April 15, 2016
As India’s civilian nuclear energy program expands with the assistance of international nuclear suppliers, it creates new potential pathways to the acquisition of fissile material that could be diverted for military purposes. A key question is whether and how India’s civilian and military nuclear facilities are separated. In this discussion paper from the Belfer Center’s Project on Managing the Atom, Kalman A. Robertson and John Carlson argue that India has not established a complete and verifiable separation of its civilian and military nuclear programs. The authors recommend steps for India to take under its safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency to provide assurances to all states that components of its civilian program are not contributing to the growth of its nuclear arsenal. These steps include renouncing options that would facilitate the use of safeguarded items to produce unsafeguarded nuclear material, and placing the proliferation-sensitive components of its nuclear power industry under continuous safeguards.
May 12, 2016
Op-Ed, Nuclear Security Matters
By Martin B. Malin, Executive Director, Project on Managing the Atom
"My colleague Matthew Bunn has argued that nuclear security provides a foundation for all three pillars of the NPT. I agree with him. An act of nuclear terrorism would likely put an end to the growth and spread of nuclear energy. Nonproliferation cannot be achieved as long as stocks of highly enriched uranium or plutonium remain vulnerable to theft. And states will not give up the arsenals they possess as long as they believe that agents of an enemy state could steal nuclear weapons or materials to acquire a nuclear capability overnight..."
May 12, 2016
Op-Ed, Nuclear Security Matters
By Nickolas Roth, Research Associate, Project on Managing the Atom
"One of the key announcements at the Nuclear Security Summit today was that enough countries have ratified the amendment to the Convention on Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials (CPPNM) for it to enter into force. The 1980 CPPNM criminalizes nuclear theft and includes requirements for securing civilian nuclear material in international transport. In 2005, a proposed amendment to the CPPNM was opened for signature that would extend its coverage to include physical protection for materials in domestic use, storage, and transport, and sabotage of nuclear facilities..."
April 1, 2016
Magazine or Newspaper Article, Los Angeles Times
By William H. Tobey, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
President Obama convened more than 50 world leaders in Washington this week hoping that international progress on one of his long-standing policy priorities, nonproliferation, would outlast his administration, but the gathering served mostly to highlight the mixed record of Obama’s nuclear agenda.
Newsletter Article, Belfer Center Newsletter
In the months and weeks before the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, D.C., Belfer experts promoted a series of ideas to strengthen measures to prevent terrorists from acquiring nuclear weapons or the essential ingredients to make them.
April 5, 2016
Leading up to and during the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit, Belfer Center experts released reports, published commentary, and provided insight and analysis into global nuclear security. In advance of the Summit, the Project on Managing the Atom set the stage for discussion with the report Preventing Nuclear Terrorism: Continuous Improvement or Dangerous Decline?
An in-progress compilation of the expert commentary and analysis is available here.
April 4, 2016
Op-Ed, The New York Times
The attacks in Brussels last month were a stark reminder of the terrorists’ resolve, and of our continued vulnerabilities, including in an area of paramount concern: nuclear security.
The attackers struck an airport and the subway, but some Belgian investigators believe they seemed to have fallen back on those targets because they felt the authorities closing in on them, and that their original plan may have been to strike a nuclear plant. A few months ago, during a raid in the apartment of a suspect linked to the November attacks in Paris, investigators found surveillance footage of a senior Belgian nuclear official. Belgian police are said to have connected two of the Brussels terrorists to that footage.
April 1, 2016
Op-Ed, Foreign Policy
By Stephen M. Walt, Robert and Renée Belfer Professor of International Affairs; Faculty Chair, International Security Program
"...[R]ealists in academia and in the policy world support the basic principles of free trade and oppose the protectionist ideas Trump routinely invokes. Realists favor free trade not because they believe economic interdependence guarantees peace, but because they regard economic power as the foundation of national strength and international influence, and they believe protectionism and autarky are strategies that weaken a state's economy over time. Trump is correct that one needs a strong economy to be a great power — let alone a global superpower — but his ideas on how to preserve that status are so … well, 17th century."
March 31, 2016
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
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...."