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Matthew Bunn

Mailing address

Littauer 339C
Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
79 John F. Kennedy Street, Mailbox 53
Cambridge, MA, 02138

Downloadable CV

Matthew Bunn

Professor of Practice; Co-Principal Investigator, Project on Managing the Atom

Member of the Board

Contact:
Telephone: (617) 495-9916
Fax: 617-495-8963
Email: matthew_bunn@harvard.edu

 

Experience

Matthew Bunn is a Professor of Practice at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. His research interests include nuclear theft and terrorism; nuclear proliferation and measures to control it; the future of nuclear energy and its fuel cycle; and policies to promote innovation in energy technologies.

Before joining the Kennedy School in January 1997, he served for three years as an adviser to the Office of Science and Technology Policy, where he played a major role in U.S. policies related to the control and disposition of weapons-usable nuclear materials in the United States and the former Soviet Union, and directed a secret study for President Clinton on security for nuclear materials in Russia. Previously, Bunn was at the National Academy of Sciences, where he directed the two-volume study Management and Disposition of Excess Weapons Plutonium. He is the winner of the American Physical Society's Joseph A. Burton Forum Award for "outstanding contributions in helping to formulate policies to decrease the risks of theft of nuclear weapons and nuclear materials," and the Federation of American Scientists' Hans Bethe Award for "science in service to a more secure world," and is an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is a member of the Boards of Directors of the Arms Control Association and the Partnership for Global Security.

Bunn is the author or co-author of more than 20 books and book-length technical reports (most recently including Transforming U.S. Energy Innovation), and over a hundred articles in publications ranging from Science and Nuclear Technology to Foreign Policy and The Washington Post. He appears regularly on television and radio.

Bunn holds a doctorate in technology, management, and policy from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is married to Jennifer Weeks; they have two daughters.

 

 

By Date

 

2015

August 7, 2015

"Making Life Harder for Iran's Bomb Advocates"

Op-Ed, The National Interest

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

"...[I]t's important to remember that the broad inspections called for by the International Atomic Energy Agency's Additional Protocol are permanent, not limited to ten to fifteen years. Iran's legal obligation not to build nuclear weapons is also permanent."

 

 

AP Images

July 16, 2015

"Matthew Bunn Analyzes the Iran Nuclear Deal"

Q&A

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

A historic deal aimed at limiting Iran’s nuclear production capability in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions has been reached in Vienna. The deal comes following almost two years of multi-lateral negotiations which intensified over the past several weeks. In this Q&A with Doug Gavel, Director of Media Relations for the Harvard Kennedy School, Matt Bunn was asked for his perspectives on the most significant elements of the deal, how this deal came together, and whether the deal goes far enough.

 

 

July, 2015

"Reducing the Risks of Nuclear Theft and Terrorism"

Book Chapter

By Matthew Bunn, Professor of Practice; Co-Principal Investigator, Project on Managing the Atom and Nickolas Roth, Research Associate, Project on Managing the Atom

This chapter assesses whether terrorists are actually seeking nuclear weapons; whether a terrorist organization could, if it had the needed nuclear materials, be capable of building a nuclear bomb; whether terrorist organizations could plausibly get the needed nuclear materials; and what the consequences of a terrorist nuclear attack might be. The chapter then describes the substantial progress made in reducing the risk of nuclear theft in recent years and the gaps that still remain. Finally, the chapter offers suggestions for strengthening nuclear security for the long haul.

 

 

May 20, 2015

"Don't Weaken Our Defenses Against Nuclear Smuggling"

Op-Ed, The Hill

By Matthew Bunn, Professor of Practice; Co-Principal Investigator, Project on Managing the Atom, William H. Tobey, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and Nickolas Roth, Research Associate, Project on Managing the Atom

William H. TobeyMatthew Bunn, and Nickolas Roth oppose proposed legislation that would prohibit funding for fixed radiation detectors to catch nuclear smugglers. They argue for a balanced program to defeat nuclear smuggling that includes strong security, effective law enforcement and intelligence work, and interdiction efforts and border controls backed by both fixed and mobile radiation detectors.

 

 

PhysicsToday

May 4, 2015

"Unmaking the Bomb: A Fissile Material Approach to Nuclear Disarmament and Nonproliferation (Book Review)"

Magazine or Newspaper Article, Physics Today

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

"Plutonium and highly enriched uranium (HEU) are the essential ingredients of nuclear weapons. They do not exist in appreciable quantities in nature and are quite difficult to produce. But with such materials in hand, most states—and potentially even some particularly sophisticated terrorist groups—would be able to make at least a crude nuclear explosive. Hence controlling those materials and the means to make them is a critical element of regulating the path to the bomb..."

 

 

April 5, 2015

"Blocking an Iranian Bomb"

Op-Ed, The National Interest

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

"...[B]y lifting sanctions, the deal would create a flow of very real benefits to Iran—including to some of the most powerful players in the Iranian regime—which they would not want to put at risk with clandestine bomb efforts....the deal would make clear that compromise with the West that really does contribute to Iran's economic development is possible, strengthening advocates of compromise in Tehran. Finally, the agreement's 10–25 year duration means that, if successful, an entire generation of Iranians will come of age in an era of reduced tension and confrontation with the West—creating new and powerful political constituencies against returning to confrontation on the nuclear issue."

 

 

April 2, 2015

"The Iranian Nuclear Deal: Benefits and Risks"

Presentation

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

On April 2, 2015, Matthew Bunn presented "The Iranian Nuclear Deal: Benefits and Risks" at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. This presentation assess the benefits and risks of the Iranian deal compared to plausible alternatives.

 

 

March 31, 2015

Secretary of Energy Advisory Board: Report of the Task Force on Nuclear Nonproliferation

Report

By Albert Carnesale, Member of the Board, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Matthew Bunn, Professor of Practice; Co-Principal Investigator, Project on Managing the Atom, John M. Deutch, International Council Member, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and Gary Samore, Executive Director for Research, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

The Secretary of Energy on December 20, 2013 established the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board (SEAB) Task Force on Nuclear Nonproliferation (TFNN) and charged it to “advise the DOE on future areas of emphasis for its nuclear nonproliferation activities by addressing the following questions:

1. What are the current and likely future challenges to nuclear nonproliferation?

2. What should DOE be doing to help the United States Government prepare to meet those challenges?

3. What are DOE’s current areas of emphasis in nuclear nonproliferation?

4. In what ways should DOE’s nuclear nonproliferation efforts be modified and/or expanded?

5. What obstacles stand in the way of making the recommended changes in DOE’s nuclear nonproliferation activities, and how might they be overcome?”

 

 

February 16, 2015

"The Iranian Nuclear Crisis: Next Steps"

Presentation

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

On February 16, 2015, Professor of Practice Matthew Bunn presented "The Iranian Nuclear Crisis: Next Steps" for the Harvard Project for Asian and International Relations.

 

 

January 30, 2015

"Mitigating Climate Change: How Much Can We Hope For From Nuclear Power?"

Presentation

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

On January 30, 2015, Matthew Bunn presented "Mitigating Climate Change: How Much Can We Hope For From Nuclear Power?" for the Harvard University Model United Nations. The full presentation is below.

 
Managing the Atom

The Project on Managing the Atom (MTA) conducts and disseminates policy-relevant research on nuclear weapons, nuclear energy, and nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament.

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 Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev.