Nuclear Terrorism

Expert perspectives on nuclear terrorism issues, including reprocessing, nonproliferation, and the security risks posed by fissile materials.


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Latest Nuclear Terrorism Posts

UCS to the NRC: Stop Dragging Your Feet on Important Nuclear Security Updates

, senior scientist

Yesterday, UCS sent a letter to Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) chairman Stephen Burns urging the NRC to quickly issue new versions of two outdated security documents that play a critical role in defining how nuclear plants can be adequately protected against terrorist attacks. Read more >

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Reflections on the IAEA Nuclear Security Conference: More Participants, Less Focus

, senior scientist

Last week I had the opportunity to attend the conference on nuclear security in Vienna sponsored by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The conference was enormous, with 2,000 participants from 130 countries. The US official delegation alone had over 100 people. I heard (but have not substantiated) that the ministerial meeting that preceded the technical meeting attracted a larger number of national delegations than any other IAEA conference in its history. By one measure—inclusivity—the conference seems to have been a success.

However, that success came at a price: a reduction of focus on the most serious nuclear threat—the theft of fissile materials (highly-enriched uranium (HEU) and plutonium) that terrorists could use to make improvised nuclear weapons. Read more >

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Let’s Get a Better Deal on Plutonium Disposition

, senior scientist

President-elect Donald Trump has promised to renegotiate international agreements to get “better deals” for the United States. A good place for him to start would be the U.S.-Russia Plutonium Management and Disposition Agreement (PMDA), which obligates each country to dispose of 34 metric tons of excess plutonium from their military stockpiles, so the dangerous material cannot easily be reused for nuclear weapons. Collectively, this plutonium is enough for more than 15,000 nuclear bombs. Read more >

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Another knock against MOX

, Washington representative and senior analyst

The MOX program has been staggering along for years, struggling for survival. Today’s news, that Russia is suspending the joint U.S.-Russian agreement to dispose of excess plutonium, should be the final blow that finishes this risky boondoggle off. It removes the sole remaining justification for the program, which was that only if the United States pursued MOX would Russia dispose of its plutonium. Read more >

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New Army Corps of Engineers Report Reveals that the Problems with MOX Run Deep

, senior scientist

Late Friday afternoon, the Department of Energy released an updated assessment of the status of construction of the MOX Fuel Fabrication Facility (MFFF) at the Savannah River Site (SRS). The report contains more bad news for the troubled facility. Read more >

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