Reports & Papers

94 Items

Tomas Roggero via Flickr

Tomas Roggero via Flickr

Report Chapter - Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom

China's Nuclear Force Modernization

| January 2022

Under the guidance of its self-defence nuclear strategy, China will continue to modernise its nuclear force in order to maintain a reliable second-strike retaliatory capability. China’s nuclear weapon modernisation has been responsive to the advances of military capabilities of other countries, particularly the US. As Hu Side emphasised, “The sole purpose for China to maintain a limited nuclear counterattack force is to deter a potential nuclear strike. However, the development of US missile defense and the long-rang strike capability with high accuracy to target mobile missiles is in practice to decrease the effectiveness of Chinese nuclear deterrence. Thus, it surely leads to Chinese attention."

YJ-18 missiles on display (Salah Rashad Zaqzoq/Wikimedia Commons).

Salah Rashad Zaqzoq/Wikimedia Commons

Report Chapter - International Network of Engineers and Scientists for Global Responsibility

China's Nuclear Weapons Strategy and Modernization Program

| Fall 2021

Recently published documents, news reports, and other sources of open source information indicate that China is accelerating its current nuclear force modernization programme. It is clear that it is driven largely in response to the growing United States (U.S.) missile defense program, which China perceives as a threat to its minimum credible deterrence. While China is not altering its nuclear doctrine, it believes that it needs to enhance the reliability, survivability, and effectiveness of its retaliatory capability in response to a first-strike. In addition to expanding the size of its nuclear arsenal, it is enhancing its delivery capabilities, for example, by increasing the number of ICBMs and making them more sophisticated. It is building more Multiple Independently Targetable Reentry Vehicle (MIRV) warheads as well as a new class of ballistic missile submarines. China’s ongoing nuclear modernization aims to increase the survivability, reliability, safety, and penetration capability of its small nuclear arsenal and thereby assures a limited, reliable, and effective counterattack capability that will deter a nuclear first-strike. China’s nuclear modernization program will likely continue to be guided by its nuclear policy, which is characterized by a no-first-use pledge and a commitment to “minimum nuclear deterrence.” Finally, while China supports the total elimination of nuclear weapons, it does not believe it is in China’s interest to participate in discussions about nuclear disarmament until the U.S. and Russia reduce their arsenals to one thousand each, or lower.

A missile on display during a military parade in Moscow's Red Square in 2016.

Wikimedia Commons

Report Chapter - American Academy of Arts & Sciences

The Rise and Decline of Global Nuclear Order?

| April 2021

The first half century of the nuclear age witnessed the gradual construction of a global nuclear order designed to mitigate nuclear dangers, inhibit arms racing, and prevent the spread of nuclear weapons to additional states. Spurred by the experiences, the dangers, the crises, the near misses, and the frightening risks on display in the early years of the Cold War, sustained efforts were made, in McGeorge Bundy’s vivid phrase, “to cap the volcano.” The time had arrived, Bundy wrote in 1969, for the two great nuclear superpowers “to limit their extravagant contest in strategic weapons,” a contest that had “led the two greatest powers of our generation into an arms race totally unprecedented in size and danger.” In the subsequent twenty-five years after Bundy’s appeal, an increasingly elaborate and institutionalized arms control process produced, with many ups and downs, a detailed web of constraints on the nuclear behavior of the superpowers. The articulated goal was to stabilize the superpower nuclear balance by reinforcing mutual deterrence. The vast nuclear arsenals of the superpowers, however, were not the only source of nuclear danger. In a world in which the number of states armed with nuclear weapons was slowly growing and many additional states had interest in acquiring such weapons or the technology to produce them, there was reason, as Albert Wohlstetter warned in 1961, to be “concerned with the enormous instabilities and dangers of a world with many nuclear powers.” Such a world—“life in a nuclear armed crowd”—Wohlstetter wrote in a later famous study, was widely believed to be “vastly more dangerous than today’s world.” The desire to prevent this unattractive world led to the negotiation of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), which entered into force in 1970, and to the subsequent development of an associated regime intended to create legal and technical barriers to the spread of nuclear weapons. Thus, in reaction to the major perceived dangers of the nuclear age, there emerged what Lawrence Freedman calls the “twin pillars” of the global nuclear order: mutual stability in the major nuclear rivalry and nonproliferation to inhibit or prevent the spread of nuclear weapons to additional states.

Paper - Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy

Stabilizing Sino-Indian Security Relations: Managing the Strategic Rivalry After Doklam

| June 21, 2018

The paper provides a detailed analysis of the contemporary Sino-Indian conventional ground and nuclear force balances and carefully reconstructs how mutual developments in these areas are perceived by both New Delhi and Beijing.

Report - International Panel on Fissile Materials

China’s Fissile Material Production and Stockpile

| January 2018

China began producing highly enriched uranium (HEU) and plutonium for nuclear weapons in the 1960s and is believed to have halted production the 1980s. Despite the passage of thirty years there has been no official policy declaration in this regard. This report uses newly available public information from Chinese sources to provide an improved reconstruction of the history of China’s production of HEU and plutonium for nuclear weapons. This allows improved estimates of the amount of HEU and plutonium China has produced and of its current stockpiles.

Los Alamos National Laboratory, National Security Science, July 2015

Los Alamos National Laboratory

Discussion Paper - Managing the Atom Project, Belfer Center

When Did (and Didn’t) States Proliferate?

| June 2017

In this Project on Managing the Atom Discussion Paper, Philipp C. Bleek chronicles nuclear weapons proliferation choices throughout the nuclear age. Since the late 1930s and early 1940s, some thirty-one countries are known to have at least explored the possibility of establishing a nuclear weapons program. Seventeen of those countries launched weapons programs, and ten acquired deliverable nuclear weapons.

When It Is Unfamiliar To Me: Local Acceptance Of Planned Nuclear Power Plants In China In The Post-Fukushima Era


Paper - Energy Policy

When It Is Unfamiliar To Me: Local Acceptance Of Planned Nuclear Power Plants In China In The Post-Fukushima Era

| October 2016

Many contributions have been made in the studies of the factors that influence public acceptance of nuclear power. However, previous studies seldom focused on nuclear power plants in the planning stage. Actually public perception is usually more sensitive at the preliminary planning stage of a nuclear power station. Mainly utilizing questionnaire survey and focus group methods, we have identified the factors that are correlated with local acceptance of planned nuclear power plants in China.

A fuel fabrication facility at the Yongbyon Nuclear Center in North Korea, February 2008.


Report - Institute for Science and International Security

Correlating the Operation of the Coal Plant to Reprocessing Activities at Yongbyon

| April 15, 2016

As of April 2016, there are growing indications that North Korea has separated, is separating, or will soon be separating plutonium from irradiated fuel at the Radiochemical Laboratory, a process commonly referred to as reprocessing. An analysis of recent satellite imagery obtained shows several activities, which could be correlated to the preparation or actual reprocessing activities underway.