FAS Roundup: September 9, 2013

 Syria, global nuclear weapon inventories and much more.


FAS President Dr. Charles Ferguson is interviewed in Scientific American on topics such as nuclear disarmament, nuclear power and nuclear energy technologies, and biological and chemical weapons. Ferguson also discusses the new direction for FAS and the renewed focus on nuclear dangers.

Read the interview here. 


In the new Nuclear Notebook, Mr. Hans Kristensen, Director of the Nuclear Information Project, and Dr. Robert Norris, Senior Fellow for Nuclear Policy,  provide an overview of global nuclear weapons inventories from 1945-2013. It is estimated that 125,000 nuclear warheads have been built since 1945, with the United States and Russia building 97% of them. Kristensen and Norris estimate that the nine nuclear nations possess more than 10,000 nuclear warheads.

The authors provide an overview of weapon inventories for the United States, Russia, Britain, China, France, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea. Although the total number of nuclear warheads in the world is decreasing because of U.S. and Russian reductions, all nations with nuclear weapons continue to modernize or upgrade their nuclear arsenals.

Read the Nuclear Notebook here. 

From the Blogs

Conflict in Syria, Trends in Intelligence Spending and More from CRS: Secrecy News has obtained recently released CRS reports on possible U.S. intervention in Syria, an overview of the humanitarian response in Syria and trends in intelligence spending. 

Yucca Mountain Hydrogeology: In a new post on the ScienceWonk Blog in a series on Yucca Mountain, Dr. Y reviews the fundamentals of hydrogeology and the hydrological conditions that  would be necessary for a high-level waste repository, including keeping the waste as far from water as possible and whether or not surface water can reach the waste.

New Project to Create Virtual Nuclear Issues Education Center:FAS and the Stevens Institute of Technology have partnered on a new project to create a virtual nuclear issues education center to increase awareness and education of nuclear issues facing the world today. An invitational workshop, to be held in mid-November at Stevens, will bring together university faculty, private foundation officers, think tank professionals and other subject area experts to explore ways to expand university-level nuclear issues education for professionals in the fields of international relations, public policy, security, journalism and energy.

Security Clearance Denials and Constitutional Rights: There is no legally enforceable “right” to be granted a security clearance for access to classified information.  A 1988 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Department of the Navy v. Egan has often been interpreted to preclude judicial review of the merits of an agency decision to deny or revoke a security clearance. But can a court review the denial of a security clearance if it involves an unconstitutional act of discrimination or a restriction of constitutionally guaranteed rights? Steven Aftergood writes that there is a new petition for certiorari which asks the U.S. Supreme Court to clarify this issue, which has been a recurring source of confusion.

The Syrian Civil War and WMDs

On September 5, Mr. Charles Blair, Senior Fellow on State and Non-State Threats, spoke to staffers at the Government Accountability Office in Washington, DC regarding the current conflict in Syria and use of weapons of mass destruction.

Slides from the presentation, which includes information on chemical weapons, usage in Syria and possible U.S. intervention can be found here (PDF).

Call for Applications: NPEC Public Policy Fellowship for Government Staffers- Deadline Extended

The Nonproliferation Policy Education Center (NPEC) Public Policy Fellowship is designed to educate policymaking staffers in the U.S. government on the essentials of issues related to nuclear weapons proliferation and nuclear energy. Participants will include policy staffers committed to protecting U.S. and international security against the threats posed by the further spread of nuclear weapons.

The lecture-based seminars are taught by Henry Sokolski, executive director of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center; and Charles Ferguson, president of the Federation of American Scientists. The deadline to apply has been extended to September 13, 2013.

For more information on the fellowship and application information, click here. 

FAS in the News

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