The United States maintains stockpiles of weapons-usable fissile materials—plutonium and highly enriched uranium (HEU)—that are much larger than needed. This material is a security risk, and is also expensive to store safely. Some of this fissile material has already been declared “excess to military needs” and is awaiting disposition. Even after that excess material is disposed of, however, the United States will still have far more material than it needs for its current or future arsenal. President Obama should declare additional material excess and schedule it for disposition as soon as possible. If done correctly, this would reduce opportunities for nuclear terrorism. It would also be a step toward making nuclear reductions more difficult to reverse.
November 29, 2016 6:00 AM EDT
Disaster by Design/ Safety by Intent #60
Security by Intent
Nuclear Energy Activist Toolkits #32 and #47 described the emergency plan preparations required by federal regulations for every operating nuclear power plant. Other federal regulations require design features backed by testing and inspection protocols intended to minimize the chances of a nuclear plant accident that might result in the emergency plans being needed. That’s Safety by Intent. Read more >
June 10, 2015 9:29 AM EDT
Here’s something I bet you say to yourself pretty often: “Boy, I sure hope I don’t die in an accidental nuclear war today.” Okay, you may never have said that, but if you thought about it, you would.
More importantly, while it is not highly likely that you will die in an accidental or mistaken nuclear war today, the chances of that happening are likely greater than of dying in an intentional nuclear war—probably much greater. And that’s just plain crazy. Read more >
May 22, 2015 4:00 PM EDT
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 >
May 1, 2015 3:12 PM EDT
Last week the Aerospace Corporation sent to Congress its new analysis of the costs of the mixed oxide (MOX) program and other alternatives to dispose of excess plutonium from dismantled nuclear weapons. UCS was the first outside organization to obtain and distribute a copy of the one-page summary of the analysis.
The results it shows are stunning: The cost to complete the MOX program going forward are $47.5 billion, 90% higher than the comparable estimate from just a year ago. Read more >