David Wright

About the author: Dr. Wright received his PhD in physics from Cornell University in 1983, and worked for five years as a research physicist. He was an SSRC-MacArthur Foundation Fellow in International Peace and Security in the Center for Science and International Affairs in the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, and a Senior Analyst at the Federation of American Scientists. He is a Fellow of the American Physics Society (APS) and a recipient of APS Joseph A. Burton Forum Award in 2001. He has been at UCS since 1992. Areas of expertise: Space weapons and security, ballistic missile proliferation, ballistic missile defense, U.S. nuclear weapons and nuclear weapons policy. David also blogs on the Equation.

What is the Administration’s Rationale for Keeping Missiles on Hair-Trigger Alert?

One of the sensible ideas the non-nuclear weapon states promoted at both the 2010 and 2015 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conferences is the idea that the nuclear weapon states should take their missiles off high alert and eliminate the option to launch nuclear weapons on warning of an attack. This would reduce the risk of accidental, mistaken, and unauthorized launches while retaining deterrence by post-attack retaliation. Read More

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China and MIRVed Warheads

A recent Pentagon report on Chinese Military Power reported that for the first time China has apparently begun to put multiple warheads on some of its ballistic missiles. This would mean that China can use its existing missile force to launch more nuclear warheads. This change was also reported in a New York Times article over the weekend. Read More

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China’s January 2013 Missile Defense Test

Some of the best sleuthing and analysis these days is being done by the group at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies in Monterey at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. So when Catherine Dill and Jeffrey Lewis emailed me to help fit a few pieces together I was happy to help.

They have been piecing together information about China’s Korla Missile Test Complex, which appears to be the base where China has launched interceptors for several recent missile defense tests. They are posting their analysis today at armscontrolwonk. Read More

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5th Annual UCS Report on the NRC and Nuclear Power Safety

Today UCS released its 5th annual report on the NRC and nuclear power safety. UCS started these reports in 2010 to examine each year examples of when the NRC acted to ensure nuclear safety as well as when it fell down on the job. Read More

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No More Ft. Calhouns!

The nuclear accident at Fukushima, Japan in March 2011, which resulted in the meltdown of three reactors and the release of huge amounts of radiation, led to intense study of the causes of the accident and the catchphrase “No more Fukushimas!”

Last week, Dave Lochbaum released a report that looks in detail at an event that occurred around the same time but garnered much less attention and scrutiny—the shutdown of the Ft. Calhoun reactor in Nebraska for what turned out to be a two and a half year outage to make extensive repairs. Problems at the plant had been missed by inspections for years and accumulated to the point that such a long outage was needed to fix them. Read More

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The NRC and the Value of Life—Revisited

In February 2011, my colleague Ed Lyman wrote a blog post and a letter to the New York Times pointing out that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) assigns a MUCH lower value to human life when assessing the costs of accidents than other government agencies. This issue has been raised again in a recent Bloomberg article. Read More

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How High Did China’s May 2013 Launch Go?

On May 13, 2013, China launched a rocket on a suborbital trajectory to high altitude. China announced that the launch was part of a project to study space weather and that the probe carried out an experiment at high altitude. A report in China News (translation) stated that the launch reached an altitude of about 10,000 km. Read More

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Nuclear Goldilocks: Combatting the Cumulative Effects of Non-Regulation

The U.S. nuclear power industry has been raising concerns about what is being called “the cumulative effects of regulation.” The industry sees NRC regulatory demands as an ever growing burden that it doesn’t believe adds significantly to public safety. Read More

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“Fukushima: The Story of Nuclear Disaster” Book Released

Yesterday we officially released our book Fukushima: The Story of a Nuclear Disaster, published by New Press and co-authored by Dave Lochbaum and Ed Lyman, and journalist Susan Q. Stranahan. Susan for many years was a journalist with the Philadelphia Inquirer, and was the lead reporter of the Inquirer’s Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage of the 1979 Three Mile Island nuclear accident. Read More

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Lyman Presentation to the NRC on Nuclear Waste

Ed will be part of a panel at an NRC hearing on spent fuel safety, starting at 9 a.m. on January 6. Read More

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