Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu warns that the nuclear deal with Iran increases Iran’s chances of building nuclear weapons. In this Christian Science Monitor op-ed, Matthew Bunn argues that Prime Minister Netanyahu is exactly wrong. The first-stage nuclear deal with Iran will change the politics of the bomb in Tehran. With this deal in place, it will be much harder for Iranian hardliners to make the case that Iran should tear up its agreements and build a bomb.
November 1, 2013
How significant is the proposal for a WMD-free zone in the Middle East, given the violence and turmoil rocking the region? The short essays in this discussion paper, by experts from across the region, provide a snap shot of the diversity of views on the issue. As a collection, the essays demonstrate the scale and complexity of the challenges associated with establishing a WMD-free zone in the region. The gaps between the positions of key parties are clearly evident; but the reader will also find unexpected commonalities.
August 15, 2013
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.
Washington Quarterly, issue 36, volume 3
By Martin B. Malin, Executive Director, Project on Managing the Atom and Ehud Eiran, Former Associate, International Security Program, 2010–2011; Former Research Fellow, International Security Program, 2005–2010
President Rouhani's initiative to restart nuclear negotiations has been met with deep skepticism in Israel. Haifa University political scientist Ehud Eiran and MTA Executive Director Martin Malin suggest in the current issue of The Washington Quarterly that Israel's framing of, and response to, the Iranian nuclear program is a product of four distinct fears: existential threat, strategic risk, socio-economic erosion, and a challenge to founding principles. Understanding the sources and consequences of these fears can help policy makers avoid dangerous pitfalls and missed opportunities in their response to the current Iranian initiative.
Oct 2, 2013
By Robert Reardon, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Project on Managing the Atom/International Security Program
Iran may already possess the ability to produce nuclear weapons, but for the time being Tehran appears content to continue gradually advancing its nuclear program while remaining within the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. This book chapter assesses Iran’s potential to develop nuclear weapons, the nature of its nuclear decision-making, and the possible policy implications of Iran’s nuclear choices.
Oct 2, 2013
By John S. Park, Associate, Project on Managing the Atom
With origins dating back to the late 1960s, North Korea’s nuclear weapons program has evolved to be a multipurpose instrument of the regime’s security strategy.This book chapter presents a new framework of analysis to explore North Korea’s evolving use of its nuclear arsenal and implications for both the Korean Peninsula and U.S. policy.
September 23, 2013
"Organizing for Arms Control: The National Security Implications of the Loss of an Independent Arms Control Agency"
By Leon Ratz
Fourteen years since the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA) was dissolved, Leon Ratz (HKS '13) explores the national security implications of the loss of America's independent arms control agency. Ratz argues that the organizational merger has weakened the federal government's decision-making and analytic capabilities when it comes to addressing critical arms control and non-proliferation challenges.
Jun 10, 2013
Christian Science Monitor
By Matthew Bunn, Professor of Practice; Co-Principal Investigator, Project on Managing the Atom
"Fifty years ago, President John F. Kennedy delivered a commencement address at American University whose message echoes down the decades to the challenges America faces today – including the challenge of Iran."
April 22, 2013
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
"Although China has every intention of continuing nuclear energy development, in the aftermath of Fukushima it has approved a number of plans to enhance safety standards. All of them emphasize that the pace of growth should be controlled to minimize risk."
How can the states of the Middle East begin to create the political conditions for achieving sustained progress toward the elimination of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons? This paper examines the challenges and obstacles that the parties of the region will need to overcome to bring a WMD-free zone into force, and recommends near-term steps for improving regional security.
July 13, 2012
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, issue 4, volume 68
By Hui Zhang, Senior Research Associate, Project on Managing the Atom
China currently has far fewer nuclear weapons than the U.S., possibly the fewest of the five original nuclear weapons states. But if China feels threatened by the deployment of U.S. missile defenses, that could well change.
By Trevor Findlay, Senior Research Fellow, Project on Managing the Atom/International Security Program
This report marks the culmination of a two-year research project that examined all aspects of the mandate and operations of the International Atomic Energy Agency, from major programs on safeguards, safety, security, and the peaceful uses of nuclear energy to governance, management, and finance.
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.
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.
May 26, 2011
This week, when the leaders of the G8 industrial democracies gather in France, their meeting will include discussions of what steps must be taken to strengthen global nuclear safety and global nuclear security in the aftermath of the tragedy at Fukushima. The Belfer Center's Matthew Bunn and Olli Heinonen suggest new actions the world community should take in five key areas in order to prevent another Fukushima.
Science & Global Security, issue 1, volume 19
By Hui Zhang, Senior Research Associate, Project on Managing the Atom
Hui Zhang's article "China's HEU and Plutonium Production and Stocks" was published in the January-April 2011 issue of Science & Global Security. This article discusses the history of China’s production of highly enriched uranium and plutonium for nuclear weapons and uses new public information to estimate the amount of highly enriched uranium and plutonium China produced at its two gaseous diffusion plants and two plutonium production complexes.
Promoting Safe, Secure, and Peaceful Growth of Nuclear Energy: Next Steps for Russia and the United States
The Managing the Atom (MTA) Project and the Russian Research Center’s "Kurchatov Institute" collaboratively authored a report entitled Promoting Safe, Secure, and Peaceful Growth of Nuclear Energy: Next Steps for Russia and the United States. This report is intended to provide recommendations for enabling large-scale growth of nuclear energy while achieving even higher standards of safety, security, and nonproliferation than are in place today.
Innovations, issue 4, volume 4
Matthew Bunn and Martin B. Malin examine the conditions needed for nuclear energy to grow on a scale large enough for it to be a significant part of the world’s response to climate change. They consider the safety, security, nonproliferation, and waste management risks associated with such growth and recommend approaches to managing these risks. Bunn and Malin argue that although technological solutions may contribute to nuclear expansion in the coming decades, in the near term, creating the conditions for large-scale nuclear energy growth will require major international institutional innovation.
Getting to Zero: Is Pursuing a Nuclear-Weapon-Free World Too Difficult? Too Dangerous? Too Distracting?
By John P. Holdren, Former Director and Faculty Chair, Science, Technology and Public Policy Program
John P. Holdren sorts out some of the conceptual and terminological ambiguities about the meaning of "zero" nuclear weapons in this paper.
By Bob van der Zwaan, Former Research Associate, Energy Technology Innovation research group/Project on Managing the Atom Project/Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program, 2001–2005, John P. Holdren, Former Director and Faculty Chair, Science, Technology and Public Policy Program, Steve Fetter, Former Associate, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program and Matthew Bunn, Professor of Practice; Co-Principal Investigator, Project on Managing the Atom
For decades, there has been an intense debate over the best approach to managing spent fuel from nuclear power reactors, whether it is better to dispose of it directly in geologic repositories, or reprocess it to recover and recycle the plutonium and uranium, disposing only of the wastes from reprocessing and recycling.