• Is North Korea Preparing for War in 2024?

    North Korea’s Kim Jong Un is ratcheting up the war rhetoric against South Korea and the US once again. This time, however, analysts warn the threat goes beyond the usual bluster.

  • How Quickly Could Iran Make Nuclear Weapons Today?

    For Iran, two of the three poles in the tent of building nuclear weapons – fissile material and delivery vehicles — are essentially complete. It will take them one week to enrich enough uranium to 90 percent for one bomb (and one month to enrich enough uranium for six bombs). Iran also has a variety of delivery systems, including nuclear-capable missiles: the delivery pole is ready. Weaponization is the pole that needs more work. The accelerated weaponization program can be accomplished in a matter of six months.

  • Fiasco: How Trump’s 2018 Decision Facilitated Iran’s Nuclear-Weapons Program

    The 2015 nuclear deal between the world powers and Iran made it impossible for Iran to build nuclear weapons for at least twenty years – from 2015 until about 2035. Critics of the deal, lamenting the deal’s sunset clauses, said they were worried about Iran being (relatively) free to build an infrastructure for nuclear weapons in 2030-2035, once some of the deal’s clauses were set to expire. It was a legitimate concern. But the answer to that perceived weakness in the deal was not the answer Donald Trump gave in May 2018: to unilaterally withdraw from the deal and thus make it possible for Iran to build its first bomb in 2024.

  • Iran Triples Production of Enriched Uranium

    Iran has tripled its production of uranium enriched to 60 percent, after slowing down of production earlier this year, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported on Tuesday. Iran, free of the restrictions it accepted as part of the 2015 deal, is now producing about 9 kg a month of uranium enriched to 60 percent.

  • Bioengineered Potato Plant Detects Gamma Radiation

    A researcher in the University of Tennessee Herbert College of Agriculture has developed a potato plant that can detect gamma radiation, providing reliable indications of harmful radiation levels without complex monitoring technologies. The natural radiation sensor is affordable, too.

  • Los Alamos National Lab Safely Shipping Radiological and Hazardous Waste Off-Site

    A substantial amount of Los Alamos National Lab’s radiological and hazardous waste from years past was permanently disposed of at off-site facilities — a move in step with the Lab’s goal to mitigate hazards to workers, the community, and the environment while carrying out its national security mission.

  • Analysis of IAEA Iran Verification and Monitoring Report — November 2023

    Iran’s stocks of enriched uranium and its centrifuge capacity combined are sufficient to make enough weapon-grade uranium (WGU), taken as 25 kilograms (kg) of WGU, for six nuclear weapons in one month, eight in two months, ten in three months, eleven in four months, and twelve in five months.

  • Iran Now Has Enough Enriched Uranium for “Several” Nuclear Bombs: IAEA

    In 2015, the world powers reached an agreement with Iran which severely restricted its nuclear weapons-related activities. In 2018, then-President Donald Trump unilaterally pulled the United States out of the accord without replacing it with any alternative mechanism to constrain Iran’s nuclear weapons-related activities. Trump’s decision allowed Iran to relaunch its nuclear weapons program, and the IAEA’s director-general has just warned that Tehran has enough enriched uranium for “several” nuclear bombs if it made the decision to build them.

  • Detecting Nuclear Materials Using Light

    Sandia materials scientist developed the state of the art technology known as Organic Glass Scintillators for radiation detection. Organic Glass Scintillators emit light in the presence of radiation.

  • Options for Strengthening South Korea’s Nuclear Assurance

    What are the major nuclear weapon threats to ROK security? What policy and strategy options might strengthen ROK nuclear assurance? What nuclear employment planning and execution options might strengthen ROK nuclear assurance? What nuclear weapon force options might strengthen ROK nuclear assurance? How can they be designed to minimize political difficulties with the ROK and with ROK neighbors?

  • Monitoring Nuclear Weapons Stockpiles with Radio Waves

    Monitoring whether states are complying with disarmament treaties is not an easy task. An international team has been exploring remote monitoring with the help of two antennas and a couple of mirrors.

  • Happy 60th Birthday to Vela, Watchman for Nuclear Detonations

    Sixty years ago last week, on Oct. 16, 1963, the United States launched a pair of satellites whose primary purpose was to determine the feasibility of using satellites to detect nuclear detonations in outer space. The satellites were part of the Vela program, initiated in 1959 to provide a nuclear detonation detection capability to verify compliance with nuclear treaties. On Sept. 27, 1984, the last of the Vela satellites were turned off.

  • U.S.: China's Nuclear Arsenal Exceeding Predictions

    China’s nuclear arsenal is growing faster than expected, according to the latest unclassified Pentagon assessment, with a senior U.S. defense official warning the Chinese military is “on track to exceed previous projections.”

  • Scorpius Images to Test Nuclear Stockpile Simulations

    One thousand feet below the ground, three national defense labs and a remote test site are building Scorpius — a machine as long as a football field — to create images of plutonium as it is compressed with high explosives, creating conditions that exist just prior to a nuclear explosion. The Sandia injector is key to validating plutonium pit performance.

  • Chi-Nu Experiment Concludes with Data to Support Nuclear Security, Energy Reactors

    The Chi-Nu project, a years-long experiment measuring the energy spectrum of neutrons emitted from neutron-induced fission, recently concluded the most detailed and extensive uncertainty analysis of the three major actinide elements — uranium-238, uranium-235 and plutonium-239.