Asia & the Pacific

10 Items

Blog Post - Nuclear Security Matters

Eliminating Potential Bomb Material from Japan’s Fast Critical Assembly

| Mar. 24, 2014

Today, the United States and Japan announced that Japan would eliminate all the plutonium and highly-enriched uranium at its Fast Critical Assembly (FCA) at Tokai-mura.  This is a tremendous step forward for nuclear security; for terrorists, this would be some of the best material that exists in any non-nuclear-weapon state.  The material includes 331 kilograms of plutonium, most of it weapons-grade, and 214.5 kilograms of weapons-grade HEU.  (The FCA also includes over a ton of material just at the 20 percent U-235 mark that defines HEU.)   The weapons-grade HEU is enough for four simple terrorist “gun-type” bombs or a larger number of trickier-to-build implosion bombs.  The plutonium amounts to more than 40 bombs worth of material.

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.

Journal Article - Science & Global Security

Securing China’s Weapon-Usable Nuclear Materials

| Feb 18, 2014

This article describes the status of China’s military and civilian nuclear programs, fissile material production and associated nuclear facilities, and the Chinese nuclear experts and officials’ perspectives on the nuclear terrorism threat. It gives details of China’s nuclear security practices, attitudes, and regulations, as well as identifying areas of concern. The article recommends ways to strengthen China’s nuclear material protection, control, and accounting systems and suggests opportunities for increased international cooperation.

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.

Book - Managing the Atom Project, Belfer Center and Nuclear Threat Initiative

Securing the Bomb 2010

| April 2010

Associate Professor of Public Policy and Project on Managing the Atom Co-Principal Investigator Matthew Bunn provides a comprehensive assessment of global efforts to secure and consolidate nuclear stockpiles, and a detailed action plan for securing all nuclear materials in four years.  Securing the Bomb 2010 was commissioned by the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI). The full report, with additional information on the threat of nuclear terrorism, is available for download on the NTI website.

Tariq ur Rehman at Islamabad airport, June 11, 2009. One of the Pakistani students rounded up by British authorities on allegations of terrorism that were later dropped described his detention as "mental torture" upon returning to his native country.

AP Photo

Analysis & Opinions - politics.co.uk

Foreign Students are an Opportunity, Not a Threat

| June 18, 2009

"...[W]e should resist the temptation to react to the fear of terrorism by turning inwards, reducing ties to foreign countries, and denying more students entry. Reducing the number of foreign student Visas would be counterproductive. The US tried it after September 11th, but has now reversed its approach, realising the harm it is doing. To do the same would be to be cowed into becoming a more closed society. We must remain open, outward-looking and vibrant. It is precisely many of these foreign students who will help their countries to reduce terrorism over the long run."

Analysis & Opinions - Daily Yomiuri

Net Access for African Universities Would Boost Continent

| May 29, 2008

"African universities could be the continent's gateways into the global knowledge economy for local diffusion of new technologies. But this potential remains unrealized because universities and research institutes in Africa remain digitally isolated from the rest of the world. This is partly because of government neglect and lack of strategic policies on Internet access....Providing low-cost, high-speed Internet access to African universities will help Africa build the capacity it needs to solve its own problems. It is one of the most strategic investments that the G-8 countries can make in Africa in the coming few years."

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Analysis & Opinions - Business Daily

Innovative Approaches Key to Financing Higher Technical Education

| Apr. 27, 2007

"There are other long-term measures to support technical higher education, which include providing tax incentives to private individuals and firms that create and run technical institutes on the basis of agreed government policy.

Governments too need to formulate policies that allow experienced government, industry and civil society staff and other professionals to serve as faculty and instructors in these institutions. This can be implemented as part of a national service system or as an effort to expose students to practitioners."