Reports & Papers

100 Items

The nuclear archive warehouse outside Tehran (Satellite image via Google).

Satellite image via Google

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

The Iran Nuclear Archive: Impressions and Implications

In mid-January, a team of scholars from the Belfer Center’s Intelligence and Managing the Atom Projects traveled to Tel Aviv, Israel to examine samples of, and receive briefings on, an archive of documents related to Iran’s nuclear weapons program. The large cache includes some 55,000 pages of documents and a further 55,000 files on CDs that included photos and videos. A clandestine Israeli intelligence operation spirited the materials out of Iran in early 2018.

The documents that the Belfer group were shown confirm that senior Iranian officials had decided in the late 1990s to actually manufacture nuclear weapons and carry out an underground nuclear test; that Iran’s program to do so made more technical progress than had previously been understood; and that Iran had help from quite a number of foreign scientists, and access to several foreign nuclear weapon designs. The archive also leaves open a wide range of questions, including what plan, if any, Iran has had with respect to nuclear weapons in the nearly 16 years since Iran’s government ordered a halt to most of the program in late 2003. 

This brief report summarizes the group’s conclusions about what the archive reveals about Iran’s program and questions that remain open.

Russia's Energy Foray into Asia: Implications for U.S. Interests

kees torn/Flickr

Paper - National Bureau of Asian Research

Russia's Energy Foray into Asia: Implications for U.S. Interests

This essay examines Russia’s growing role in Asia’s energy markets, assesses the implications for the U.S., and examines the claim that closer Sino-Russian energy ties are adding new incentives for a broader strategic alignment.

A satellite view of the Gansu Dunhuang Solar Park, a photovoltaic power station under construction in Gansu Provence, as seen on June 9, 2018.

DigitalGlobe, CNES/Airbus, Google Earth, used with permission

Report - Environment and Natural Resources Program, Belfer Center

Harvard-Tsinghua Workshop on Low-Carbon Development and Public Policy

| September 2018

The Belfer Center’s Environment and Natural Resources Program and the Center for Science, Technology, and Education Policy at Tsinghua University held the fifth annual Tsinghua-Harvard Workshop on Low-Carbon Development and Public Policy. This event brought together leading experts on climate and energy from academic, business, and government communities in both the United States and China. This year’s workshop focused on electricity systems and renewable energy penetration.

Report: More Climate Change Recognition, Action Among Major Investors

Free-Photos/Pixabay

Report - Axios

More Climate Change Recognition, Action Among Major Investors

| May 10, 2018

Since the Paris Agreement's adoption in 2015, a majority of the world's largest investors have begun to take action on climate change. According to a new report, the 2016–2017 year showed an average improvement in decarbonization within all major investor categories except pension funds.

Report

Foundations of Decarbonization in China: A Post-2030 Perspective

| July 2017

The Harvard-Tsinghua Workshop on Low-Carbon Development and Public Policy is the fourth annual joint workshop between the Harvard Kennedy School’s Environment and Natural Resources Program and the Center for Science, Technology, and Education Policy at Tsinghua University. The workshop convened leading experts on climate and energy from the United States and China at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China, on June 1-2, 2017.

The workshop was divided into five sessions. The first two sessions focused on the scope of the climate problem and the options for addressing it. The following three sessions explored specific options: renewable energy, nuclear power, and air pollution regulation.

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.

Iran Talks

Iran Talks

Report - Institute for Science and International Security

Is Iran Mass Producing Advanced Gas Centrifuge Components?

| May 30, 2017

The head of Iran’s nuclear program says Iran has the capability to initiate mass production of advanced centrifuges on short notice. The mass production of these centrifuges (or their components) would greatly expand Iran’s ability to sneak-out or breakout to nuclear weapons capability or surge the size of its centrifuge program if the deal fails or after key nuclear limitations end. If Salehi’s statement is true, Iran could have already stockpiled many advanced centrifuge components, associated raw materials, and the equipment necessary to operate a large number of advanced centrifuges. The United States and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) need to determine the status of Iran’s centrifuge manufacturing capabilities, including the number of key centrifuge parts Iran has made and the amount of centrifuge equipment it has procured. They need to ensure that Iran’s centrifuge manufacturing is consistent with the intent of the nuclear deal as well as the deal’s specific limitations on advanced centrifuges. Moreover, the Iranian statement illuminates significant weaknesses in the Iran deal that need to be fixed.

Paper - Managing the Atom Project, Belfer Center

Iran and a New International Framework for Nuclear Energy

| November 2016

As early as the end of the Second World War it was recognized that nuclear fuel cycle technologies developed for military purposes—specifically, uranium enrichment and reprocessing—had major potential for peaceful applications but remained inherently dual-purpose, and if not controlled appropriately, could be diverted to military use. The very first issue considered by the newly founded United Nations was “the problems raised by the discovery of atomic energy.”

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

American Nuclear Diplomacy

| August 4, 2016

In this report, American Nuclear Diplomacy: Forging a New Consensus to Fight Climate Change and Weapons Proliferation, Former Deputy Secretary of Energy and Belfer Center Senior Fellow Daniel Poneman writes that we face two existential threats: nuclear annihilation and catastrophic climate change. Each, he says, stems from human origins. Both must be fought aggressively.

"Multiple studies confirm the grim truth that, even if all nations fulfill their Paris Climate Agreement emissions pledges, the world will still far overshoot the 2°C warming limit scientists say we must not exceed to prevent devastating climate impacts. Carbon-free nuclear energy can help close the gap. But can we expand its environmental benefits without increasing the risks of nuclear terror?"

Poneman outlines a diplomatic strategy and tough-minded, bipartisan policies to get us there.

Report

Tipping the Balance?

| December 2015

Standing before the United States Congress early in March 2015, in the face of a looming deadline in the Iran and P5+1 talks over the Iranian nuclear program, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu portrayed the negotiations in stark terms. Drawing a direct parallel between biblical plots to persecute Jews in pre-Islamic Persia and modern Iran’s nuclear program, Netanyahu framed Iran as nothing less than an existential threat to Israel. Anything short of a practical dismantling of Iranian nuclear infrastructure would be unacceptable. Largely perceived as an attempt to undermine President Barack Obama’s efforts to reach a negotiated settlement with Iran, Netanyahu’s actions thus proved quite contentious inside the United States.