Reports & Papers

11 Items

A Tajik conscript looks out over remote stretches of northern Afghanistan from a border outpost near Khorog, Tajikistan.

Photo by David Trilling (c)

Report - Russia Matters

Jihadists from Ex-Soviet Central Asia: Where Are They? Why Did They Radicalize? What Next?

| Fall 2018

Thousands of radicals from formerly Soviet Central Asia have traveled to fight alongside IS in Syria and Iraq; hundreds more are in Afghanistan. Not counting the fighting in those three war-torn countries, nationals of Central Asia have been responsible for nearly 100 deaths in terrorist attacks outside their home region in the past five years. But many important aspects of the phenomenon need more in-depth study.

This research paper attempts to answer four basic sets of questions: (1) Is Central Asia becoming a new source of violent extremism that transcends borders, and possibly continents? (2) If so, why? What causes nationals of Central Asia to take up arms and participate in political violence? (3) As IS has been all but defeated in Iraq and Syria, what will Central Asian extremists who have thrown in their lot with the terrorist group do next? And (4) do jihadists from Central Asia aspire to acquire and use weapons of mass destruction? If so, how significant a threat do they pose and who would be its likeliest targets?

    Discussion Paper - Energy Technology Innovation Policy Project, Belfer Center

    Energy Technology Expert Elicitations for Policy: Workshops, Modeling, and Meta-analysis

    | October 2014

    Characterizing the future performance of energy technologies can improve the development of energy policies that have net benefits under a broad set of future conditions. In particular, decisions about public investments in research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) that promote technological change can benefit from (1) an explicit consideration of the uncertainty inherent in the innovation process and (2) a systematic evaluation of the tradeoffs in investment allocations across different technologies. To shed light on these questions, over the past five years several groups in the United States and Europe have conducted expert elicitations and modeled the resulting societal benefits. In this paper, the authors discuss the lessons learned from the design and implementation of these initiatives.

    Global diplomats after reaching an interim agreement with Iran over its nuclear program on November 24, 2013.

    AFP/Getty Images

    Report

    A Final Deal with Iran: Filling the Gaps

    | May 14, 2014

    What would be the consequences if the interim deal became, de facto, permanent?  Does the interim deal have gaps that would be fatal to any long-term arrangement?  What are the consequences if no deal is reached?  And, are such consequences better or worse than those resulting from an extension of the interim deal, or from a deal that fails to meet minimum acceptable standards? These questions, among others, were addressed at a private roundtable discussion hosted by the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control on April 25, 2014.

    teaser image

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

    What Happened to the Soviet Superpower’s Nuclear Arsenal? Clues for the Nuclear Security Summit

    | March 2012

    Twenty years ago Russia and fourteen other newly-independent states emerged from the ruins of the Soviet empire, many as nations for the first time in history. As is typical in the aftermath of the collapse of an empire, this was followed by a period of chaos, confusion, and corruption. As the saying went at the time, “everything is for sale.” At that same moment, as the Soviet state imploded, 35,000 nuclear weapons remained at thousands of sites across a vast Eurasian landmass that stretched across eleven time zones. 

    Today, fourteen of the fifteen successor states to the Soviet Union are nuclear weapons-free. This paper will address 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. These clues may inform leaders of the U.S., Russia, and other responsible nations attending the Seoul Nuclear Security Summit on March 26-27, 2012. The paper will conclude with specific recommendations, some exceedingly ambitious that world leaders could follow to build on the Seoul summit’s achievements against nuclear terrorism in the period before the next summit in 2014. One of these would be to establish a Global Alliance Against Nuclear Terrorism.

    Report

    International Workshop on Research, Development, and Demonstration to Enhance the Role of Nuclear Energy in Meeting Climate and Energy Challenges

    | April 2011

    Dramatic growth in nuclear energy would be required for nuclear power to provide a significant part of the carbon-free energy the world is likely to need in the 21st century, or a major part in meeting other energy challenges. This would require increased support from governments, utilities, and publics around the world. Achieving that support is likely to require improved economics and major progress toward resolving issues of nuclear safety, proliferation-resistance, and nuclear waste management. This is likely to require both research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) of improved technologies and new policy approaches.

    Conceptual drawing of a single B&W mPower™ nuclear reactor module inside its own independent, underground containment.

    Babcock & Wilcox Photo

    Report - Energy Technology Innovation Policy Project, Belfer Center

    Tranforming the Energy Economy: Options for Accelerating the Commercialization of Advanced Energy Technologies—Framing Statement

    "There is broad political consensus that the current energy system in the United States is unable to meet the nation's future energy needs, from the security, environment, and economic perspectives. New energy technologies are required to increase the availability of domestic energy supplies, to reduce the negative environmental impacts of our energy system, to improve the reliability of current energy infrastructure (e.g., smart grid, energy storage), and to increase energy efficiency throughout the economy."

    The world's first grid-scale, flywheel-based energy storage plant is being built in Stephentown, N.Y. The plant is being built by Beacon Power Corporation (NASDAQ: BCON) & is supported by a $43 million loan guarantee from DOE.

    Beacon Power Corp. Photo

    Report - Energy Technology Innovation Policy Project, Belfer Center

    Transforming the Energy Economy: Options for Accelerating the Commercialization of Advanced Energy Technologies

    "The focus of the workshop was on the demonstration stage of the technology innovation cycle. Current policies do not adequately address the private sector’s inability to overcome the demonstration "valley of death" for new energy technologies. Investors and financiers fear that the technology and operational risks at this stage of the cycle remain too high to justify the level of investment to build a commercial-sized facility."

    Report - National Commission on Energy Policy

    Energy Policy Recommendations to the President and the 110th Congress

    | April 2007

    The National Commission on Energy Policy proposes revised policies regarding a cap and trade proposal for addressing global climate change, increases in fuel economy standards, approaches for the storage of nuclear waste, development and deployment of advanced coal technologies, adoption of a national renewable energy standard, and other major energy policy issues.

    Report - National Commission on Energy Policy

    Ending the Energy Stalemate: A Bipartisan Strategy to Meet America's Energy Challenges

    | December 2004

    The report contains detailed policy recommendations for addressing oil security, climate change, natural gas supply, the future of nuclear energy, and other long-term challenges, and is backed by more than 30 original research studies.