Reducing the Number of Sites to Protect


Preventing Nuclear Terrorism: Continuous Improvement or Dangerous Decline?
March 2016 | Report
Project on Managing the Atom, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
By Matthew Bunn, Martin Malin, William Tobey, and Nickolas Roth

This report provides a global assessment of nuclear security. Significant progress has been made securing vulnerable nuclear weapons-usable material—reducing the number of countries with these materials by more than half, securing scores of sites around the world, and much more. But the work is not done. There are new threats, and global attention to nuclear security may be waning. (click here to view)

Reducing the Use of Highly Enriched Uranium in Civilian Research Reactors
January 2016 | Report
U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

Following a report on the same topic in 2009, this report recaps progress made, identifies opportunities for improvement, and recommends next steps to further reduce the use of HEU for research and medical purposes around the world.

Unmaking the Bomb: A Fissile Material Approach to Nuclear Disarmament and Nonproliferation
August 2014 | Book
MIT Press
By Harold A. Feiveson, Alexander Glaser, Zia Mian, and Frank von Hippel

“This book describes the history, production, current stockpiles, and uses of fissile materials, and sets out possible policies for reducing and eventually eliminating them. The centerpiece policy is a proposed Fissile Materials Cutoff Treaty (FMCT), which the authors argue would also complement nonproliferation efforts.”

Removing Risk: Replacing High-Risk Radiological Sources with Alternatives
July 2015 | Article
1540 Compass Magazine, pp. 41–44
By Miles Pomper and Aaron Gluck

The article identifies both the risks and hidden costs of using Cesium-137 for blood irradiation before proposing a roadmap to safer, more practical alternatives.


Advancing Nuclear Security: Evaluating Progress and Setting New Goals
March 2014 | Report
Harvard Kennedy School | Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
By Matthew Bunn, Martin B. Malin, Nickolas Roth, and William H. Tobey

"In the lead-up to the nuclear security summit in The Hague, Advancing Nuclear Security: Evaluating Progress and Setting New Goals outlines what was accomplished in a four-year effort launched in 2009 to secure nuclear material around the globe—and what remains to be done....The authors conclude that “all countries with nuclear weapons, separated plutonium, or highly enriched uranium (HEU) on their soil have more to do to ensure these items are effectively and lastingly secured.”  (click here to view)

Plutonium Mountain: Inside the 17-Year Mission to Secure a Dangerous Legacy of Soviet Nuclear Testing
August 2013 | Report
Harvard Kennedy School | Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
By Eben Harrell and David E. Hoffman

This report tells the story of a cooperative effort involving the United States, Russia, and Kazakhstan to secure plutonium located at Semipalatinsk, one of the Soviet Union’s former nuclear test sites. (click here to view)

Consolidation: Thwarting Nuclear Theft
March 2012 | Report
Harvard Kennedy School | Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
By Matthew Bunn and Eben Harrell

This paper (a) discusses how to set priorities among different stocks to be consolidated; (b) describes the scope and progress of existing consolidation efforts; and (c) suggests steps to complement and extend the existing programs. Our discussion of the next steps for consolidation will fall into two categories: covering additional stocks and facilities that are not yet effectively addressed, and using additional policy approaches to strengthen the effort. On the next page, table ES-1 summarizes our recommendations. (click here to view)

The Four-Year Effort: Contributions of the Global Threat Reduction Initiative to Secure the World's Most Vulnerable Nuclear Material
December 2013 | Report
National Nuclear Security Administration | Global Threat Reduction Initiative

"As President Obama’s Four-Year Effort comes to a close this month, NNSA is highlighting the work carried out by its nonproliferation programs to reduce the threat of vulnerable nuclear material around the world. In support of the Four-Year Effort, NNSA’s Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI) led the effort to secure and, when possible, eliminate these dangerous materials." (click here to view)

Plutonium Fever Blossoms in Japan
March 2014 | Article
Center for Public Integrity
By Jake Adelstein, Douglas Birch, and R. Jeffrey Smith

“By all accounts, the Japanese nuclear industry’s sway and its governmental support remain high, even in the face of technical glitches, huge cost overruns, and accidents like the meltdowns of three reactors at Fukushima three years ago this week — which led to the abrupt closure of all its remaining reactors.” (click here to view)

Japan Could be Building an Irresistible Terrorist Threat, Experts Say
March 2014 | Article
Center for Public Integrity
By Jake Adelstein, Douglas Birch, and R. Jeffrey Smith

"Publicly, the United States has said little about Japan’s plans to enlarge its already substantial hoard of plutonium…. But since Obama was first elected, Washington has been lobbying furiously behind the scenes, trying to persuade Japan that terrorists might regard Rokkasho’s new stockpile of plutonium as an irresistible target — and to convince Japanese officials they should better protect this dangerous raw material." (click here to view)

Securing China's Weapons-Usable Nuclear Material
February 2014 | Journal Article
Science and Global Security
By Hui Zhang

"This article describes the status of China’s military and civilian nuclear programs, fissile material production and associated nuclear facilities, and the Chinese nuclear experts and officials’ perspectives on the nuclear terrorism threat. It gives details of China’s nuclear security practices, attitudes, and regulations, as well as identifying areas of concern. The article recommends ways to strengthen China’s nuclear material protection, control, and accounting systems and suggests opportunities for increased international cooperation." (click here to view)

Ending HEU Use in Medical Isotope Production: Options for US-Russian Cooperation
February 2014 | Paper
Nuclear Threat Initiative
By Valeriya Chekina, Anton Khlopkov, and Miles Pomper

"[A] new paper by Anton Khlopkov and Miles Pomper, with Valeriya Chekina, develops a market-based roadmap for Russia to transition from HEU to LEU in the production of Molybdenum-99, which is used in 80% of the medical procedures involving isotopes. Such a plan would serve both an important nonproliferation function and contribute to the global security of Molybdenum-99 supply." (click here to view)

Strengthening Global Approaches to Nuclear Security
July 2013 | Paper
Harvard Kennedy School | Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
By Matthew Bunn

This paper recommends learning from the much stronger national and international efforts in nuclear safety, and in particular taking steps to build international understanding of the threat; establish effective performance objectives; assure performance; train and certify needed personnel; build security culture and exchange best practices; reduce the number of sites that need to be protected; and strengthen the international framework and continue the dialogue once leaders are no longer meeting regularly at the summit level. (click here to view)

Nuclear Terrorism and Global Security: The Challenge of Phasing out Highly Enriched Uranium
April 2013 | Book
Edited by Alan J. Kuperman

"This book examines the prospects and challenges of a global phase-out of highly enriched uranium—and the risks of this material otherwise being used by terrorists to make atom bombs." (click here to view)

Approaches to Strengthen China's Nuclear Security
July 2012 | Paper
Harvard Kennedy School | Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
By Hui Zhang

This paper assesses China’s material protection, control, and accounting approaches; analyzes existing regulations and administrative systems; and proposes ways of strengthening them. (click here to view)

Progress on Securing Nuclear Weapons and Materials: The Four-Year Effort and Beyond
March 2012 | Report
Harvard Kennedy School | Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
By Matthew Bunn, Eben Harrell, and Martin B. Malin

Released prior to the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit, this report assesses the status of the international initiative to secure all vulnerable nuclear stockpiles and provides recommendations for making further progress. (click here to view)

What Happened to the Soviet Superpower's Nuclear Arsenal? Clues for the Nuclear Security Summit
March 2012 | Discussion Paper
Harvard Kennedy School | Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
By Graham Allison

Two decades have passed without the discovery of a single nuclear weapon outside Russia. This paper addresses the question: how did this happen? Looking ahead, it will consider what clues we can extract from the success in denuclearizing fourteen post-Soviet states that can inform our non-proliferation and nuclear security efforts in the future. (click here to view)

2nd International Symposium on HEU Minimization
January 2012 | Conference Proceedings
Nuclear Threat Initiative | International Atomic Energy Agency

"Co-hosted by Austria, Norway and the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) in cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the 2nd International Symposium on HEU Minimization built on the results of the first Symposium in Oslo in 2006. The Vienna Symposium revisited the issue of highly enriched uranium (HEU) minimization, reviewed the progress made and scope of efforts to date, remaining challenges and possible new measures to address them. Support for minimization of civilian HEU is growing – this has been reflected at the 2010 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty review conference and the 2010 Nuclear Security Summit.  The Symposium focused attention on HEU minimization in the civilian nuclear complex around the world, provided realistic policy discussion and elaboration, and facilitated a dialogue about national and international efforts to minimize and eventually eliminate the use of HEU in the civilian sector." (click here to view)

HEU Consolidation: The U.S. and Russian Pictures
January 2012 | Presentation
By Matthew Bunn

This presentation makes the case for consolidating highly enriched uranium in the United States and Russia. It provides recommendations for how to do so, where to focus efforts, and highlights some issues that still need to be addressed. (click here to view)

Securing the Bomb Series
2002-2010 | Report
Nuclear Threat Initiative
By Matthew Bunn

"The NTI-commissioned reports won readership among journalists and policy experts, triggered legislation in Congress and helped frame the debate for political candidates. The comprehensive reports on nuclear materials security are researched and written under the leadership of Dr. Matthew Bunn at Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs." (click here to view)

Consolidating Fissile Materials in Russia's Nuclear Complex
May 2009 | Report
International Panel on Fissile Materials
By Pavel Podvig

“This report reviews the task of consolidating and securing Russia’s fissile materials, eliminating transfers, and cleaning out civilian sites…. and suggest measures that would help consolidate fissile materials at a smaller number of sites and reduce unnecessary activities and risks.” (click here to view)

Nuclear Medicine's Double Hazard: Imperiled Treatment and the Risk of Terrorism 
July 2008 | Journal Article
Nonproliferation Review
By Cristina Hansell 

"This article examines the production of metastable technetium-99 (Tc-99m), the world's most important radiopharmaceutical, focusing on reliability of supply and risks of nuclear terrorism. Only four producers manufactured about 95 percent of the world's Tc-99m....The technology to employ low-enriched uranium (LEU)—not usable in weapons—to produce Tc-99m is proven, available, and has been used by smaller producers. However, political determination and sufficient funding are needed to convert the major producers' isotope production to LEU and encourage new LEU-based production. Such efforts are needed to ensure supplies and reduce security risks." (click here to view)

HEU Fuel Cycle Inventories and Progress on Global Minimization
July 2008 | Journal Article
Nonproliferation Review
By Styrkaar Hustveit and Ole Reistad

"In 2007, 334 nuclear reactors (including for naval propulsion) and isotope production facilities employed highly enriched uranium (HEU) fuel or target material. One year of operations at these reactors and facilities required more than 3,100 kilograms (kg) of HEU for naval propulsion, more than 750 kg for research reactors, and 40 addition to several tons used in other types of reactors....This article's establishment of baseline measurements for assessing the results of HEU minimization efforts calls for additional focus on the scope and methodology of HEU minimization. Facility decommissioning and dismantling should play a larger role in the future HEU minimization effort, materials with specific weapons-relevant properties should be given higher priority compared to bulk HEU material, and the use of large quantities of weapon-grade HEU fuel for naval propulsion should be reconsidered." (click here to view)

Leveraging U.S. Policy for a Global Commitment to HEU Elimination
July 2008 | Journal Article
Nonproliferation Review
By Cristina Hansell and Anya Loukianova

"By tracing the history of linkages between U.S. HEU policies at home and abroad, this paper examines the reasons why the U.S.-led Reduced Enrichment for Research and Test Reactors (RERTR) and HEU removal programs, despite great technical successes, have not led to quicker elimination of weapon-grade uranium. It argues that the United States must take urgent steps domestically and internationally in order to achieve global elimination of the use of HEU in the civilian sphere." (click here to view)

Nuclear Terrorism and the Global Politics of Civilian HEU Elimination
July 2008 | Journal Article
Nonproliferation Review
By William C. Potter

"An increasing number of countries recognize the special risks of nuclear terrorism associated with the civilian use and storage of and commerce in highly enriched uranium (HEU)....Although HEU has few commercial uses, and most experts believe it is technically feasible to substitute low-enriched uranium for HEU in nearly all civilian applications, efforts to reduce HEU stocks have been impeded by a variety of economic, political, and strategic considerations. This article analyzes the nature of these impediments and discusses what is required to overcome them." (click here to view)

Phasing Out Civilian HEU in Russia: Opportunities and Challenges
July 2008 | Journal Article
Nonproliferation Review
By Elena K. Sokova

"Russia holds the largest stocks of civilian highly enriched uranium (HEU) of any country, operating more than fifty research reactors, pulsed reactors, and critical assemblies using HEU, as well as nine HEU-fueled icebreakers. Russia's participation in international efforts to phase out civilian HEU is crucial if international HEU minimization efforts are to succeed. Individual Russian institutes and organizations participate in international programs to replace HEU with low-enriched uranium in Soviet-supplied research reactors, develop alternative fuels, and repatriate fresh and spent HEU fuel from third countries. However, an overarching national policy on HEU phase-out has yet to be adopted." (click here to view)

Practical Steps Toward a World Without Civilian HEU
July 2008 | Journal Article
Nonproliferation Review
By Cristina Hansell

"In the last three decades, the Reduced Enrichment Research and Test Reactors program has made great progress in developing the technical means to eliminate HEU use in most civilian applications. Yet in practice, this has not translated into significant global reductions in HEU use. This article identifies steps to build the international consensus needed to reduce the risks posed by HEU." (click here to view)

The Hard Cases: Eliminating Civilian HEU in Ukraine and Belarus
July 2008 | Journal Article
Nonproliferation Review
By Robert Nurick and William C. Potter

“This article identifies the major obstacles to HEU removal at two key installations Kharkiv in Ukraine, and Sosny in Belarus and recommends a strategy for overcoming these impediments. Key components for a successful disposition strategy include: treating these cases with the urgency they deserve, expanding potential compensation packages, explicitly addressing the institutional and political issues involved, engaging high-level political leaders, working with third parties, and promoting these efforts as part of a nondiscriminatory initiative to phase out HEU in the civilian nuclear sector globally.” (click here to view)

Cooperative Denuclearization: From Pledges to Deeds
January 1993 | Book
Harvard Kennedy School | Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
By Graham Allison, Ashton B. Carter, Steven E. Miller, and Phillip D. Zelikow

"CSIA's research on cooperative denuclearization began during the August 1991 putsch against Mikhail Gorbachev. To those of us familiar with nuclear weapons, their construction, and command and control, and with the looming revolution about to sweep the then–Soviet Union, it was plain that a new and unprecedented danger to international security was emerging. An appropriate policy response to this new form of nuclear threat could not be fashioned from traditional Cold War tools of deterrence, arms control, and military preparedness alone." (click here to view)