• As U.S. withdraws from Iran nuclear deal, experts consider fallout

    U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the 2015 Iranian nuclear agreement reverberated throughout the Middle East, Europe, and elsewhere – all the more so because did not say what comes next in U.S. policy toward Iran, leaving a list of questions that experts are rushing to predict: Will Washington seek new negotiations with Tehran? Will Iran resume enriching uranium? Will Israel step up attacks on Iran’s proxies, such as Hezbollah in Lebanon, or militias in Syria? Will the U.S. European allies try to coax the Trump administration back to the negotiating table with Tehran? Will U.S. forces in Syria become more of a target for Iranian fighters?

  • Presidents often reverse U.S. foreign policy — how Trump handles setbacks is what matters most now

    President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal is hardly Trump’s first foreign policy turnaround. But is Trump really such an outlier? As a scholar of American foreign policy, I know that many American presidents have reoriented international relations. Some of those policies succeeded. Many faced opposition. Ultimately, though, my research shows that what matters more to U.S. national security is how those presidents responded when their foreign policy shifts failed.

  • Ahead of nuke deadline, Israeli company detects unusual activity at Iranian enrichment site

    An Israeli satellite company has published photographs of “unusual” activity at an Iranian enrichment facility, a week before President Donald Trump will make a decision whether or not to continue America’s participation in the 2015 nuclear deal.

  • IAEA saw no “credible evidence” Iran was working on nuclear weapon after 2009

    In December 2015, following a series of inspections, the IAEA issued a report saying that the agency had “no credible” evidence Iran was working on developing a nuclear “explosive device” after 2009 and that the UN’s nuclear watchdog considered the issue “closed.” The IAEA said today (1 May) that the agency stands by those conclusions. The IAEA’s statement ccame after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on 30 April that Israel had documents that showed new “proof” of an Iranian nuclear-weapons plan that could be activated at any time.

  • For nuclear weapons reduction, a way to verify without revealing

    In past negotiations aimed at reducing the arsenals of the world’s nuclear superpowers, chiefly the U.S. and Russia, a major sticking point has been the verification process: How do you prove that real bombs and nuclear devices — not just replicas — have been destroyed, without revealing closely held secrets about the design of those weapons? New isotope-detection method could prove compliance but avoid divulging secrets.

  • New radiation detectors developed at Sandia used for New START inspections

    Sandia National Laboratories designed, tested, and delivered new radiation detection equipment for monitoring under the New START Treaty. Defense Threat Reduction Agency inspectors recently used this equipment for the first time in Russia for a New START inspection. New START, or the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, is a treaty between the United States and Russia that, among other limits, reduces the deployed nuclear warheads on both sides to 1,550 by 5 February. These limits will be maintained for as long as the treaty remains in force. The treaty includes regular on-site inspections of warheads and delivery systems.

  • DHS establishes the Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction office

    Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen last week announced the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction (CWMD) Office. DHS says that the CWMD Office will elevate and streamline DHS efforts to prevent terrorists and other national security threat actors from using harmful agents, such as chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear material and devices to harm Americans and U.S. interests.

  • $2-million grant for training next generation of nuclear arms control experts

    Post-Cold War arsenal reductions by the United States and Russia have slowed, and both sides continue to keep many hundreds of weapons on hair trigger alert ready to launch within minutes of a country’s leader pushing the button. Meanwhile, concerns grow about nuclear programs in North Korea, South Asia, and the Middle East. Princeton University’s Program on Science and Global Security (SGS) has received a $2-million grant from the MacArthur Foundation. The award will support SGS’ efforts to educate and train the next generation of researchers and scientists studying nuclear non-proliferation, arms control and disarmament.

  • Argonne’s nuclear security training team has a global reach

    At Argonne National Laboratory, a team of experts is training foreign scientists and engineers in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and technology. Although the building is more than 4700 miles from the headquarters of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna, the team is helping it uphold decades of international nuclear cooperation. Over the years, Argonne has taught more than 220 courses to more than 5,000 students, many of whom became leaders of nuclear safety and security abroad.

  • New nuclear forensics signature discovery capability to help trace origins of plutonium

    Two weeks ago the Department of Homeland Security’s Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) joined with partners at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) to launch the Plutonium Processing Signatures Discovery capability. The new capability, the result of a four-year effort, represents a significant technological advancement in nuclear forensics that will improve our ability to trace the origins of plutonium. Nuclear forensics involves determining where illicit or smuggled radioactive material came from. In the event of a nuclear weapon detonation, knowing where radioactive material came from can help investigators determine who’s responsible.

  • Detecting weapons-grade uranium from afar

    It is hard enough to identify nuclear materials when you can directly scan a suspicious suitcase or shipping container. But if you cannot get close? A technique for detecting enriched uranium with lasers could help regulators sniff out illicit nuclear activities from as far as a couple of miles away.

  • U.K. nuclear safety regulations place too low a value on human life

    New research has shown that the benchmark used by the U.K. Office for Nuclear Regulation for judging how much should be spent on nuclear safety has no basis in evidence and places insufficient value on human life. The review suggests it may need to be ten times higher — between £16 million and £22 million per life saved.

  • Former IAEA deputy director criticizes nuclear agency’s Iran investigations

    Olli Heinonen, the former deputy director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency has criticized the agency for “reduc[ing] the level of transparency and details in its reporting” on Iran’s nuclear program, making it “practically impossible” to confirm that Iran is complying with the terms of the nuclear deal.

  • First large-scale, citywide test of advanced radioactive threat detection system

    Field testing of more than 1,000 networked, mobile radiation sensors in Washington, D.C., yields valuable data for implementing enhanced radiation-detection networks in major U.S. cities. By getting volunteers to walk all day looking for clues, the DARPA-sponsored exercise provided the largest test yet of DARPA’s SIGMA program, which is developing networked sensors that can provide dynamic, real-time radiation detection over large urban areas.

  • Nuclear CSI: Noninvasive procedure could spot criminal nuclear activity

    Determining whether an individual – a terrorist, a smuggler, a criminal — has handled nuclear materials, such as uranium or plutonium, is a challenge national defense agencies currently face. The standard protocol to detect uranium exposure is through a urine sample; however, urine is able only to identify those who have been recently exposed. Scientists have developed a noninvasive procedures that will better identify individuals exposed to uranium within one year.