Nuclear Weapons

What’s the role of nuclear weapons in today’s changing security landscape—and how can we reduce their risks?

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Latest Nuclear Weapons Posts

Hair-Trigger Alert Doesn’t Make Sense. Here’s Why

, physicist & co-director, Global Security

In talking with a young colleague recently, I realized he had no idea the U.S. and Russia keep thousands of nuclear weapons on alert, poised to launch 24 hours a day, every day. Luckily we have a video just for him… Read more >

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The Obama Administration Decides to Terminate MOX Project—Finally!

, physicist & co-director, Global Security

The United States has around 50 metric tons of plutonium from nuclear weapons programs it wants to dispose of. Until last week, it was pursuing a plan to do so by using most of this excess plutonium to produce mixed-oxide (MOX) fuel for power reactors. Enough plutonium for thousands of nuclear weapons would be used to generate electricity. Sounds like a win-win situation, right?

Wrong. Read more >

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The Case for Ending Hair-Trigger Alert: New UCS Report

, physicist & co-director, Global Security

Twenty-five years after the end of the Cold War, the United States and Russia continue to keep nearly 2,000 nuclear weapons constantly on high alert, ready to be launched in minutes. This is commonly called “hair-trigger alert.”

I’ve written several blog posts highlighting false alarms in the past decades that brought us uncomfortably close to a nuclear launch. These were due to technical glitches and human errors, but it was hair-trigger alert that set up the conditions for those glitches and errors to lead to disaster. Read more >

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President Obama during the 2014 State of the Union address. Photo: The White House

President Obama’s Final State of the Union: What to Expect, and What to Hope For

, director of strategy & policy

In his final State of the Union speech tomorrow night, President Obama will certainly have a lot to say about the economy, terrorism, gun control, and health care. But he is also likely to address climate change, energy, and other issues that UCS works on more directly. Here’s a look on what he’s likely to say on these issues, as well as some things he should say about them, but may not.

Read more >

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Santa, Mistakes, and Nuclear War

, physicist & co-director, Global Security

On December 1, the U.S. military started its annual tracking of Santa’s flight from the North Pole.

Really. Read more >

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