477 Events

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.

Weekly public audience, Pope Francis, Saint Peter's Square, May 2, 2018.

Wikimedia CC/Mariordo

Seminar - Open to the Public

The (Im)Morality of Deterrence: Questions for the Pope, Policymakers, and Practitioners

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

One Brattle Square - Room 350

Speaker: Tory Kindrick, Research Fellow, International Security Program/Project on Managing the Atom

Policymakers and theorists have long debated the utility of nuclear deterrence as policy, while philosophers have debated its morality. In 2017, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis, declared the use of nuclear deterrence to be immoral, signing the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in his role as head of state of Vatican City. No nuclear weapons states have as yet signed the treaty. This discussion explores how moral views may facilitate and complicate policy discussion and considers questions for moral authorities, policymakers, and practitioners when contemplating the morality of deterrence.

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

Co-Sponsored by Project on Managing the Atom

Seminar - Open to the Public

India and Nuclear Asia: Forces, Doctrine and Dangers

Thu., Apr. 11, 2019 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

One Brattle Square - Room 350

Speaker: Frank O'Donnell, Postdoctoral Fellow, U.S. Naval War College

The speaker will detail the arguments of his recent book, India and Nuclear Asia: Forces, Doctrine and Dangers. The book explores the post-1998 evolution of Indian nuclear thought, its arsenal, the triangular rivalry with Pakistan and China, and New Delhi's nonproliferation policy approaches. The speaker argues that emerging trends in all three states are elevating risks of regional inadvertent and accidental escalation. These include the forthcoming launch of naval nuclear forces within an environment of contested maritime boundaries; the growing employment of dual-use delivery vehicles; and the emerging preferences of all three states to employ missiles early in a conflict. These dangers are amplified by the near-absence of substantive nuclear dialogue between these states, and the growing ambiguity of regional strategic intentions. To mitigate these trends, the speaker recommends that the three states initiate a trilateral strategic dialogue, and that India institute a strategic defense review to resolve the growing ambiguities around its conventional and nuclear deterrence and improve public confidence in them.

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

Co-Sponsored by Project on Managing the Atom

The newly developed DF-26 medium-range ballistic missile as seen after the military parade held in Beijing to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII, 3 September 2015.

Wikimedia CC/IceUnshattered

Seminar - Open to the Public

Sino-U.S. Inadvertent Nuclear Escalation

Thu., Mar. 14, 2019 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

One Brattle Square - Room 350

Speaker: WU Riqiang, Research Fellow, International Security Program/Project on Managing the Atom

It is generally believed that in peacetime current Sino-U.S. nuclear relations are stable and deliberate nuclear exchanges between these two countries are unimaginable. However, conventional conflict might escalate to nuclear level, even if both sides wish to avoid it at the beginning of the war. This seminar will provide a causal mechanism of Sino-U.S. inadvertent escalation. Three driving factors are identified: the vulnerability of Chinese nuclear forces, the not-by-design co-mingling of China's conventional and nuclear weapons, and the fog of war. The security dilemma will worsen the situation and increase the escalatory risk. The mechanism is then tested via two hypothetical scenarios: a missile campaign and submarine warfare. In order to reduce the risk of inadvertent escalation, the United States should build confidence with China by declaring mutual vulnerability vis-à-vis China and constraining its strategic capabilities. China could also demarcate its nuclear and conventional missiles and clarify its no-first-use policy that conventional attacks on nuclear weapons would be regarded as nuclear attacks.

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