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

Independent Report Confirms that Downblending and Geologic Disposal is Best Option for Plutonium

, senior scientist

Today, UCS is releasing the Phase 2 report of the “Plutonium Disposition Options Independent Assessment” carried out by the Aerospace Corporation. This report, dated August 20, 2015, but only now becoming public, is the second part of a congressionally mandated independent review of the Plutonium Working Group (PWG) report that was released by the Department of Energy in 2014. The PWG was charged with reviewing the options for disposing of tens of tons of plutonium left over from the U.S. nuclear weapons program.

The Phase 1 Aerospace report, which was delivered to Congress in April of this year, analyzed two of the plutonium disposition options that had been studied by the PWG: the MOX fuel option, which is the current baseline, and the “downblend and disposal” option. Read more >

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No Rush to Build a U.S. Military Enrichment Plant

, senior scientist

A new Energy Department report finds new capacity to enrich uranium for military purposes won’t be needed for decades. Read more >

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Ominous Votes by the NRC

, senior scientist

In two separate decisions earlier this month, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) voted to change its procedures in ways that will weaken protection of nuclear power plants against terrorist attacks and will defer for many years important upgrades to the security of nuclear waste in dry storage casks. And more changes in this direction are likely to come. Read more >

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The Days of MOX Are Numbered

, senior scientist

On Wednesday, the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee hosted the latest installment in the ongoing debate over the fate of the troubled Mixed Oxide Fuel (MOX) Fabrication project at the Savannah River Site (SRS) in South Carolina. It was apparent that the remaining handful of home-state MOX defenders in Congress are losing steam in the face of one withering report after another documenting the mismanagement and waste plaguing the program. Read more >

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The NRC’s MOX Decision: Out of Step on Cybersecurity

, senior scientist

On April 1, President Obama declared that the increasing threat of cyberterrorism was a “national emergency.” White House cybersecurity coordinator Michael Daniel said “We very much need the full range of tools across the spectrum in order to actually confront the cyber threats that we face.”

Given this warning, one might think that the U.S. government would not hesitate to utilize every tool at its disposal to protect the nation’s stockpile of weapon-usable plutonium from cyberattack-assisted thefts.  Yet on April 23, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) turned a deaf ear to the alarm sounded by the White House. Read more >

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