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
The difference between past nonproliferation failures and the current Iran agreement is made clear by the record of nuclear diplomacy involving four countries that did not sign the NPT or withdrew from it: Israel, India, Pakistan, and North Korea.
A typhoon was coming, the fuel pump failed, they had to switch planes, things were wired incorrectly, they missed their rendezvous, they couldn’t see the primary target, they ran out of gas on the way home, and they had to crash-land. But the worst part was when the Fat Man atomic bomb started to arm itself mid-flight.
If the Obama administration does not put in place an affordable nuclear weapons strategy for the coming decades, nuclear strategy will be set by bureaucratic struggles and congressional politics. This is not strategy; it is an accident waiting to happen.
Robert SocolowThomas RosenbaumLynn EdenRod EwingAlexander GlaserSivan KarthaEdward "Rocky" Kolb Leon LedermanRamamurti RajaramanM. V. RamanaRobert RosnerJennifer SimsRichard C. J. SomervilleElizabeth J. Wilson
Editor's note: Founded in 1945 by University of Chicago scientists who had helped develop the first atomic weapons in the Manhattan Project, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists subsequently created the Doomsday Clock in 1947 using the imagery of apocalypse (midnight) and the contemporary idiom of nuclear explosion (countdown to zero), to convey threats to humanity and the planet.
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?
America's senior citizens once dreamed of moving to a beach house in Florida or touring the nation's parks in a motor home when they turned 65. But the global financial crisis has taken a heavy toll on retirement plans. During the past four years, many seniors have watched helplessly as their homes plummeted in value and their 401(k) savings plans became 201(k)s.
Every evening, my father climbs the levee along the Missouri River in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and peers down into the black water that swallows the road. The water is rising, and the Army Corps of Engineers says the levee has never faced such a test. Dad, a retired professor, is packing his books and papers. If the levee doesn't hold, his one-story house could be underwater for months.
On March 11, 2011, I was in a lunch meeting in Washington, DC, when I learned that an earthquake and tsunami had struck the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Initially I was optimistic that the plant's operators would be able to handle the situation. But as the accident grew to a level 7 in seriousness over the following weeks, my thoughts turned to the only other comparable accident in history -- and its lasting effects on my life.
Although the Obama administration has highlighted the need to secure fissile
material worldwide, domestic efforts to secure highly enriched uranium (HEU)
have been sluggish and uninspired. In the post-9/11 era, the United States has
The contribution of nuclear power continues to decline in Europe. As of September, 15 of the 27 countries in the enlarged EU operated 146 reactors (about one-third of the world total), down from 177 reactors in 1989. The vast majority of these facilities (125 units) are located in eight of the western EU countries--see chart. In 2007, nuclear power produced 28 percent of the EU's commercial electricity--down from 32 percent in 2002--and 12 percent of the region's commercial primary energy.
Last Thursday, in the midst of the world media's constant nuclear revival reportage, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had an embarrassing announcement to make. While it has increased its projections for nuclear generation in 2030, nuclear's share of global electricity generation dropped another percentage point in 2007.
While the Bush administration has focused much attention on forging an international coalition to support the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP), there are also considerable domestic stakeholders involved. In particular, to promote and build support for the program, the Energy Department has cultivated relationships with the national laboratories, universities, industry, and local businesses and governments throughout the country.