatens America, Trump has sought to draw a red line that makes it clear he will do whatever is necessary to halt North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs—before they can target the continental United States.