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Nuclear Policy

Feb. 24, 2017

The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Negotiations: A Case Study

On July 16, 1945, the United States conducted the world’s first nuclear explosive test in Alamagordo, New Mexico. The test went off as planned; a nuclear chain reaction, in the form of an explosion, could be created. Less than a month later, nuclear weapons were used to support Allied efforts to end World War II.

Dec. 1, 2012

The International Atomic Energy Agency's Decision to Find Iran in Non-Compliance, 2002-2006

On August 14, 2002, at a press conference in Washington, DC, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), an exiled Iranian opposition group, drew worldwide attention when it publicly accused Iran of clandestinely developing nuclear weapons. Alireza Jafarzadeh, then-U.S. media spokesperson for the NCRI, described two “top secret” nuclear facilities being constructed in Iran at Natanz and Arak under the guise of front companies involved in the procurement of nuclear material and equipment. Noting that media attention had focused on Iran’s publicly declared civilian facilities, Jafarzadeh claimed that “in reality, there are many secret nuclear programs at work in Iran without knowledge of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA),” the international body responsible for verifying and assuring compliance with safeguards obligations under the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Dec. 1, 2011

U.S. Ratification of the Chemical Weapons Convention

On October 1, 1990, two months after Iraq’s surprise invasion and annexation of Kuwait had put the United States and other members of the international community on a collision course with the Saddam Hussein regime, President George H.W. Bush spoke to the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in New York. He described Iraq’s brutal aggression against its neighbor as “a throwback to another era, a dark relic from a dark time.” Noting that Saddam Hussein had waged a “genocidal poison gas war” against Iraq’s restive Kurdish minority during the 1980s, President Bush hinted that if it ultimately proved necessary to liberate Kuwait by force, the United States and its allies could face Iraqi attacks with chemical weapons—highly toxic chemicals designed to incapacitate or kill.

Feb. 1, 2011

Small Nuclear Reactors for Military Installations: Capabilities, Costs, and Technological Implications

In recent years, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) has become increasingly interested in the potential of small (less than 300 megawatts electric [MWe]) nuclear reactors for military use.1 DOD’s attention to small reactors stems mainly from two critical vulnerabilities it has identified in its infrastructure and operations: the dependence of U.S. military bases on the fragile civilian electrical grid, and the challenge of safely and reliably supplying energy to troops in forward operating locations. DOD has responded to these challenges with an array of initiatives on energy efficiency and renewable and alternative fuels. Unfortunately, even with massive investment and ingenuity, these initiatives will be insufficient to solve DOD’s reliance on the civilian grid or its need for convoys in forward areas. The purpose of this paper is to explore the prospects for addressing these critical vulnerabilities through small-scale nuclear plants.

April 1, 2010

The Origins of Nunn-Lugar and Cooperative Threat Reduction

In a 1999 interview, Ashton Carter, a key figure in helping to create and implement the threat reduction program initiated by Senators Sam Nunn (D–GA) and Richard Lugar (R–IN), recalled four visits between 1994 and 1996 to an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) base in Pervomaysk, Ukraine. Planted in the soil of this base were the most powerful rockets mankind has ever made, armed with hundreds of hydrogen bombs and aimed at the United States. In turn, Pervomaysk was itself the target of similar American missiles and weapons. Under the Nunn-Lugar program, the missiles deployed at Pervomaysk by the Soviet Strategic Rocket Forces and the silos that housed them were destroyed.