Nuclear Issues

705 Items

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Discussion Paper - Nuclear Threat Initiative

The IAEA's Role in Nuclear Security Since 2016

| February 2019

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the key multilateral global nuclear governance body, describes itself as the “global platform” for nuclear security efforts, with a “central role” in facilitating international cooperation in the field. Long concerned with the physical protection of nuclear materials and facilities, the Agency began to ramp up its involvement in the broader issue of nuclear security after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The series of Nuclear Security Summits, which ran from 2010 to 2016, drew high-level political attention to the threat of nuclear terrorism for the first time and boosted support for the IAEA’s nuclear security mission. The final summit, held in Washington, DC, in March 2016, lauded the Agency as “crucial for the continuing delivery of outcomes and actions from the nuclear security summits.” Participating governments agreed to a seven-page “Action Plan in Support of the International Atomic Energy Agency.” Three years after the final summit seems an opportune time to assess how the Agency’s nuclear security work has fared since then. Given the complexity of the Agency’s nuclear security activities, this paper cannot provide a comprehensive assessment, but will highlight the most important nuclear security activities and the constraints and challenges the IAEA faces in fulfilling its nuclear security role.

FBI agents leave a raid in Trenton, N.J. on July 19, 2012

Julio Cortez/AP

Discussion Paper - Managing the Atom Project, Belfer Center

The Long Arm

| February 2019

The networks of middlemen and intermediaries involved in the illicit procurement of weapons of mass destruction (WMD)-related goods and technologies often operate outside of the United States, which presents several legal and political challenges regarding U.S. trade control enforcement activities. This report considers the extraterritorial efforts of U.S. law enforcement in counterproliferation-related activities and their implications. In other words, how does the United States contend with violations of its weapons of mass destruction (WMD)-related trade controls in overseas jurisdictions, and what are the implications for broader U.S. and international nonproliferation efforts, as well as wider international security and economic concerns? 

The diplomatic back-and-forth between U.S. President Donald Trump (left) and North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Un (right) has continued for the better part of the last two years.

Evan Vucci (AP)

Analysis & Opinions - The Washington Post

Trump's Summit With Kim Jong-Un Is Partly Hot Air. It Could Also Make the World Safer.

| Feb. 12, 2019

Don't underestimate the power of the thought that counts, David Ignatius cautions. Although Americans may have many good reasons to doubt the prospects for the outcome of the second Trump-Kim summit, they shouldn't forget that diplomatic solutions often start small.

Sensors and fencing at Japan's Integrated Support Center for Nuclear Nonproliferation and Nuclear Security (Dean Calma/IAEA).

Dean Calma/IAEA

Analysis & Opinions - The Hill

Presidential Candidates Need a Plan for Reducing Nuclear Terrorism Risks

| Jan. 29, 2019

As presidential candidates hit the campaign trail this year, voters should ask them: “What’s your plan for keeping nuclear weapons and the materials to make them out of terrorist hands?” Every candidate who is serious about national security should have an answer to that question; every president for more than two decades, including Donald Trump, has described nuclear terrorism as one of the gravest dangers the United States faces. There should be no disagreement between Republicans and Democrats — or between the United States and other countries — when it comes to measures to prevent terrorists from ever getting and using a nuclear bomb or sabotaging a major nuclear facility.

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).

REUTERS/David W Cerny

News

Project on Managing the Atom Releases New Report, "Revitalizing Nuclear Security in an Era of Uncertainty"

| Jan. 29, 2019

In their new report, “Revitalizing Nuclear Security in an Era of Uncertainty,” Matthew Bunn, Nickolas Roth, and William Tobey document the global community’s continuing steps to improve security for weapons-usable nuclear material in five areas that are key to nuclear security: broad protection against the full range of realistic threats; comprehensive programs to protect against insider threats; strong security cultures within nuclear organizations; realistic assessment and testing of security systems; and consolidation of weapons-usable nuclear materials. 

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.

Ambassador Nicholas Burns discusses US President Trump's Foreign Policy

WGBH

Analysis & Opinions - WGBH

Former Ambassador Nicholas Burns Discusses Trump’s Foreign Policy

| Nov. 15, 2018

It's been six months since President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said they came to an agreement on denuclearization, but new satellite images published this week by an independent Washington think tank showed at least 13 previously undeclared missile operating bases in North Korea.

Satellite Imagery facilities at the IAEA Department of Safeguards, March 2015.

Dean Calma/IAEA via Flickr

Discussion Paper - Managing the Atom Project, Belfer Center

Future Directions in IAEA Safeguards

| November 2018

The IAEA safeguards system faces serious challenges, writes John Carlson in a new Managing the Atom Discussion Paper. The IAEA must not only contend with increasing tensions among the major powers and the growing salience of nuclear weapons, it must also confront a series of specific safeguards controversies.

A man holds a sign that reads "Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty"prior to a press conference during the Helsinki Summit with Trump and Putin.

(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Analysis & Opinions - The Hill

A Better Way to Confront Russia's Nuclear Menace

| Oct. 28, 2018

Ongoing Russian violations of the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty need to be effectively addressed because they defy a longstanding bilateral agreement and directly threaten our NATO allies. However, the Trump administration’s move to pull out of the treaty is misguided; instead, we should launch a major initiative to strengthen strategic stability between the United States and Russia, writes Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall.