1026 Items

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Policy Brief

Verifying the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons and Providing Assurance against Breakout

| February 2018

Effective verification will be absolutely essential to achieving nuclear disarmament. Developing effective verification may seem an impossible challenge, but there is substantial experience to build on, including IAEA safeguards and bilateral arms control processes. Examining the specific steps required to progress disarmament, we are not starting with a blank sheet, many verification missions are similar to those existing or under development today. International collaboration in developing new verification applications will contribute to the confidence and trust required to achieve the elimination of nuclear weapons.

A poster on a fence in Lahore, Pakistan shows Pakistani nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan, glorified by many of his countrymen but reviled by Western governments.

AP Photo/K.M. Chaudary

Journal Article - Nonproliferation Review

Why Do Entities Get Involved in Proliferation? Exploring the Criminology of Illicit WMD-Related Trade

| Feb. 01, 2018

This article seeks to provide an original approach to weapons of mass destruction (WMD)-related illicit trade by drawing on criminology and focusing on the transactional level. Specifically, the article discusses the “rational-choice” model as a way to understand an entity’s involvement in illicit trade, and considers also the limitations of this approach, as well as the role that opportunity plays in an actor’s decision to engage in illicit trade. The article draws the conclusion that the prospects of deterring illicit trade using export controls and related criminal sanctions are limited.

The Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor at the Kalpakkam Nuclear Complex, India.

Kirstie Hansen / IAEA

Paper - Managing the Atom Project, Belfer Center

India’s Nuclear Safeguards: Not Fit for Purpose

| January 2018

Currently, the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) is considering India’s application for membership. In this context NSG members are reportedly discussing membership criteria for states not party to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), including a requirement for clear and strict separation of current and future civilian nuclear facilities from non-civilian nuclear facilities. In this paper, John Carlson examines India’s Separation Plan and safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and shows that they do not meet this standard – that current arrangements create an unverified grey zone between military and civilian material, and are not sufficient to verify that India is not using safeguarded material to benefit military purposes.

Report - International Panel on Fissile Materials

China’s Fissile Material Production and Stockpile

| January 2018

China began producing highly enriched uranium (HEU) and plutonium for nuclear weapons in the 1960s and is believed to have halted production the 1980s. Despite the passage of thirty years there has been no official policy declaration in this regard. This report uses newly available public information from Chinese sources to provide an improved reconstruction of the history of China’s production of HEU and plutonium for nuclear weapons. This allows improved estimates of the amount of HEU and plutonium China has produced and of its current stockpiles.

Journal Article - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

New Ways to Detect Nuclear Misbehavior

| Jan. 08, 2018

If we had the technology to detect nuclear materials remotely it could help deter smuggling and make it easier to monitor international nuclear agreements. Several recent breakthroughs, if followed up with continued research and funding, could deliver on this promise. They include technological advances in x-ray and neutron radiography; a method that measures how plasma breaks down when exposed to a radioactive source; and developments in antineutrino detection. While all require more development and testing, they are important steps as the global need for ways to detect nuclear materials grows.

A U.S. Navy Grumman F-14A-90-GR Tomcat.

U.S. Navy

Journal Article - Strategic Trade Review

Tomcat and Mouse: Iranian Illicit Procurement of U.S. Legacy Military Technologies, 1979–2016

| Autumn 2017

Since the 1979 revolution, Iran has sought to illicitly procure parts for the U.S. origin fighter aircraft sold to the country under the rule of the Shah. The U.S. has taken steps to quash this trade—these efforts have constituted a relatively large proportion of U.S. export control enforcement over the past near-to-four decades. 

overhead image of Brookhaven National Laboratory

©2016 Landsat / Copernicus, used with permission

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

The Department of Energy National Laboratories

| November 2017

This report recommends policies and actions to improve the return on investment the U.S. government makes in sponsoring research and development (R&D) at the Department of Energy's (DOE) seventeen National Laboratories ("Labs"). While the Labs make a unique and significant contribution to all of the Department of Energy's missions, the authors develop the idea that for the Labs to fully support DOE's energy transformation goals, their R&D management practices need to be updated to better reflect current research into innovation systems and management. They also highlight the necessity of Lab interactions with industry in order to impact the nation's energy infrastructure investment, which is, for the most part, privately held.

Crew members of the Energy Observer, a former race boat turned into a autonomous navigation with hydrogen, clean the solar panels of the boat in Paris

AP

Journal Article - Nature

Six Principles for Public Energy Innovation Programs

As the window of opportunity to avert dangerous climate change closes, the authors argue that we urgently need to take stock of government initiatives that accelerate innovation in energy technologies to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. What works and why?

Floating desalination unit "Hydriada" powered by wind and solar energy

Creative Commons

Journal Article - Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews

Towards Sustainability in Water-energy Nexus: Ocean Energy for Seawater Desalination

In this article, the authors review the state of the art of ocean energy in desalination. It explores different sources of energy from the ocean that include electricity generation, as well as mechanical force and thermal energy and salinity gradients that can also be directly harnessed for powering the desalination processes. They also examine recent advances in scaling up for commercial deployment and discuss relevant cost, environmental, and social concerns.