Belfer Center Home > Experts > Eben Harrell

« Back to Eben Harrell

Eben Harrell

Eben Harrell

Associate, Project on Managing the Atom

Contact:
Email: eben_harrell@harvard.edu

 

 

By Topic

 

August 16, 2013

"Saving the World at Plutonium Mountain"

Op-Ed, Washington Post

By David E. Hoffman and Eben Harrell, Associate, Project on Managing the Atom

Last October, at the foot of a rocky hillside near here, at a spot known as Degelen Mountain, several dozen Kazakh, Russian and American nuclear scientists and engineers gathered for a ceremony. The modest ribbon-cutting marked the conclusion of one of the largest and most complex nuclear security operations since the Cold War — to secure plutonium (enough to build a dozen or more nuclear weapons) that Soviet authorities had buried at the testing site years before and forgotten, leaving it vulnerable to terrorists and rogue states. The effort spanned 17 years, cost $150 million and involved a complex mix of intelligence, science, engineering, politics and sleuthing. This op-ed is based on documents and interviews with Kazakh, Russian and U.S. participants, and reveals the scope of the operation for the first time.

 

 

U.S. Department of Energy

March 2012

Consolidation: Thwarting Nuclear Theft

Report

By Matthew Bunn, Professor of Practice; Co-Principal Investigator, Project on Managing the Atom and Eben Harrell, Associate, Project on Managing the Atom

A detailed assessment of the campaign to consolidate dangerous nuclear materials worldwide in fewer, more secure sites, with analysis of success stories, ongoing risks, near-term opportunities, and numerous recommendations for next steps.

 

 

August 15, 2011

Bury Our Nuclear Waste — Before It Buries Us

Op-Ed, TIME / time.com

By Eben Harrell, Associate, Project on Managing the Atom

Nuclear waste has long been seen mostly as an environmental issue — but it's a critical global security issue too. Plutonium has been created only twice on earth. After the Gabon mines reaction, the next significant batch of plutonium arrived 2 billion years later in U.S. labs; it destroyed Nagasaki. Let's bury our nuclear waste — and, if necessary, nuclear waste from other countries — before it has the chance to bury us.

 

August 16, 2013

"Saving the World at Plutonium Mountain"

Op-Ed, Washington Post

By David E. Hoffman and Eben Harrell, Associate, Project on Managing the Atom

Last October, at the foot of a rocky hillside near here, at a spot known as Degelen Mountain, several dozen Kazakh, Russian and American nuclear scientists and engineers gathered for a ceremony. The modest ribbon-cutting marked the conclusion of one of the largest and most complex nuclear security operations since the Cold War — to secure plutonium (enough to build a dozen or more nuclear weapons) that Soviet authorities had buried at the testing site years before and forgotten, leaving it vulnerable to terrorists and rogue states. The effort spanned 17 years, cost $150 million and involved a complex mix of intelligence, science, engineering, politics and sleuthing. This op-ed is based on documents and interviews with Kazakh, Russian and U.S. participants, and reveals the scope of the operation for the first time.

 

 

August 15, 2013

Plutonium Mountain: Inside the 17-Year Mission to Secure a Legacy of Soviet Nuclear Testing

Report

By Eben Harrell, Associate, Project on Managing the Atom and David E. Hoffman

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.

 

 

June 12, 2012

"Nuclear Security's Top Priority"

Op-Ed, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

By Eben Harrell, Associate, Project on Managing the Atom

In the past two decades, at least two terrorist groups have made serious attempts at obtaining nuclear weapons or the nuclear material needed to make them. They won't be the last. Foiling terrorists willing to inflict unlimited damage requires the international community to prioritize the nuclear stocks that pose the greatest risks and take immediate steps to eliminate or secure them.

 

 

March 30, 2012

A Blueprint for Preventing Nuclear Terrorism

Op-Ed, TIME / time.com

By Matthew Bunn, Professor of Practice; Co-Principal Investigator, Project on Managing the Atom and Eben Harrell, Associate, Project on Managing the Atom

The United States and Russia possess 95% of the world’s nuclear weapons and most of the world’s weapons-usable nuclear material, and so bear a special responsibility for preventing nuclear terrorism. Unfortunately, both countries missed an opportunity in Seoul – neither committed to major new steps to strengthen nuclear security at home beyond the steps they were already taking, nor did they announced any new joint initiatives. That must change.

 

 

March 29, 2012

Matthew Bunn Interview on Successes, Challenges of 2012 Nuclear Summit

Media Feature

By Matthew Bunn, Professor of Practice; Co-Principal Investigator, Project on Managing the Atom and Eben Harrell, Associate, Project on Managing the Atom

Following the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul, South Korea, Associate Professor Matthew Bunn answered questions from Research Associate Eben Harrell about the successes of the summit and the remaining challenges.

 

 

AP Photo/Jorge Saenz

March 2012

Progress on Securing Nuclear Weapons and Materials: The Four-Year Effort and Beyond

Report

By Matthew Bunn, Professor of Practice; Co-Principal Investigator, Project on Managing the Atom, Eben Harrell, Associate, Project on Managing the Atom and Martin B. Malin, Executive Director, Project on Managing the Atom

On the eve of the Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul, South Korea, a new study finds that an international initiative to secure all vulnerable nuclear stockpiles within four years has reduced the dangers they pose.

 

September 27, 2013

"The Plutonium Mountain Mission: Lessons"

Op-Ed, Power & Policy Blog

By Eben Harrell, Associate, Project on Managing the Atom

In Summer of 2013, The Project on Managing the Atom released “Plutonium Mountain: Inside the 17-Year Mission to Secure a Dangerous Legacy of Soviet Nuclear Testing.” In the report, Eben Harrell and David Hoffman tell how dedicated scientists and engineers in three countries overcame suspicions, secrecy, bureaucracy, and logistical obstacles to secure more than a dozen bombs worth of plutonium that had been left behind at the Semipalatinsk Test Site in Kazakhstan after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Although the outline of the Semipalatinsk operation had been made public before, the report filled in new details.

 

SUBSCRIBE

Receive email updates on the most pressing topics in science and int'l affairs.

Events Calendar

We host a busy schedule of events throughout the fall, winter and spring. Past guests include: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, former Vice President Al Gore, and former Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev.