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New U.S. Nuclear Warheads? Politically and Technically, a Bad Idea

The New York Times recently ran an excellent story on the administration’s ambitious plan for the future of the U.S. nuclear arsenal, which includes building new generations of nuclear-armed bombers, missiles, and submarines. But I want to discuss an important issue that the article didn’t mention: The United States also intends to develop and produce new types of nuclear warheads rather than simply refurbishing existing warheads as they age. There are both technical and political reasons why this is a bad idea. Read More

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Hiroshima, Hair-Trigger, and Existential Risks

Incredibly, “existential risks”—those that could end humanity—threaten us every day.

That’s the conclusion of a recent Washington Post article. What risk tops the list? Read More

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Los Alamos Firing Demonstrates Exactly What’s Wrong with Scientific Integrity at the Department of Energy

Yesterday, my colleague Lisbeth Gronlund wrote about the unjust firing of James Doyle, a 17-year employee of Los Alamos National Laboratory. The PhD political scientist was fired over an academic article he wrote on his personal time—not as an official representative of the national lab—that argued for eliminating nuclear weapons. Read More

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Los Alamos, Freedom of Speech, and Nuclear Disaster

As every high school student learns, the first amendment to the U.S. constitution guarantees the right to freedom of speech. That’s why government employees have the right to express their opinions as long as they make clear that their opinions do not represent those of their employer.

Apparently some folks at Los Alamos National Laboratory—one of the two labs that design and help maintain U.S. nuclear weapons—missed that day in class. Read More

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John Oliver Tells It Like It Is: U.S. Nuclear Weapons Craziness

On Sunday, John Oliver took a look at U.S. nuclear weapons on his HBO show Last Week Tonight. Irreverent as usual, Oliver pointed out the absurdities and dangers of the bloated U.S. arsenal of 4,800 weapons. Read More

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Accidents Happen—They Shouldn’t Lead to Nuclear Disaster

Sunday evening the news show 60 Minutes aired an exposé on some of the problems that have surfaced recently about U.S. nuclear weapons. It’s a jaw-dropping story that few people know much about. Read More

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Garwin the Movie, Reviewed

I was in Washington, D.C., last week to attend the screening of a new documentary, “Garwin.” It features Richard “Dick” Garwin, an eminent physicist on UCS’s board of directors who has worked on an incredible array of technology and public policy issues for more than six decades now. Dick and his wife of 67 years, Lois, were in attendance. Read More

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The U.S. MOX Program: Going, Going, Gone?

The Obama Administration’s budget request for Fiscal Year 2015—released last week—held some good news. The Department of Energy plans to put the MOX Fuel Fabrication Facility under construction in South Carolina on “cold standby” while it determines an alternative way to dispose of surplus plutonium from nuclear weapons programs. Read More

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President Obama’s State of the Union: the Good, the Not-So-Good, and the Missing

President Obama covered a wide range of issues in last night’s State of the Union speech, with much of it focused on the need for more aggressive action on issues like economic inequality, unemployment, education and training. But he also addressed several of the issues that UCS works on directly, especially climate change and energy. Read More

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Ambassador Jonathan Dean: 1924-2014

The arms control community lost one of its true heroes recently with the passing of Ambassador Jonathan Dean. My colleagues and I at UCS remember him especially fondly. Read More

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