29 December 2014

Russia, and Libya, and dragons, oh my: 2014 in nuclear weapons

Bulletin Staff

Compiling a year-end list of top Bulletin articles inevitably becomes an international undertaking. In the following set of impressive articles on the topic of nuclear weapons, for example, Bulletin authors opined and analyzed not only from the United States, but from Russia, China, Iran, Ukraine—and even, it seems, Westeros, one of the continents in the hit HBO television series Game of Thrones.

In 2014, the Bulletin's coverage of the nuclear dilemma was as varied in focus as it was international in scope. Here are a few pieces that illuminate important facets of what remains the world's most dangerous technology:

Why Russia calls a limited strike de-escalation

By Nikolai N. Sokov

A frightening justification for using nuclear weapons.

A message from Tripoli: How Libya gave up its WMD

By William Tobey

A five-part series exploring the extraordinary diplomacy and intelligence efforts that led Libya and its quixotic leader, Muammar al-Qaddafi, to relinquish that country's weapons of mass destruction. Part 1. Part 2. Part 3. Part 4. Part 5

Slowing nuclear weapon reductions and endless nuclear weapon modernizations: A challenge to the NPT

By Hans M. Kristensen and Robert S. Norris

The nuclear nations have undertaken ambitious nuclear weapon modernization programs that present a challenge to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty community and appear to contradict promises to pursue a halt to the nuclear arms race and to seek nuclear disarmament.

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

By 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.

Interview: Paul Bracken on American nuclear forces in the 21st century

By Dan Drollette Jr

Physicist, engineer, strategic thinker, Yale business professor, andauthor of The Second Nuclear Age: Strategy, Danger and the New Power Politics Paul Bracken talks about the lamentable state of US nuclear forces and ways to rethink the nuclear triad.

Did Israel steal bomb-grade uranium from the United States?

By Victor Gilinsky and Roger J. Mattson

Newly released documents on the NUMEC affair add significantly to evidence that Israel stole highly enriched uranium from a US nuclear fuel-processing plant in the 1960s. Two former Nuclear Regulatory Commission officials say President Obama should declassify the entire record on the theft.

China worries about Japanese plutonium stocks

By Hui Zhang

Was it just a coincidence that Japan failed to disclose the existence of 640 kilos of unused plutonium? China wonders.

Does it matter if Iran developed nuclear weapons at Parchin?

By Ariane Tabatabai

Is the West over-reacting?

Game of Thrones: The dragons and nuclear weapons nexus

By Timothy Westmyer

The inherent difficulties of managing fictional dragons and real-life nuclear weapons. 

Internet-trading platforms: Making it easier to get around sanctions?

By Ian Stewart, Nick Gilliard, and Jonathan Brewer

A downside to the Internet: nuclear weapons proliferation.