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. Read More

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Latest Posts

Nuclear Safety Imperfection

Nuclear Energy Activist Toolkit #53

NEAT #52 acknowledged the stellar results achieved by Catawba Unit 2, LaSalle Unit 1, and South Texas Project Unit 1 by remaining in Column 1 of the NRC’s Action Matrix for every one of the ROP’s first 56 quarters. Read More

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Perils of New Nuclear Fuel: Part 1 – Browns Ferry’s Midnight Ride

Fission Stories #186

Much has been written about the perils of nuclear fuel when it resides in the core of a nuclear power reactor and later when it is spent fuel stored here, there and everywhere. But new nuclear fuel has proven problematic at times, too. Read More

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The 45th Anniversary of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty: A Look Back and a Look Ahead

This year is the 45th anniversary of the entry into force of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), on March 5, 1970. It also marks the approach of the treaty’s latest Review Conference (RevCon)—a once-every-five-years meeting that will take place at the United Nations in New York from April 27 to May 22. Read More

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A Tough Week for Missile Defense Advocates

It’s not the easiest of times for national missile defense advocates. The normally friendly House Armed Services Committee hearings on missile defense hosted some tough talk centered around a recently released, critical memo from two of the Joint Chiefs. And this weekend the LA Times release a pair of damning articles drawing connections between Senators and Congress members who sheltered expensive but poorly conceived and eventually cancelled national missile defense programs and their districts’ financial benefits from these programs. Read More

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Nuclear Safety Perfection

Nuclear Energy Activist Toolkit #52


It’s the sum of six consecutive prime numbers (3, 5, 7, 11, 13, and 17). Read More

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Three Reasons the UCS Satellite Database is Different from Other Satellite Catalogs

The purpose of the UCS Satellite Database is to provide information about the on-orbit capabilities of different actors and to provide a research tool for specialists and non-specialists alike, using open-source information about operational satellites.

We try very hard to keep the list accurate and useful, so we appreciate communication from the space community and our users suggesting improvements and pointing out errors. Read More

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Why is China Modernizing Its Nuclear Arsenal?

As we approach the 2015 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) the 178 nations that have honored their obligation not to develop nuclear weapons are wondering when the five nuclear weapons states who are party to the treaty will honor theirs.  Read More

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Nuclear Plant Aging

Fission Stories #185

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) originally licensed nuclear power reactors to operate for up to 40 years. Beginning in 2000, the NRC relicensed nuclear power reactors to operate for up to an additional 20 years. And there has been interest within the nuclear industry about for relicensing for yet another 20 years. 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. Read More

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Watts Bar Community Action Panel

Last year, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) created a Community Action Panel (CAP) as its Watts Bar Unit 2 reactor neared the end of construction and prepared to request that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) issue an operating license. Read More

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CSI Nuclear

Nuclear Energy Activist Toolkit #51

Cops responding to a reported disturbance sometimes find an individual holding a smoking gun standing over a dead body oozing blood from bullet holes. Such crime cases are easy to solve even without a confession from the person holding the gun or a declaration from the corpse on the floor. Read More

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China’s Nuclear Forces Feeling U.S. Pressure

A new UCS white paper on Chinese nuclear strategy indicates China’s military may increase alert levels in response to U.S. investments in missile defense and conventional prompt global strike technologies.  Chinese military strategists believe the combination of these two technologies could permit a disabling U.S. Read More

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When Open Door Policies at Nuclear Plants Go Awry

Fission Stories #184

Nuclear industry and NRC representatives often talk and write about their Open Door policies. For example, Doug Coe and June Cai, leaders of a task force formed to examine the NRC’s internal safety culture, briefed their Chairman and Commissioners on the agency’s Open Door policy for concerns raised by NRC staffers. Read More

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New Quarterly Update to the UCS Satellite Database

A new version of the UCS Satellite Database, which includes launches through January 31, 2015, has been posted at and includes 1265 active satellites.

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Four Years after Fukushima: The NRC at a Tipping Point

Today, on the fourth anniversary of the Fukushima accident, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is on the verge of a major decision that could determine whether or not the types of regulatory errors that set the stage for the accident in Japan will be effectively fixed in the United States. Read More

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UCS Pen Pals

Nuclear Energy Activist Toolkit #50

NEAT #29 explained how you can sign up to receive email notifications from the NRC when it issues things like press releases and reports on specific nuclear reactors. What I wasn’t keeping secret but had failed to mention was that you can also sign up to receive notifications when UCS posts new commentaries to our All Things Nuclear blog. 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. Read More

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Fission Stories #183

The NRC’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) recently issued a report on its audit of the agency’s communications security program. The NRC’s headquarters, regional and resident inspector offices have special equipment that is used to exchange classified information during routine and emergency conditions. Read More

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