• Iran’s nukesSuspicions Mount of Foreign Hand in Fire at Sensitive Iranian Nuclear Site

    By Golnaz Esfandiari

    There is growing support among outside security experts for the notion that an “incident” at Iran’s main nuclear-enrichment facility last week was an act of sabotage in a shadow war aimed at setting back Tehran’s nuclear activities. Many analysts believe that a foreign state, possibly Israel, was behind the 2 July fire at the Natanz facility in Iran’s central Isfahan Province.

  • Iran’s nukesSetback for Iran’s Nuclear Program after Mystery Fire at Centrifuge Assembly Site

    By Michael Lipin, Farhad Pouladi

    New details of an Iranian nuclear facility damaged in a mysterious fire suggest Thursday’s incident is a much greater setback to Iran’s nuclear ambitions than Tehran has publicly admitted. The Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security identified the facility as a centrifuge assembly workshop at the Natanz Fuel Enrichment Plant in central Iran’s Isfahan province.

  • ArgumentNuclear Alarmism: Proliferation and Terrorism

    Alarmism about nuclear weapons is common coin in the foreign policy establishment, John Mueller writes. He notes that during the course of the Cold War, for example, the chief concern was that the weapons would somehow go off, by accident or by intention, devastating the planet in the process. More recently, the worry has been that terrorists would get their hands on nuclear weapons. Concerns about the dangers inherent in nuclear proliferation and in nuclear terrorism certainly seem overwrought, Mueller writes, concluding: “There may be reason for concern, or at least for interest and watchfulness. But alarm and hysteria (not to mention sleeplessness) are hardly called for.”

  • Nuclear weaponsFlight Tests Show B61-12 Compatible with F-15E Strike Eagle

    Dropped from above 25,000 feet, the mock B61-12 nuclear gravity bomb was in the air for approximately 55 seconds before hitting and embedding in the lakebed, splashing a 40- to 50-foot puff of desert dust from the designated impact area at Sandia National Laboratories’ Tonopah Test Range in Nevada. That strike was the last in a series of flight tests designed to demonstrate the refurbished B61-12’s compatibility with the U.S. Air Force’s F-15E Strike Eagle jet fighter.

  • NukesNuclear Weapon Modernization Continues but Outlook for Arms Control Is Bleak: Report

    The just-released annual report from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) assesses the current state of armaments, disarmament, and international security. The report finds is that despite an overall decrease in the number of nuclear warheads in 2019, all nuclear weapon-possessing states continue to modernize their nuclear arsenals.

  • Nukes & hurricanesBill Would Prohibit Use of Nukes against Hurricanes

    Last August, President Trump repeatedly asked DHS experts and other top national security officials to consider using nuclear bombs to weaken, destroy, or change the direction of hurricanes. The idea is not new, but it has been dismissed by experts. NOAA says that the energy released by nuclear weapons pales in comparison to the energy released by a typical hurricane, which the NOAA describes as comparable to a 10-megaton nuclear bomb exploding “every 20 minutes.” While the detonation of even several nuclear bombs would not weaken a hurricane or change its direction, experts note that the radioactive fallout released downwind could have catastrophic impacts for people and the environment.

  • Iran’s nukesU.S. Ending Sanctions Waivers on Iran's Civilian Nuclear Program

    The United States has announced it will end sanctions waivers that allow Russian, Chinese, and European firms to carry out civilian nuclear cooperation with Iran, effectively scrapping the last remnants of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, a move dismissed by Tehran as “desperate.”

  • Iran’s nukesSnapback of Sanctions under the Terms of the Nuclear Deal Is Fully Justified Today

    By David Albright

    “If Iran today wants a serious discussion about sanctions relief, it should start by abandoning the key threat Tehran poses to international peace and security: its uranium enrichment program,” writes David Albright, a nuclear weapons expert and the president of the Institute for Science and International Security. “Instead, Iran holds its own people hostage over the deadly coronavirus outbreak in a cynical campaign for wholesale sanctions relief.” The willingness of Iran’s leadership to refuse epidemic aid and thus dramatically, and unnecessarily, increase the number of sick and dying Iranians; the willing of the leadership to intensify and deepen the severe economic deprivation and misery across the country – and do all that in order to grow an economically nonviable, menacing uranium enrichment program — “That alone should lead all to consider just what is the real purpose of Iran’s enrichment program,” Albright writes.

  • NukesCold War Nuclear Tests Changed U.K. Rainfall

    Nuclear bomb tests during the Cold War may have changed rainfall patterns thousands of miles from the detonation sites, new research has revealed. Scientists have researched how the electric charge released by radiation from the test detonations, carried out predominantly by the U.S. and Soviet Union in the 1950s and 1960s, affected rainclouds at the time.

  • Iran’s nukesIran’s Nuclear “Breakout” Time Reduced to 3-4 Months

    In May 2018, when President Trump announced that the United States was withdrawing from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, Iran “breakout” time was estimated to be 12-16 months. Breakout is defined as the time Iran would need to produce 25 kilograms of weapon-grade uranium (WGU), enough for a nuclear weapon. A new report says that Iran’s breakout time now is 3.1 to 4.6 months.

  • China syndromeU.S. Says China Conducted Zero-Yield Nuclear Tests

    The United States says that China may have secretly conducted low-level underground nuclear tests, even though the country has signed a treaty banning such tests. Zero yield tests are nuclear test in which there is no explosive chain reaction of the type ignited by the detonation of a nuclear warhead.

  • Nuclear detectionHow Lasers Can Help with Nuclear Nonproliferation Monitoring

    Scientists developed a new method showing that measuring the light produced in plasmas made from a laser can be used to understand uranium oxidation in nuclear fireballs. This capability gives never-before-seen insight into uranium gas-phase oxidation during nuclear explosions. These insights further progress toward a reliable, non-contact method for remote detection of uranium elements and isotopes, with implications for nonproliferation safeguards, explosion monitoring and treaty verification.

  • Nuclear detectionLasers to Detect Weapons-Grade Uranium from Afar

    It’s hard enough to identify nuclear materials when you can directly scan a suspicious suitcase or shipping container. But if you can’t 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.

  • Better protectionProtecting U.S. Energy Grid and Nuclear Weapons Systems

    To deter attempts to disable U.S. electrical utilities and to defend U.S. nuclear weapon systems from evolving technological threats, Sandia researchers have begun two multiyear initiatives to strengthen U.S. responses.

  • Nuclear warEven a Limited India-Pakistan Nuclear War Would Bring Global Famine, Says Study

    By Kevin Krajick

    The concept of nuclear winter—a years-long planetary freeze brought on by airborne soot generated by nuclear bombs—has been around for decades. But such speculations have been based largely on back-of-the-envelope calculations involving a total war between Russia and the United States. Now, a new multinational study incorporating the latest models of global climate, crop production and trade examines the possible effects of a less gargantuan but perhaps more likely exchange between two longtime nuclear-armed enemies: India and Pakistan.