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Issue Briefs

FAS issue briefs provide the public and policymakers with a concise overview of a specific, current security threat. Past issue briefs have examined topics such as Iran’s enrichment of uranium, sanctions in North Korea and regulation of Japan’s nuclear power program post- Fukushima.

Recent Activity

Advancing U.S. Leadership in Nonproliferation and Nuclear Energy through Effective Partnerships

In this issue brief, FAS President Dr. Charles Ferguson takes a look at options for the United States to gain back leadership via a cooperative approach. The brief analyzes what nations could be effective partners for the United States in furthering nonproliferation while providing for the continued use of peaceful nuclear energy.

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Examining Global Biosecurity Engagement Programs

Global biosecurity engagement programs are designed to prevent the harmful use of biological agents and pathogens. It is difficult to measure the effectiveness of these programs in improving biosecurity given that there have been relatively few attempts to misuse the life sciences. To understand how biosecurity engagement is conducted and evaluated, Michelle Rozo, Ph.D. candidate at Johns Hopkins University, interviewed more than 35 individuals in the United States and abroad (including government officials and their non-governmental partners) regarding current and future programs that can be used to create a cohesive, global health system approach to biosecurity.

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Regulating Japanese Nuclear Power in the Wake of the Fukushima Daiichi Accident

The 2011 accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was preventable. The Great East Japan earthquake and the tsunami that followed it were unprecedented events in recent history, but they were not altogether unforeseeable.

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Japan’s Role as Leader for Nuclear Nonproliferation

A country with few natural resources, first Japan began to develop nuclear power technologies in 1954. Nuclear energy assisted with Japanese economic development and reconstruction post World War II. However, with the fear of lethal ash and radioactive fallout and the lingering effects from the 2011 accident at Fukushima-Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, there are many concerns related to Japanese nonproliferation, security and nuclear policy.

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Sanctions and Nonproliferation in North Korea and Iran

The international responses to Iranian and North Korean proliferation bear many similarities, particularly in the use of economic sanctions as a central tool of policy. This issue brief contains an comparative analysis of U.S. policy toward Iran and North Korea.

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A Nuclear- Free Mirage

The issue brief takes a deeper look at the nuclear policies of the Obama administration—polices that Dr. Norris terms “radical” with regard to their vision of a nuclear weapon free world.

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The B61 Life-Extension Program: Increasing NATO Nuclear Capability and Precision Low-Yield Strikes

A modified U.S. nuclear bomb currently under design will have improved military capabilities compared with older weapons and increase the targeting capability of NATO’s nuclear arsenal. The B61-12, the product of a planned 30-year life extension and consolidation of four existing versions of the B61 into one, will be equipped with a new guidance system to increase its accuracy.

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Using Enrichment Capacity to Estimate Iran’s Breakout Potential

While diplomats and officials claim Iran has slowed down its nuclear drive, new analysis shows that Iran’s enrichment capacity grew during 2010.

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Will Iran Give Up Twenty Percent Enrichment

Since February 2010, Iran has been enriching uranium to concentrations of 20 percent U-235. A stockpile of 130 kg of 20 percent enriched uranium would reduce, by more than half, Iran’s time to develop a bomb. A key unknown is whether Tehran will stop the higher enrichment and, if so, under what circumstances.

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Recommendations for the U.S. Delegation to the NPT Review Conference

The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) has endured as the cornerstone of the non-proliferation regime and remains the only legally binding multilateral agreement on nuclear disarmament.

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The Twenty Percent Solution: Breaking the Iranian Stalemate

President Obama’s deadline to address concerns about Tehran’s nuclear program passed at the end of 2009, so the White House is moving to harsher sanctions. But the U.S. is having trouble rallying the needed international support because Iranian intentions remain ambiguous.

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Eight Recommendations for Improving Transparency in US Arms Transfers

Transparency is essential for effective congressional and public oversight of arms exports. Without complete and accurate data on the quantity, type and recipients of exported defense articles and services, it is impossible to assess the extent to which arms transfers further national security and foreign policy.

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Calculating the Capacity at Fordow

While the construction and the announcement of Iran’s Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant, does not prove an intention to deceive the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it raises troubling questions.

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