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Robert Alvarez

Articles by Robert Alvarez

4 August 2014
Americas

Y-12: Poster child for a dysfunctional nuclear weapons complex

Robert Alvarez

The Y-12 National Security Complex has not produced weapons for some 25 years, but its annual budgets have increased by nearly 50 percent since 1997. The dysfunction must end, sometime.

11 May 2014
Americas

Thorium: the wonder fuel that wasn't

Robert Alvarez

The Energy Department appears to have lost track of 96 kilograms of uranium 233, a fissile material made from thorium that can be fashioned into a bomb, and wants to put nearly a ton of left-over fissile materials in a government landfill, in apparent violation of international standards.

23 March 2014
Americas

The WIPP problem, and what it means for defense nuclear waste disposal

Robert Alvarez

As Energy Department contractors send robots to explore WIPP's caverns, the future of the world’s only operating high-hazard radioactive waste repository is uncertain.

24 February 2014
Americas

A primer: Military nuclear wastes in the United States

Robert Alvarez

The radioactive legacy of the US nuclear weapons program has spawned the most costly, complex, and risky environmental cleanup effort ever undertaken, with a long-term liability estimate ranging up to $1 trillion.

21 December 2012

Who should manage the nuclear weapons complex?

Robert Alvarez

As the lame-duck Congress wraps up business, a serious debate is unfolding over the future of the US nuclear weapons complex. For the first time since the end of World War II, the long-held policy that places control of the design and production of nuclear weapons in civilian hands may be up for grabs. At issue: What is to be done with the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), now located inside the US Department of Energy?

24 March 2010

Advice for the Blue Ribbon Commission

Robert Alvarez

President Barack Obama's Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future will have its first meeting this week. The commission, formed after Obama cancelled the Yucca Mountain spent nuclear fuel repository in January, is tasked with rebooting the country's five-decade-plus effort to manage its high-level radioactive waste.

27 March 2009

Is the Energy Department ready to reboot the country?

Robert Alvarez

The Energy Department figures prominently in the recently enacted $789 billion economic stimulus package meant to help the ailing U.S. economy. Specifically, Congress has provided Energy with $38.3 billion for the next two years adding about 75 percent to Energy's annual budgets. It has also increased the agency's authority to grant or guarantee $132 billion in energy loans from the federal government. Energy's "modest" goals, as laid out in its recent strategic plan for the stimulus package: "Create millions of new green jobs and lay the foundation for the future" of the country.

8 January 2009

A new energy future means a new Energy Department

Robert Alvarez

As a Nobel laureate in physics and a respected advocate for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, Steven Chu, President-elect Barack Obama's choice for energy secretary, appears to be well suited to carrying out Obama's pledge to generate new green energy jobs and reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil.

16 June 2008

U.S.-Russian nuclear agreement raises serious concerns

Robert Alvarez

On May 13, President George W. Bush submitted to Congress an agreement for peaceful nuclear cooperation with the Russian Federation. The "123 agreement"--named after a provision of the 1954 Atomic Energy Act--would establish a 30-year framework for nuclear commerce between the former Cold War enemies, allowing the transfer of nuclear commodities such as reactor components and U.S. government-owned technologies and materials to Russia.

16 June 2008

U.S.-Russian nuclear agreement raises serious concerns

Robert Alvarez

On May 13, President George W. Bush submitted to Congress an agreement for peaceful nuclear cooperation with the Russian Federation. The "123 agreement"--named after a provision of the 1954 Atomic Energy Act--would establish a 30-year framework for nuclear commerce between the former Cold War enemies, allowing the transfer of nuclear commodities such as reactor components and U.S. government-owned technologies and materials to Russia.

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