19 Events

A deserted classroom in Pripyat, Ukraine, three decades after the Chernobyl disaster, 10 March 2013.

Wikimedia CC/DmytroChapman

Seminar - Open to the Public

Recent Lessons for the Recovery from Acts of Radiological and Nuclear Terrorism

Thu., Oct. 29, 2020 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

Online

Speaker: Julius Weitzdörfer, Junior Professor of East Asian Law, Hagen University, Germany

Risks stemming from CBRN-terrorism (chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear) are characterized by relatively low frequency, yet extraordinary potential impact. To help reduce the enormous potential costs associated with radiological and nuclear terrorism, drawing on cases from Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States, this seminar seeks to derive and improve recovery policies towards a well-rounded, holistic approach to mitigating the risks of nuclear and radiological terrorism.

Everyone is welcome to join us online via Zoom! Register in advance for this meeting: https://harvard.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJAoc-yhrjwrEtEXOUTdHqGhMvLscB5VO38u

The USS Pennsylvania, a nuclear-armed Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine

U.S. Navy Photo

Seminar - Open to the Public

Nuclear Platform Diversification: A New Dataset

Thu., May 7, 2020 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

Online

Speakers: Giles David Arceneaux, Postdoctoral Fellow, International Security Program/Project on Managing the Atom

Kyungwon Suh, Ph.D. candidate, Department of Political Science, Syracuse University

The deterrent capacity of a state's nuclear forces is dependent upon the platforms and delivery systems that constitute the arsenal. The mere possession of nuclear weapons does not provide a robust deterrent and nuclear states cannot credibly deter potential adversaries with nuclear threats in the absence of adequate delivery capabilities. The project presents a new dataset that measures the possession of seven nuclear delivery platforms across all nuclear powers from 1945–2019, including: submarine-launched missiles, strategic land-mobile missiles, strategic solid-fuel missiles, nuclear cruise missiles, multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles, long-range ballistic missiles, and tactical nuclear weapons.

Everyone is welcome to join us online via Zoom! Please register in advance for this seminar: https://harvard.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJcsf-6uqTwoHdZZJ3qqoP1Ohy78rsXBc5en

Yellow cake uranium is a solid form of uranium oxide produced from uranium ore. Yellow cake must be processed further before it is made into nuclear fuel.

Wikimedia CC/Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Seminar - Open to the Public

Foreign Skeletons in Nuclear Closets: Implications for Policy and Verification

Thu., May 23, 2019 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

One Brattle Square - Room 350

Speaker: Sébastien Philippe, Stanton Nuclear Security Postdoctoral Fellow, International Security Program/Project on Managing the Atom

Most successful nuclear weapons programs have benefited from significant foreign assistance for the acquisition of nuclear materials, sensitive equipment, and know-how. Such assistance is often kept secret, even after states decide to put an end to their nuclear weapons programs or ambitions. This seminar will discuss the policy and verification implications of this source of opacity on the reconstruction of past nuclear military activities as part of non-proliferation or denuclearization agreements.  It will build upon an historical and technical analysis of nuclear assistance between France, Israel, and South Africa and conclude by discussing the impact of discovering previously hidden information on existing policies and ongoing diplomatic processes.

Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.

A forklift shovels one-ton containers of mustard gas over the side of a barge somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean in 1964. The Army dumped millions of pounds of chemical warfare agent over decades in this way.

U.S. Army

Seminar - Open to the Public

WMD Disposal, Destruction, and Disarmament: The Reduction of U.S. Chemical and Nuclear Weapon Stockpiles

Thu., May 16, 2019 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

One Brattle Square - Room 350

Speaker:  Cameron Tracy, Stanton Nuclear Security Postdoctoral Fellow, International Security Program/Project on Managing the Atom

States often spend vast sums on weapon production, yet have trouble mustering the resources necessary to eliminate stockpiled weapons for arms control and disarmament purposes. Stockpile reductions have proven particularly challenging with respect to weapons of mass destruction, for which weaponizability is embedded in materials rather than assembled devices. Their elimination commonly requires expensive, technologically demanding processes. U.S. chemical weapon and weapons plutonium stockpile reduction efforts provide useful case studies for investigation of the factors governing the success of reductions programs, as they faced similar challenges yet yielded divergent outcomes. This project involves comparative analysis of both reductions programs, focusing on the technical, organizational, and sociopolitical contexts that aided or hindered elimination.

Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.

Glass mural found in an office of the former East German Ministry for State Security (Stasi).

Alexander K. Bollfrass

Seminar - Open to the Public

Blinded by Belief: U.S., UK, and East German Nuclear Espionage in West Germany

Thu., Apr. 5, 2018 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

One Brattle Square - Room 350

Speaker: Alexander K. Bollfrass, Stanton Nuclear Security Postdoctoral Fellow, International Security Program/Project on Managing the Atom

Fears of a West German bomb sharpened Cold War tensions, making the country's nuclear program an intelligence priority for all concerned states. Based on original archival and newly declassified files, this presentation evaluates the accuracy of U.S., UK, and East German intelligence assessments of the Federal Republic's proliferation risk. Despite spectacular collection successes, the Stasi's analysts were required to view the world through thick ideological lenses. The result was a distorted picture of West German ambition to arm itself with nuclear weapons.

Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.

Missile silo of a SS-24 missile, Strategic Missile Forces Museum in Ukraine. 8 March 2008.

Creative Commons

Seminar - Open to the Public

The Power of the NPT: International Norms and Nuclear Disarmament of Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine, 1990–1994

Thu., Dec. 1, 2016 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

Littauer Building - Belfer Center Library, Room 369

There is a lingering disagreement among scholars on how the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) affects nonproliferation and disarmament outcomes, in particular the political motivations of states to acquire or renounce nuclear weapons. Drawing on constructivist scholarship, this research project conceptualizes a range of normative mechanisms through which international norms and regimes could affect domestic political deliberations and proceeds to examine them in the cases of nuclear disarmament of Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine.

Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.

U.S. President Richard Nixon, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, and U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, during the first official visit by a U.S. president to Israel, June 16–17, 1974.

Ya'acov Sa'ar, GPO​

Seminar - Open to the Public

The Political Effects of Nuclear Proliferation

Thu., Sep. 17, 2015 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

Littauer Building - Belfer Center Library, Room 369

This seminar will examine these political effects of nuclear acquisition in the cases of France, China, Israel, and South Africa and reflect on the likely political consequences of eventual Iranian nuclear acquisition.

Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.

Seminar - Open to the Public

Film Screening: The Man Who Saved the World

Thu., Feb. 5, 2015 | 6:00pm - 9:00pm

Belfer Building - Starr Auditorium, Floor 2.5

The week of February 2-6, 2015, colleges and universities across the country will take part in a National Screening of this unreleased, award-winning movie about Stanislav Petrov, a former Soviet Lt. Colonel. On September 26, 1983, Petrov was the commanding officer on duty at a Soviet nuclear early warning center, when the system falsely reported the launching of five nuclear missiles from the United States. In the harrowing moments that followed, Petrov overruled the system's warning, personally declaring that it was a false alarm. This monumental decision very likely prevented an erroneous retaliatory nuclear attack on the United States and its Western allies. Petrov’s decision changed the fate of the world but turned his life upside down – which is poignantly told in the film. You can view the trailer for the movie here.

The Project on Managing the Atom will hold a screening for the Harvard community on February 5th at 6:00 PM in Starr Auditorium, followed by a discussion led by Lt. Col. Brandon Parker (USAF), a Research Fellow with the Project on Managing the Atom/International Security Program, and Matthew Bunn, Professor of Practice at HKS.