• 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.

  • Iran’s nukesIran Nuclear Accord Parties Meet to Try to Salvage Deal

    The remaining members of the floundering Iran nuclear deal are set to meet in Vienna Wednesday for the first time since Germany, France, and Britain initiated dispute procedures that could reimpose U.N. sanctions on Tehran. The talks come as the signatories try to rescue the landmark 2015 accord, which has been faltering since U.S. President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from it in 2018 and enforced crippling sanctions on Iran.

  • Nuclear warNuclear War Could Be Devastating for the U.S., Even If No One Shoots Back

    By Joshua M. Pearce

    The White House’s 2021 budget calls for $28.9 billion for the Pentagon for nuclear weapons and a 20 percent increase to $19.8 billion for the National Nuclear Security Administration. Yet the U.S. already has over 3,000 nuclear weapons. The U.S. could only safely use a fraction of them without killing Americans with an unintended adverse series of cascading environmental effects: Soot from the burning of cities following numerous nuclear blasts would cause a significant drop in global temperature, blocking the sunlight from reaching the Earth’s surface. This would cause a drop in precipitation, increased ultraviolet radiation resulting from a badly damaged atmosphere, and a breakdown in supply chains and food production. In short, a nuclear attack using only a few nuclear weapons would be exceedingly damaging for the aggressor nation.

  • Nuclear wasteMaterials Currently Used to Store Nuclear Waste Accelerate Corrosion

    The materials the United States and other countries plan to use to store high-level nuclear waste will likely degrade faster than anyone previously knew because of the way those materials interact, new research shows. The findings show that corrosion of nuclear waste storage materials accelerates because of changes in the chemistry of the nuclear waste solution, and because of the way the materials interact with one another.

  • Nuclear wasteGlaciers May Offer Safe Sites for Nuclear Waste Storage

    New insights into rates of bedrock erosion by glaciers around the world will help to identify better sites for the safe storage of nuclear waste. The findings of a new research overturn earlier research, showing that erosion rates do not increase with the speed of glacier flow as quickly as previously anticipated.

  • ArgumentPentagon Deployment of New, “More Usable” Nuclear Weapon Is a Grave Mistake

    The Pentagon on Tuesday acknowledged that it has deployed a new, sea-based nuclear warhead capability. The move — first reported last week by the Federation of American Scientists — is the first in the Trump administration’s multibillion-dollar, multi-decade plan to replace and expand U.S. nuclear weapons capabilities. Daryl G. Kimball writes that the administration’s stated rationale for the new weapon is deeply flawed, and the decision to field the device only heightens the danger of escalation.

  • Doomsday clockIt Is Now 100 Seconds to Midnight

    The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ Doomsday Clock is now closer to midnight than ever in its history. The Bulletin cites worsening nuclear threat, lack of climate action, and rise of “cyber-enabled disinformation campaigns” in moving the clock hand. December 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the first edition of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, initially a six-page, black-and-white bulletin and later a magazine, created in anticipation that the atom bomb would be “only the first of many dangerous presents from the Pandora’s Box of modern science.”

  • Radiation risksSecuring Radiological Sources on the Go

    Radioactive materials are a critical tool in a number of industrial applications, particularly oil and gas drilling and welding. While these sources are safe and well-regulated for their intended use; if lost or stolen the materials could be used by terrorists to make dirty bombs.

  • Iran’s nukesEuropean Unity on Iran Nuclear Deal May Be Cracking

    There are signs that cracks are beginning to appear in European unity over its backing of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, or JCPOA, as allies come under growing pressure from the United States to abandon the agreement in the wake of Tehran’s downing of a passenger jet January 8. Iran announced this month it would ignore all restrictions on its nuclear enrichment activities, but insisted it was permitted to do so under the 2015 deal, because the U.S. was the first signatory to break the agreement.

  • Iran’s nukesIsrael Warns Iran is Closer to Nuclear Bomb

    Israeli military analysts say that by the end of 2020 Iran will have enough enriched uranium for one nuclear bomb. The assessment comes after recent tensions between the U.S. and Iran brought them to the brink of war. The United States pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal in 2018, and Israeli intelligence officials speculated that Iran would resume its efforts to acquire a nuclear bomb.

  • ArgumentHow Demise of Iranian Nuclear Deal Rekindles Israel’s Dilemma

    For Israel, it may be a case of “careful what you wish for.” Whatever its flaws, the Iran nuclear deal gave Israel a breather of sorts. Now its leaders face a grimly familiar predicament, and a ticking clock.

  • Iran’s nukesFrance: Iran Could Have Nuclear Weapon within One to Two Years

    French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has warned that Iran could have nuclear weapons in one or two years if Tehran continues to violate a landmark nuclear accord with world powers. Before the nuclear deal between Iran and the leading world powers was signed in October 2015, Iran’s “dash-to-the-bomb” break-out time was estimated to be between two and five months. The various clauses of the nuclear deal had increased Iran’s break-out time to 12-18 months – and the deal would have kept Iran’s nuclear program in that state until 2030. Since the U.S, withdrew from deal on 8 May 2018, Iran has systematically, if carefully and slowly, breached more and more of the restrictions imposed on its nuclear program in 2015.

  • 2020 conflicts2020 Conflicts: The Most Likely, and Most Damaging to U.S.

    The Council on Foreign Relations has asked policy experts to rank thirty ongoing or potential conflicts based on how likely they are to occur or escalate in the next year, and their possible impact on U.S. interests. For the second year in a row, a highly disruptive cyberattack on critical infrastructure, including electoral systems, was the top-ranked homeland security–related concern. A mass-casualty terrorist attack was a close second. A confrontation between the United States and Iran, North Korea, or with China in the South China Sea remain the biggest concerns overseas.

  • Soleimani killingIran's Attacks on U.S. Assets Could Encourage N. Korea's Nuclear Ambitions: Experts

    Iran’s attacks on Iraqi bases housing U.S. troops as Tehran announced it will no longer comply with restrictions on uranium enrichment may encourage North Korea to perfect its nuclear and missile technologies, experts said.