Nuclear Weapons

The Cold War is over, but the United States and Russia still keep thousands of nuclear weapons on alert and in reserve. Understand the issues with our technical and political analysis.


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Latest Nuclear Weapons Posts

Bad science: Russian objections to US plutonium proposal not a reason to keep MOX

, Washington representative and senior analyst

President Putin recently made some alarming statements about U.S. plans to cancel the current American approach to disposing of excess plutonium. His comments are important because the United States and Russia have an agreement to each dispose of 34 tons of excess plutonium generated by the two countries’ nuclear weapons programs. The Russian president suggested that the approach proposed by the Obama administration, to dilute the plutonium and dispose of it in a geological repository, was unsatisfactory and could damage U.S.-Russian relations. Read more >

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New NNSA Stockpile Plan Same as the Old Plan: Problematic

, Washington representative and senior analyst

Last week the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) released its Fiscal Year 2017 Stockpile Stewardship and Management Plan, the agency’s annual update on its 25-year plan for the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile. It is the most comprehensive, long-term plan related to nuclear weapons available from any government.

The key takeaway from this year’s stockpile plan is that very little has changed since last year. The overall vision has not changed, the schedule has not shifted, and the budget estimates, while modestly smaller for some projects, are still harrowingly large.

And that is a bad thing, because the NNSA’s plan has significant problems.

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Thanks to the NNSA

, Washington representative and senior analyst

This Monday, the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) released its 25-year plan for the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile. This document, the Fiscal Year 2017 Stockpile Stewardship and Management Plan, is the most comprehensive, long-term planning document related to nuclear weapons available from anywhere in the U.S. government. Or from any government, for that matter.

Read more >

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Integrating Nuclear Science and Policy for a New Generation

Meghan B. McGarry, , UCS

Last November, the biennial Pugwash Conference on Science and World Affairs met in Nagasaki, Japan in commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II. Pugwash was established in 1957 by a cadre of scientists who recognized their duty to address the moral implications of their technical work. Like UCS, the organization focuses on the intersection of science and policy, with the ultimate goal of abolishing nuclear weapons worldwide. The Pugwash meetings bring together senior governmental policy makers and nuclear experts from a variety of disciplines, spanning physics and engineering, international relations, and ethics, to provide guidance and a technically sound voice in international governance. Read more >

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Quick Take on the FY 2017 NNSA Budget Request

, Washington representative and senior analyst

Weapons Program Budgets Up, Nonproliferation Budget Down

On February 9, the Obama administration unveiled the Fiscal Year 2017 budget request, its final annual submission to Congress of this kind. In recent years, the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), the agency responsible for maintaining the country’s nuclear weapons and for helping to halt the spread of nuclear weapons, has seen its top-line budget increase even as government spending as a whole remains tightly constrained.

The FY 2017 request continues that trend, with a total request of $12.9 billion for the NNSA, compared to the $12.5 billion provided in FY 2016. Read more >

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