Month: March 2010

Preventing nuclear terrorism

Preventing nuclear terrorism

The television drama 24 is currently portraying one of the most frightening and dangerous terrorist scenarios possible–an anti-American terrorist group with radioactive fissile materials intent on detonating a “dirty bomb” in New York City to render it uninhabitable for decades to come. Jack Bauer, the show’s intrepid hero, is trying to track down the terrorists and capture the fissile materials before the terrorists have a chance to blow them up. Although television dramas often engage in hyperbole, the basic theme of this terrorist scenario is very real.

START follow-on: The Senate calculus

START follow-on: The Senate calculus

At long last, the United States and Russia are on the verge of signing a new treaty that reduces the countries’ nuclear arsenals. The treaty, a follow-on to the landmark 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), has been 95 percent complete for months, at least according to many U.S. and Russian officials, but disagreements over missile defense and verification procedures delayed the process. The result of these difficult negotiations will now face what could be equally tortuous consideration by the U.S. Senate.

Assessing START follow-on

Assessing START follow-on

After missing more than a few deadlines and achieving several so-called significant breakthroughs, the United States and Russia finally have reached an agreement on a new arms control treaty. It will be signed in Prague on April 8, almost a year to the day U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev agreed to begin treaty negotiations and Obama announced, also in Prague, his commitment to a nuclear-weapon-free world.

Advice for the Blue Ribbon Commission

Advice for the Blue Ribbon Commission

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.