Need to Know – Nuclear Weapons, Proliferation and U.S. National Security

Need to Know – Nuclear Weapons, Proliferation and U.S. National Security

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The American Security Project is committed to ensuring the safety and security of our nuclear weapons, preventing proliferation of nuclear weapons and materials, and reducing the global nuclear stockpile.

Below is a collection of our work on nuclear security issues. These fact sheets, perspective papers, and reports take a fact-based approach to nuclear security issues, from Iran’s nuclear program to the future of the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

The strategic environment of the 21st century is very different from the threats we faced during the Cold War. The risk of a nuclear war between the U.S. and Russia has greatly diminished; other risks – nuclear terrorism, cyberwar, climate change – have grown.

Confronting the threats of the 21st century will require moving past political rhetoric to develop effective solutions. ASP’s nuclear security collection informs the national debate on U.S. nuclear policy by presenting strategic, nonpartisan analysis.

1 Comment

  1. This is one crisis whose apparent dangers has been avoided in the past and can be rationalized again. However, it must be recognized that all nations are entitled to participate in the benefits of employing nuclear reactors for energy generation and space exploration as well as for production of nuclear isotopes for medical treatments, seismic logging, and metallurgical testing. Once that is accepted, nations can agree to provide safeguards against improper use of the technology. While petroleum remains a feedstock for extremely valuable products not related to transportation or energy generation, its conservation as a raw material vital to a nation’s economy should not be denied.

    A new treaty and protocol for benevolent nuclear energy use will have to be developed limiting “proliferation only of plutonium or highly enriched uranium whose sole purpose is making Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD).” A “carrot and stick” approach with the advanced nations providing the technology, the fuel, and the recycling or storage facility under a new inspection and control protocol will stave off rogue elements attempting to misuse the technology. Any misuse must carry penalties.

    Non-proliferation treaties will not prevent all terrorists from obtaining and detonating nuclear devices. The only questions are where and when, how many will die—and how will the West respond? Will it take one million—or five million—or ten million deaths in a single attack to arouse the non-Muslim nations to recognize the epic nature of this struggle for the survival of their freedoms? Bin Laden issued an order for all true Muslims to leave the United States. He promised to attack ten or more major US cities to “cause horrendous death and destruction.” Western intelligence agencies have reported that al-Qaeda has already obtained 20 suitcase atomic bombs of one kiloton and will probably combine these with biological and/or chemical weapons to increase the death toll. (Still, that report seems questionable—or an attack would surely have occurred by now.)

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