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 in Science: The NRC Must Act to Reduce the Dangers of Spent Fuel Pool Fires at Nuclear Plants

, senior scientist

In a Policy Forum article published in this week’s Science magazine, I argue, along with my co-authors Frank von Hippel and Michael Schoeppner, that the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) needs to take prompt action to reduce the alarmingly high potential for fires in spent fuel pools at U.S. nuclear plants. Read more >

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The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: NNSA’s FY18 Budget Request

, Washington representative and senior analyst

On Tuesday, May 23, the Trump administration released its Fiscal Year 2018 (FY2018) budget request. In an overall federal budget where many, many programs faced severe budget cuts, the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) is on the receiving end of a proposed 11 percent budget increase (at least by the Trump administration’s accounting – more on that in a following post). Read more >

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US Needs More Options than Yucca Mountain for Nuclear Waste

, senior scientist

On Wednesday, I testified at a hearing of the Environment Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. The hearing focused on the discussion draft of a bill entitled “The Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2017.” Read more >

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to Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) chairman Stephen Burns urging the NRC to quickly issue new versions of two outdated security documents that play a critical role in defining how nuclear plants can be adequately protected against terrorist attacks.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