Nuclear Issues

1452 Items

A missile is launched from a U.S. Navy submarine in the Atlantic Ocean in 1989 (Phil Sandlin/Associated Press).

Phil Sandlin/Associated Press

News - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Say WHAT? — A Case of Low-Yield Nuclear Thinking

    Author:
  • Thomas Gaulkin
| Feb. 14, 2019

Can a small nuclear weapon really make the world safer? In this installment of “Say WHAT?”—the Bulletin video series that casts a clear eye on fuzzy policy—we ask nuclear weapons expert Sébastien Philippe what he thinks about the latest nuclear craze.

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.

A U.S. Trident II missile launches (Wikimedia Commons).

Wikimedia Commons

Analysis & Opinions - War on the Rocks

Can This New Approach to Nuclear Disarmament Work?

| Jan. 23, 2019

An estimated 14,485 nuclear weapons exist on earth today — most are far more powerful than those that twisted railway ties, leveled buildings, and crushed, poisoned, and burned human beings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The majority of these weapons belong to the United States and Russia. For some in the U.S. government, including Chris Ford, assistant secretary at the State Department’s Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, this number represents significant disarmament progress since Cold War highs of over 70,000 nuclear weapons. They argue the current security environment means that further reductions are not possible at this time. In contrast, for many disarmament advocates and officials from non-nuclear weapons states, this number is still far too high. They are now clamoring to ban all nuclear weapons. Because of this divide, according to Ford, we currently face a “disarmament crisis.”

Two U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancers assigned to the 9th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, deployed from Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, fly with a Koku Jieitai (Japan Air Self-Defense Force) F-2 fighter jet over the East China Sea, July 7.

USAF / Japan Air Self-Defense Force

Magazine Article - Arms Control Today

A Grim Vision of Nuclear War

| December 2018

Framed as a future U.S. governmental attempt to understand and summarize the devastation wrought in a calamitous resumption of the Korean War, Lewis populates the novel with today’s political leaders in an environment shaped by recent events. In this review, Andrew Facini writes thatThe 2020 Commission Report is a realistic and compelling drama written to bring this grim subject back into the popular conversation.

The K-pop group BTS receiving an award in Seoul in January 2017 (AJEONG_JM, Wikimedia/Creative Commons).

AJEONG_JM, Wikimedia/Creative Commons

Analysis & Opinions - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

BTS, the "Atomic Bomb Shirt," and South Korean Attitudes Toward Nuclear Weapons

| Nov. 19, 2018

Over the past few weeks, BTS members have found themselves entangled in a bizarre scandal over an “atomic bomb shirt” that led to the cancellation of their appearance on a popular TV Asahi music show in Japan, which has been the main foreign source of revenues for K-pop groups since the 1990s. The 23-year-old singer, Jimin, was caught on the street wearing a white t-shirt bearing the slogan “Patriotism Our History Liberation Korea” repeated in numerous lines and overlapped by a black-and-white picture of the mushroom cloud from the atomic bomb that the United States detonated over Nagasaki, Japan on August 9, 1945.

The atomic cloud over Hiroshima, taken from the Enola Gay on August 6, 1945 (U.S. government/Wikimedia).

U.S. government/Wikimedia

Journal Article - The Journal of Strategic Studies

How Durable is the Nuclear Weapons Taboo?

| Nov. 09, 2018

The nuclear weapons taboo is considered one of the strongest norms in international politics. A prohibition against using nuclear weapons has seemingly shaped state behavior for nearly seven decades and, according to some observers, made nuclear use ‘unthinkable’ today or in the future. Although scholars have shown that nuclear aversion has affected decision-making behavior, important questions about the nuclear taboo remain unanswered. This article seeks to answer a basic question: How durable is the taboo? We develop different predictions about norm durability depending on whether the taboo is based primarily on moral logic or strategic logic. We use the comparable case of the norm against strategic bombing in the 20th century to evaluate these hypotheses. The logic and evidence presented in this paper suggest that the norm of nuclear non-use is much more fragile than most analysts understand.

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

Dean Calma/IAEA via Flickr

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.

Image of China’s People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force drill with a ballistic missile launcher

(China Military / 81.cn)

Policy Brief - Quarterly Journal: International Security

Inadvertent Escalation and the Entanglement of Nuclear Command-and-Control Capabilities

    Author:
  • James Acton
| Oct. 29, 2018

The risks of nuclear escalation between the U.S. and China or Russia are greater than ever given the possibility of misinterpreted cyber espionage and military strikes against early warning systems. What can be done to reduce this risk?