• Investigating Stockpile Stewardship Applications for World’s Largest Computer Chip

    The Cerebras Wafer-Scale Engine is the largest computer chip in the world, containing 2.6 trillion transistors, 850,000 artificial intelligence cores. Researchers at Sandia and Los Alamos are accelerating advanced simulation and computing applications in support of the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile stewardship mission.

  • Nuclear Weapons Use Will ‘End’ Kim Regime, US, South Korea Say

    The United States and South Korean defense leaders are warning Pyongyang that any use of nuclear weapons by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un would be the “end” of his regime.

  • Sixty Years After the Cuban Missile Crisis, Nuclear Threat Feels Chillingly Immediate

    Graham Allison, author of Essence of Decision: Explaining the Cuban Missile Crisis, talks about how Kennedy and Khrushchev stepped back from brink, and says that Western leaders are worried that Putin might not.

  • Pakistan Protests Biden Questioning of Safety of Pakistan’s Nuclear Weapons

    Pakistan has formally protested to the United States over remarks by President Joe Biden questioning the safety of Islamabad’s nuclear weapons. Biden told a Democratic Congressional fundraiser Thursday night that Pakistan “may be one of the most dangerous nations in the world” for possessing “nuclear weapons without any cohesion.”

  • How the Biden Administration Is Responding to Putin’s Threats to Go Nuclear

    Russia’s use of nuclear weapons would not necessarily be considered in contravention of Article 5 of the NATO treaty, whereby an attack on one is considered an attack on all and requires collective military defense. But experts say that a case could be made that if radiation from use of a nuclear warhead were to spill over into a NATO country, this could be construed as an attack.

  • Why the U.S. Nuclear Umbrella Underpins Non-Proliferation

    Early in the Cold War, forward-deployed nuclear weapons were focused on deterrence and warfighting, compensating for the numerical superiority of communist armies. As Soviet capabilities improved and more countries became nuclear powers, the purpose of the U.S. nuclear umbrella expanded to include non-proliferation. In essence, the U.S. preferred to protect key allies like Japan rather than risk them developing their own arsenals.

  • Rumors Grow of Russia's Nuclear Weapons Moves

    European news outlets have been reporting that in the past twenty-four hours the Russian military has been moving components related to a nuclear weapon launch closer to the Russia-Ukraine border. NATO intelligence officials have said that a Russian submarine carrying nuclear-armed underwater drones has “disappeared” from its port in north Russia.

  • Nuclear War: Does It Take Luck or Reasoning to Avoid It? Lessons from the Cuban Missile Crisis, 60 Years On

    Sixty years ago, at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis, President John Kennedy told his cabinet that he estimated the odds of an all-out nuclear war with the Soviet Union to be “somewhere between one in three and even.” How close we are to a nuclear war with Russia today? It is hard to tell. Deliberate escalation may be unlikely, and we may avoid the worst-case scenario. However, there are many situations that could unintentionally lead to disaster.

  • U.S. Nuclear Testing Moratorium Launched a Supercomputing Revolution

    On 23 September 1992 the U.S. conducted its 1,054th – and last — nuclear weapons test. After the test, and with the Soviet Union gone, the U.S. government issued what was meant to be a short-term moratorium on testing, but the moratorium has lasted to this day. This moratorium came with an unexpected benefit: no longer testing nuclear weapons ushered in a revolution in high-performance computing.

  • Scientific Discovery for Stockpile Stewardship

    Following the U.S. last nuclear test in September 1992, the Department of Energy’s national labs convened to develop a strategy and map out an R&D effort that would come to be known as the Stockpile Stewardship Program (SSP). Its mission was ensuring the readiness of the nation’s nuclear deterrent force without nuclear tests.

  • How to Deter Russian Nuclear Use in Ukraine—and Respond if Deterrence Fails

    Russia might use nuclear weapons to achieve its goals in the war in Ukraine—a risk that has only grown as Russian forces confront Ukrainian counteroffensives. Such nuclear use could advance the Kremlin’s military aims, undermine US interests globally, and set off a humanitarian catastrophe unseen since 1945. What should the United States do to deter such a disaster – and if deterrence fails, what should be the U.S. response?

  • Going Nuclear

    Rather than fretting about the craziness of nuclear use, efforts might more usefully be put into preparing for the moment when Vladimir Putin realizes that he has lost and may seek to hold on to Crimea. At this time all the issues connected with ending this war – sanctions, reparations, war crimes, prisoner exchanges, and security guarantees – would need to be addressed. We may find it difficult to imagine that Putin can lose, and wonder about how well he will cope with his failed aggression, but it is entirely possible that at some point he will run out of options, and have to look failure in the eye.

  • Escalation Management and Nuclear Employment in Russian Military Strategy

    Any conflict with Russia will always be implicitly nuclear in nature. If it is not managed, then the logic of such a war is to escalate to nuclear use. “The United States needs to develop its own strategy for escalation management, and a stronger comfort level with the realities of nuclear war,” Michael Kofman and Anya Loukianova Fink write.

  • Iran Nuclear Weapons Breakout Time Remains at Zero

    A new report from the Institute for Science and International Security summarizes and assesses information in the (IAEA) quarterly safeguards report for 7 September 2022. The main finding: Iran’s breakout time, that is, the time between a political decision to produce a nuclear weapon and the completion of such weapon, remains at zero.

  • Nuclear War Would Cause Global Famine

    More than 5 billion people would die of hunger following a full-scale nuclear war between the U.S. and Russia, according to a global study that estimates post-conflict crop production. Even a regional nuclear conflict would devastate crop production.