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Matthew Bunn

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Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
One Brattle Square, Suite 470-475, Mailbox 131
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

 

2016

Flickr

January 7, 2016

"Nuclear nervousness"

News

By Matthew Bunn, Professor of Practice; Co-Principal Investigator, Project on Managing the Atom and Gary Samore, Executive Director for Research, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Two analysts from the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard Kennedy School, Matthew Bunn, co-principal investigator of the Project on Managing the Atom, and Gary Samore, the center’s executive director for research, spoke with the Harvard Gazette about North Korea’s nuclear program and what the latest test means for relations between the government of leader Kim Jong-un and other nations, and how the blast may affect global efforts to limit nuclear weapons.

 

 

January 2016

The Cost of Reprocessing in China

Report

By Matthew Bunn, Professor of Practice; Co-Principal Investigator, Project on Managing the Atom, Hui Zhang, Senior Research Associate, Project on Managing the Atom and Li Kang

Faced with the twin pressures of a still-quickly growing economy and unprecedented smog from coal-fired plants, China is racing to expand its fleet of nuclear power plants. As it does so, Beijing is considering making large capital investments in facilities to reprocess spent nuclear fuel and recycle the resulting plutonium in fast neutron reactors that breed more plutonium. This report outlines the enormous costs China would likely face if it decides to build large-scale plants for reprocessing plutonium from spent nuclear fuel and recycling the plutonium in fast neutron reactors.

 

2015

September 15, 2015

"Implementing the Iran Nuclear Deal: Balancing Confrontation and Cooperation"

Media Feature

By Martin B. Malin, Executive Director, Project on Managing the Atom, Matthew Bunn, Professor of Practice; Co-Principal Investigator, Project on Managing the Atom and William H. Tobey, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

The “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action”—the nuclear agreement between the P5+1 and Iran—will enter the implementation phase within months. US policy makers must now consider how best to strengthen the accord as implementation approaches, and in how best engage Iran as implementation proceeds. In this discussion, nonproliferation experts William H. Tobey and Matthew Bunn discuss how to strike an effective balance between cooperation and confrontation in dealing with Iran on the nuclear agreement and beyond. The discussion was moderated by Martin B. Malin and followed by Q&A with the audience.

 

 

September 2, 2015

"Looking Back and Looking Forward on the Iran Deal"

Op-Ed, The Hill

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

Intelligent men and women of good will are lining up on both sides of the fateful choice Congress faces in September: whether to approve or reject the nuclear deal with Iran. Part of what’s going on is an unfortunate mixing together of two quite different questions, one looking backward and one looking forward.  First, should the Obama administration and other major powers have gotten a better deal?  Second, given the deal the negotiators did produce, whatever its warts, is it better for U.S. and world security to accept it or reject it and try to force Iran to agree to a better one?

Read more ->

 

 

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."

 
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.