The Doomsday Clock is an internationally recognized design that conveys how close we are to destroying our civilization with dangerous technologies of our own making. First and foremost among these are nuclear weapons, but the dangers include climate-changing technologies, emerging... Read More
Nuclear disarmament has taken center stage in most reports on the resumption of talks between North Korean and US diplomats in Geneva, but the nuclear issue may not be resolved unless other conflicts are addressed. Each side has its own goals in the negotiations: Washington wants arms control and security. Pyongyang has a wider agenda that includes not only economic assistance but also military and political security. A grand bargain could enhance each side's objectives and help Northeast Asia become a zone of peace rather than a crucible for conflict.
As the situation at Fukushima is becoming less unpredictable, though not yet completely stabilized, and there is more information available, I will stop my daily writings on the nuclear power plant. Thank you very much for your encouragement and warm support.
Sitting at King's Cross railway station in London, I suddenly became aware that people were looking at me. As a child, I have been told, I always laughed out loud when reading something I enjoyed; I have obviously not lost the habit.
The recognition of the need for nuclear disarmament and the question of how to achieve it are as old as the nuclear age. In June 1945, before the first nuclear weapon had been built, in what became known as the Franck Report, a group of scientists working on the U.S. atomic bomb program warned that:
Of all the international nuclear-related challenges facing Israel, the most urgent and important is the possibility of a nuclear Iran.1 Israel's intense response to Iran tells us much about Israel's own existential predicament. The consensus in Israel is that the advent of a nuclear Iran, albeit depending on what this would mean exactly, would pose an unprecedented threat to Israel. For the first time, Israel would confront a hostile state in the region that possesses nuclear weapons.
During the rainy, windy early morning of August 29, 1949, the Soviet Union conducted its first nuclear explosion--code-named "First Lightning"--at the Semipalatinsk Test Site in eastern Kazakhstan. Witnesses remember feeling the ground tremble and seeing the sky turn red--and how that red sky was quickly dominated by a peculiar mushroom-shaped cloud. The Soviet military and scientific personnel conducting the test knew that the rain and wind would make the local population more susceptible to radioactive fallout.
On January 15, the Wall Street Journal published an op-ed by former secretaries of state George Shultz and Henry Kissinger, former Defense Secretary William Perry, and former Georgia Democratic Sen. Sam Nunn, which 37 other national security experts also endorsed. Entitled "Toward A Nuclear-Free World," it was the second such essay in the Journal by these authors in as many years.
The release of the declassified summary of the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) "Iran: Nuclear Intentions and Capabilities" on December 3, 2007 was an event of major political and strategic significance. Its conclusion with "high confidence" that Iran halted its military nuclear activities in fall 2003 removed, for the foreseeable future at least, any grounds for military action to prevent Tehran's further progress in the nuclear field. This outcome has been welcomed in many quarters in the United States and elsewhere, but it has also generated intense debate and some controversy.
The United States operates 104 nuclear power reactors, which provide nearly 20 percent of the nation's electricity. More than half have had their original 40-year operating licenses renewed for an additional 20 years. Encouraged by billions of dollars in subsidies and incentives in the 2005 Energy Bill, a handful of companies applied for licenses to build new reactors last fall, and other companies are expected to apply later this year.
During an April 2007 speech at a Princeton University colloquium titled, "From Passion to Politics: What Moves People to Take Action," New York State Gov. Eliot Spitzer admitted that the world changes more by technology than by politics. He added that emotions can obscure facts and that political discourse requires an agreed-upon set of facts before policy can be rationally discussed. Unfortunately, politicizing scientific facts has never been more prevalent.
Ten years ago, congressional Republicans did away with their world-renowned scientific advisory body, the Office of Technology Assessment.
Now even some conservatives admit the time has come to bring it back.