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Matthew Bunn

Mailing address

Belfer 325
Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
79 John F. Kennedy Street, Mailbox 54
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 Department of Energy's Nuclear Energy Advisory Committee and a consultant to Pacific Northwest and Oak Ridge National Laboratories. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Arms Control Association.

Bunn is the author or co-author of more than twenty 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

Siegfried Hecker

November 2016

"Doomed to Cooperate: How American And Russian Scientists Joined Forces To Avert Some Of The Greatest Post–Cold War Nuclear Dangers"

Magazine or Newspaper Article, Physics Today

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

The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 created unprecedented dangers. The crumbling empire had thousands of nuclear weapons, enough material to make tens of thousands more, and tens of thousands of experts with sensitive nuclear expertise. To overstate only slightly, Doomed to Cooperate: How American and Russian Scientists Joined Forces to Avert Some of the Greatest Post–Cold War Nuclear Dangers is a true story of scientists and engineers successfully working together to save the world.

 

 

Creative Commons

November 7, 2016

"A Peril and a Promise: Nuclear Challenges Facing the Next U.S. President"

Presentation

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

On November 7, 2016, Professor of Practice Matthew Bunn presented "A Peril and a Promise: Nuclear Challenges Facing the Next U.S. President" for the Winter Meeting of the American Nuclear Society.

 

 

U.S. Army

October 29, 2016

"A Family Tradition: Working To Keep The World Safe From Nuclear Disaster"

Media Feature

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

No matter how much the world has changed since the Cold War, as other threats like terrorism and global warming have come to dominate our fears, nuclear dangers are still with us. But every day, there are ordinary people collaborating in extraordinary ways to keep the rest of us safe from them. For some, it's a family tradition.

 

 

Vlad Podvorny

July 18, 2016

"Cancel the Plutonium Fuel Factory"

Op-Ed, The Hill

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

Twenty years ago, in the Clinton Administration, both of us helped launch a program to build a factory to turn the excess plutonium from dismantled nuclear weapons into fuel for nuclear reactors.  At that time, the full life-cycle cost estimate to make this plutonium-uranium mixed oxide (MOX) fuel was expected to be less than $2 billion dollars.  Now, however, with official cost estimates ballooning to over $30 billion, it is clear that the project has become too expensive.  It is time to stop throwing good money after bad and pursue cheaper alternatives that will serve our national security better.

 

 

(AP Photo)

Summer 2016

"Wins and Losses at the Final Summit"

Newsletter Article, Belfer Center Newsletter

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

The fourth and final nuclear security summit saw some serious progress, but also some missed opportunities. Matthew Bunn looks at significant wins and some losses at the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit.

 

 

March 31, 2016

"Will the Nuclear Security Summit Help Stop Terrorists from Getting the Bomb?"

Op-Ed, The National Interest

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, Martin B. Malin, Executive Director, Project on Managing the Atom and Nickolas Roth, Research Associate, Project on Managing the Atom

"Today and tomorrow, world leaders will gather for what will likely be the final international summit on security for nuclear weapons and the materials needed to make them—a key tool for preventing nuclear terrorism. The last time this group met, at the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit in the Hague, they declared that preventing terrorists from acquiring nuclear weapons or weapons-usable materials remained “one of the most important challenges in the years to come.” Yet, since then, nuclear security has improved only marginally, while the capabilities of some terrorist groups, particularly the Islamic State, have grown dramatically, suggesting that in the net, the risk of nuclear terrorism may be higher than it was two years ago..."

 

 

March 29, 2016

"Belgium Highlights the Nuclear Terrorism Threat and Security Measures to Stop it"

Op-Ed, The Huffington Post

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

"As world leaders gather for the fourth nuclear security summit this week, in the aftermath of the horrifying terrorist attacks in Brussels, it seems likely that Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel will have more to say than anyone else — both about real nuclear terrorist dangers and about real steps taken to improve nuclear security...."

 

 

March 27, 2016

"Nuclear security: Continuous improvement or dangerous decline?"

Op-Ed, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

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

"World leaders face a stark choice at the final Nuclear Security Summit later this week: Will they commit to efforts that continue to improve security for nuclear weapons, fissile materials, and nuclear facilities, or will the 2016 summit be seen in retrospect as the point at which attention drifted elsewhere, and nuclear security stalled and began to decline? The answer will shape the chances that terrorist groups, including the Islamic State, could get their hands on the materials they need to build a crude nuclear bomb...."

 

 

March 21, 2016

Preventing Nuclear Terrorism: Continuous Improvement or Dangerous Decline?

Report

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, Martin B. Malin, Executive Director, Project on Managing the Atom and Nickolas Roth, Research Associate, Project on Managing the Atom

In this new report, Preventing Nuclear Terrorism: Continuous Improvement or Dangerous Decline?, Matthew Bunn, Martin Malin, Nickolas Roth, and William Tobey provide a global reality check on nuclear security. They note that effective and sustainable nuclear security capable of addressing plausible threats is the single most effective chokepoint preventing terrorists from acquiring a nuclear weapon.

 

 

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.

 
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.