Reports & Papers

12 Items

Report - Managing the Atom Project, Belfer Center

Fresh Ideas for the Future: Symposium on the NPT

| April 26, 2015

The abstracts in this booklet summarise the research presented at an academic symposium convened on the sidelines of the 2015 NPT Review Conference. As we write this, journalists and seasoned experts in the nuclear policy field have been speculating about the particularly difficult challenges facing the Review Conference this year. To address those challenges, we would urge all concerned to consider the ideas and analyses presented at this symposium. Experts would be hard-pressed to find a better collection of fresh ideas and approaches for assessing and strengthening the NPT.

Report - Managing the Atom Project, Belfer Center

Advancing Nuclear Security: Evaluating Progress and Setting New Goals

In the lead-up to the nuclear security summit, Advancing Nuclear Security: Evaluating Progress and Setting New Goals outlines what was accomplished in a four-year effort launched in 2009 to secure nuclear material around the globe—and what remains to be done. The effort made significant progress, but some weapons-usable nuclear materials still remain “dangerously vulnerable." The authors highlight the continuing danger of nuclear and radiological terrorism and call for urgent action.

Report - Managing the Atom Project, Belfer Center

Plutonium Mountain: Inside the 17-Year Mission to Secure a Legacy of Soviet Nuclear Testing

| August 15, 2013

The Belfer Center’s Eben Harrell and Pulitzer Prize-winning author David E. Hoffman for the first time report the details of one of the largest nuclear security operations of the post-Cold War years — a  secret 17-year, $150 million operation to secure plutonium in the tunnels of Degelen Mountain.

Satellite photo of a uranium-enrichment facility near Qom, Iran

Reuters

Paper

Suspension of Nuclear Activities Is Not End of Diversion Risks

| July 14, 2013

A long-standing goal of diplomacy with Iran is persuading Iran to suspend its enrichment operations while it clarifies its past activities and while negotiations proceed on a more permanent resolution to the nuclear crisis. However, there is problem in using suspension of nuclear material production as a negotiating step: The technical details of suspension have never been clearly defined. The international community needs to be aware of the diversion risks during a suspension of enrichment activities and should mitigate these risks by including the necessary verification measures during negotiations and signing of any agreement on suspension.

Discussion Paper - Managing the Atom Project, Belfer Center

Antiproliferation: Tackling Proliferation by Engaging the Private Sector

| November 2012

Illicit trade from the international marketplace plays a direct role in sustaining the nuclear and missile programs of several countries, including Iran, in defiance of UN sanctions. This paper sets out what measures the private sector should take in order to manage the legal, financial and reputational risks associated with involvement in proliferation-related trade, and makes recommendations to national authorities for how for how to help the private sector identify and prevent potential proliferation.

Paper - American Academy of Arts & Sciences

Nuclear Collisions: Discord, Reform & the Nuclear Nonproliferation Regime

    Authors:
  • Wael Al-Assad
  • Jayantha Dhanapala
  • C. Raja Mohan
  • Ta Minh Tuan
| April 2012

Nearly all of the 190 signatories to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) agree that the forty-two-year-old treaty is fragile and in need of fundamental reform. But gaining consensus on how to fix the NPT will require reconciling the sharply differing views of nuclear weapon states and non-nuclear weapon states. Strengthening the international rules is increasingly important as dozens of countries, including some with unstable political environments, explore nuclear energy. The result is an ever-increasing distribution of this technology. In this paper, Steven E. Miller outlines the main points of contention within the NPT regime and identifies the issues that have made reform so difficult.

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

Ensuring Strategic Stability in the Past and Present: Theoretical and Applied Questions

    Author:
  • Andrei A. Kokoshin
| June 2011

In the Foreword to this paper by Andrei Kokoshin, Belfer Center Director Graham Allison writes: "The global nuclear order is reaching a tipping point. Several trends are advancing along crooked paths, each undermining this order. These trends include North Korea’s expanding nuclear weapons program, Iran’s continuing nuclear ambitions, Pakistan’s increasing instability, growing doubts about the sustainability of the nonproliferation regime in general, and terrorist groups’ enduring aspirations to acquire nuclear weapons. Andrei Kokoshin, deputy of the State Duma and former secretary of Russia’s Security Council, analyzes these challenges that threaten to cause the nuclear order to collapse in the following paper."

This Aug. 5, 2007 satellite image provided Oct. 25, 2007 by DigitalGlobe shows a suspected nuclear reactor site in Syria that Israel's Sep. 6, 2007, raid destroyed.

AP Photo

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

Targeting Nuclear Programs in War and Peace

| October 2009

When do states attack or consider attacking nuclear infrastructure in nonnuclear weapons states? Despite the importance of this question, relatively few scholarly articles have attempted to identify the factors that lead a state to attack another state's nuclear facilities. This paper conducts the first large-n analysis on when states use force as a way to control proliferation.

This paper challenges existing arguments that states are deterred from attacking nuclear programs by the prospect of a military retaliation from the proliferating state or concerns about international condemnation. Instead, it finds that states are more likely to attack nuclear programs when they believe that the proliferating state might use nuclear weapons or engage in other offensive behavior. States are willing to accept substantial costs in attacking if they believe that a particular country's acquisition of nuclear weapons poses a significant threat to their security.

Paper - Korea Economic Institute

Denuclearization of the DPRK—A Role for the United Nations?

| July 2008

"The denuclearization of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) continues to be a source of considerable international concern. Yet, no coherent international framework has emerged to deal with this challenge in parallel with the regional mechanism of the six-party talks. With the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference set for 2010, appropriately addressing the DPRK nuclear issue is being identified as essential to maintaining the strength of the NPT. Can the United Nations (UN) afford to take a back seat in attempts at resolution?This article examines the potential of, and prospects for, an active UN role in facilitating Pyongyang's denuclearization process. Anne Wu's paper examines the potential of, and prospects for, an active UN role in facilitating Pyongyang's denuclearization process."