Reports & Papers

13 Items

A member of the Czech Army takes part in an anti-terrorism drill at the Temelin nuclear power plant near the town of Tyn nad Vltavou, Czech Republic, April 11, 2017.

REUTERS/David W. Cerny

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

Revitalizing Nuclear Security in an Era of Uncertainty

| January 2019

Nuclear security around the world has improved dramatically over the last three decades—which demonstrates that with focused leadership, major progress is possible. But important weaknesses remain, and the evolution of the threat remains unpredictable. The danger that terrorists could get and use a nuclear bomb, or sabotage a major nuclear facility, or spread dangerous radioactive material in a “dirty bomb,” remains too high. The United States and countries around the world need to join together and provide the leadership and resources needed to put global nuclear security on a sustained path of continuous improvement, in the never-ending search for excellence in performance.

Pakistan’s Tactical Nuclear Weapons and Their Impact on Stability

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Paper - Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Pakistan’s Tactical Nuclear Weapons and Their Impact on Stability

| June 30, 2016

The flight-testing of the 60-kilometer (or 37-mile) Hatf-IX, or Nasr, ballistic missile in April 2011 has renewed controversy and debate about strategic stability and nuclear weapons in South Asia. Official statements issued by Pakistan’s Inter Services Public Relations Directorate (ISPR) claim that the Nasr was developed “to add deterrence value to Pakistan’s Strategic Weapons Development programme at shorter ranges.” The Nasr could carry “nuclear warheads of appropriate yield with high accuracy,” and had shoot-and-scoot attributes—essentially a “quick response system” that addressed “the need to deter evolving threats.”

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.

Paper - American Academy of Arts & Sciences

A Worst Practices Guide to Insider Threats: Lessons from Past Mistakes

| April 2014

Insider threats are perhaps the most serious challenges that nuclear security systems face. Insiders perpetrate a large fraction of thefts from heavily guarded non-nuclear facilities as well, yet organizations often find it difficult to understand and protect against insider threats. Why is this the case? Part of the answer is that there are deep organizational and cognitive biases that lead managers to downplay the threats insiders pose to their nuclear facilities and operations. But another part of the answer is that those managing nuclear security often have limited information about incidents that have happened in other countries or in other industries, and the lessons that might be learned from them.

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.

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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.

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."

Paper

Beyond Optimism and Pessimism: The Differential Effects of Nuclear Proliferation

| November 2009

Matthew Kroenig examines the effect of the spread of nuclear weapons on international politics in a Managing the Atom Working Paper.  He observes that the spread of nuclear weapons threatens some states more than others, and proposes a theory of nuclear proliferation that examines the differential effects of proliferation.  He argues that the threat nuclear proliferation poses to a particular state depends on that state’s ability to project military power.  The spread of nuclear weapons is worse for states that have the ability to project conventional military power over a potential nuclear weapon state because nuclear proliferation constrains their conventional military freedom of action.