45 Events

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.

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.

An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launches during an operational test at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. May 3, 2017.

Air Force photo/2nd Lt. William Collette

Seminar - Open to the Public

The Logic of American Nuclear Strategy

Wed., Nov. 7, 2018 | 10:00am - 11:30am

Littauer Building - Fainsod Room, 324

Matthew Kroenig, Associate Professor of Government at Georgetown University and the Deputy Director of the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council, will discuss his new book The Logic of American Nuclear Strategy.

Military vehicles carry DF-5B intercontinental ballistic missiles during a parade commemorating the 70th anniversary of Japan's surrender during World War II held in front of Tiananmen Gate in Beijing, Sept. 3, 2015.

Voice of America/Wikimedia Commons

Seminar - Open to the Public

Merits of Uncertainty: The Evolution and Future of China’s Nuclear Retaliatory Capability

Wed., Sep. 12, 2018 | 10:00am - 11:30am

Littauer Building - Fainsod Room, 324

Speaker: Wu Riqiang, Research Fellow with the International Security Program and Project on Managing the Atom
 
A simplified nuclear exchange model will be developed to evaluate China’s past and current nuclear retaliatory capability against the Soviet Union and the United States. The modeling suggests that according to Western standards, China’s nuclear retaliation has been and remains far from “assured.” This result reflects China’s special nuclear philosophy, which emphasizes the role of nuclear taboo and prioritizes political control over survivability. However, in the face of U.S. advances in the areas of counterforce and missile defense, China probably has to continue to improve its nuclear forces qualitatively and, if necessary, quantitatively, in order to maintain its deterrent level.

Signatures on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) document.

Public Domain

Seminar - Open to the Public

Iran's Nuclear Decision-Making: Historical Trends and the Role of U.S. Policy

Thu., May 17, 2018 | 10:00am - 11:30am

Littauer Building - Fainsod Room, 324

Speaker: Sahar Nowrouzzadeh, Research Fellow with the Iran Project and Project on Managing the Atom

During this seminar, Sahar Nowrouzzadeh will examine historical trends in Iran's nuclear-decision making and discuss the role of U.S. foreign policy in shaping such decision-making.  This event comes on the heels of President Trump's May 8th decision to have the United States cease fulfilling its commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) or "Iran nuclear deal," reached between the P5+1, EU and Iran in 2015. The event will be off-the-record.
 

View to the south of Yucca Mountain crest showing coring activities.

DOE

Seminar - Open to the Public

The Stalemate of Nuclear Waste Management and its Effect on the Fuel Cycle, Security, and Non-Proliferation Endeavors

Thu., May 10, 2018 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

One Brattle Square - Room 350

Speaker: Katlyn M. Turner, Postdoctoral Fellow, International Security Program/Project on Managing the Atom

The state of long-term management of nuclear waste in the United States is at an impasse. While technical options exist for long-term radiological waste isolation, these are irrelevant in the face of the socio-political complications of siting and operating a nuclear waste repository. This lecture will outline and detail 1) the history of nuclear waste management options considered by the United States leading to its decision to pursue a long-term geologic repository for ultimate waste disposal, 2) the process—technical and political—of attempting to site Yucca Mountain as the United States' repository for civilian nuclear waste, and 3) the outlook moving forward for any attempts to site and operate a long-term geologic repositor—Yucca Mountain or otherwise—for nuclear waste in the United States. This lecture will attempt to situate the struggle to effectively manage nuclear waste within the realm of nuclear energy issues, nuclear security, and nuclear non-proliferation issues.

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