30 Years After the Accident: The Meaning of Chernobyl Today?


April 26, 2016
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Leading experts came together to discuss Chernobyl on the eve of its 30th anniversary, the lessons learned, and possible implications that this fateful event has for the nuclear industry today. This special event was convened by the Federation of American Scientists.

                   PANEL DISCUSSANTS                    

Charles D. Ferguson (Moderator)

President, Federation of American Scientists
Edward Friedman
Professor Emeritus, Stevens Institute of Technology
“Chernobyl’s Dysfunctional Decisions”

Maureen Hatch
Staff Scientist and Former Head of Chernobyl Research Unit, National Cancer Institute
“Chernobyl: Then and Now”
Carol Kessler
Former Senior Coordinator for Nuclear Safety, U.S. State Department
“Nuclear Energy After Chernobyl” 

Jon Johnson
Senior Vice President, Lightbridge
Former Senior Executive, Nuclear Regulatory Commission
“Nuclear Regulatory Lessons Learned from Chernobyl”

The full recording of the event is available here.

Finishing the Race: Eliminating and Minimizing Fissile Materials and High-Risk Radioactive Sources


On March 30, at the 2016 NGO conference, “Solutions for a Secure Nuclear Future” (www.ssnf2016.org) preceding the official Nuclear Security Summit, FAS President Charles D. Ferguson presented on the topic of reducing the risk of high-activity radioactive sources used in acts of terrorism. His thesis focuses on permanent risk reduction through development and deployment of commercially-viable alternative technologies that do not use radioactive sources. A copy of the complete presentation is available here.

“Solutions for a Secure Nuclear Future” took place immediately before 53 world leaders convened in Washington for the governmental 2016 Nuclear Security Summit (NSS), the fourth in a series of heads-of-state summits designed to minimize the threat of nuclear terrorism through responsible national actions and sustained international cooperation. As it is the final summit of the series, its outcomes are critical to the future of the global nuclear security system.

Briefing and Report Release: Naval Nuclear Reactors and Use of Highly Enriched Uranium

Friday, March 20, 2015
11:45 a.m.-1:45 p.m.
Russell Senate Office Building, Room 385
Washington, DC

The United States and other countries with nuclear navies have benefited from having nuclear-powered warships. But do the continued benefits depend on indefinite use of highly enriched uranium (HEU)—which can be made into nuclear weapons—as naval nuclear fuel? Can low enriched uranium, which cannot power nuclear weapons, provide alternative fuels that meet the performance requirements of the United States Navy? What are the federal defense budgetary considerations? Is it possible to monitor and safeguard nuclear material for naval propulsion?

A panel of experts who will discuss their research on these and related issues. At this event, we will release the report of an independent task force convened by FAS, Naval Nuclear Propulsion: Assessing Benefits and Risks.


11:45 a.m.- Luncheon and Registration (Kindly request that you be seated by 12:05 p.m.)

12:05 p.m.- Opening Remarks: Major Findings and Recommendations of the Task Force
Presenter: Dr. Charles D. Ferguson, President, Federation of American Scientists, and Chair of the Task Force

12:15 p.m.- Phasing Out Highly Enriched Uranium Fuel in Naval Propulsion: Why It is Necessary, and How to Achieve It
Presenter: Dr. Alan Kuperman, Associate Professor, LBJ School of Public Affairs, University of Texas at Austin

12:25 p.m.- Investigation into the Unintended Consequences of Converting the U.S. Nuclear Naval Fleet from Highly Enriched Uranium to Low Enriched Uranium
Presenter: Dr. Alireza Haghighat, Professor Virginia Tech Transport Theory Group (VT3G), Nuclear Science and Engineering Laboratory (NSEL), Nuclear Engineering Program

12:35 p.m.- Safeguarding Nuclear Material in the Naval Sector: An Examination of Governance Frameworks
Presenter: Ms. Naomi Egel, Nuclear Policy Working Group University of California, Berkeley

12:45 p.m.- The UK Naval Nuclear Propulsion Programme and Highly Enriched Uranium
Presenter: Dr. Nick Ritchie, University of York, UK

12:55 p.m.- Question and Answer Session

1:45 p.m.- Adjourn

RSVP: Space is limited. Please RSVP to [email protected] or 202-454-4694 by Wednesday, March 18, 2015. 

FAS at the Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons

The Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons was held on December 8-9 in Vienna; this was the third in a series of conferences organized by a growing number of countries and humanitarian organizations to discuss the risks nuclear weapons pose to humanity.

Hans Kristensen, Director of the Nuclear Information Project, participated in the conference and gave two presentations. The first was to the ICAN Civil Society Forum on the overall status of worldwide nuclear forces; presentation slides are available here. Kristensen and Matthew McKinzie from the Natural Resources Defense Council, presented on nuclear deterrence, nuclear war planning and scenarios of nuclear conflict; briefing slides are available here. 

The Fermi Awards: A Celebration of Outstanding Science and Scientists

On February 3, two outstanding scientists, Dr. Allen Bard and Dr. Andrew Sessler, received the Enrico Fermi Award. Dr. Sessler has been a longstanding member of the Federation of American Scientists and served as the Chairman of FAS during part of the 1980s. In introductory remarks, Dr. Ernest Moniz, the Secretary of Energy, commented that earlier that day Dr. Bard and Dr. Sessler were at the White House, where President Obama said that it was great to be around rational people. According to Dr. Moniz, Dr. Sessler then urged President Obama to listen even more to scientists. In describing Dr. Sessler’s work on arms control and human rights, Dr. Moniz said that Dr. Sessler may have sacrificed a paper or two but it was worth it to serve society. Dr. Moniz called attention to Dr. Bard’s dedication to mentoring and collaborating with many scientists. According to the awards booklet, Dr. Bard has mentored or collaborated with “83 Ph.D. students, 18 M.S. students, 190 postdoctoral associates, and numerous visiting scientists.” These collaborations have resulted in more than 850 peer-reviewed research papers.

Continue reading

Event: The Chemicals, Conflict and Challenges in Syria

syrian_flag-indepth_bannerWith pressure from the U.S. and Russia, Syria acceded to the Chemical Weapons Convention in September 2013 and agreed to participate in an accelerated process to destroy the chemical weapons. While this has been received as an unexpected yet positive development, the implementation of such a process raises significant science and security issues.

The Federation of American Scientists and the Center for Science, Technology and Security Policy at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) are hosting an event on Wednesday,October 23 at 5 p.m. in Washington, DC on the science and security involved in the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention and the U.N. Security Council Resolution 2118 in Syria.

Speakers will explore the technical, political, and regional issues surrounding chemical weapons in Syria including: technical solutions and expertise required to ensure accelerated destruction of chemical weapons; the broader regional impact of Syria’s accession to the Chemical Weapons Convention; and the challenges involved in carrying out destruction in a civil war environment.


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

5:00 p.m: Program and discussion

6:30 p.m: Light refreshments


American Association for the Advancement of Science

2nd Floor

1200 New York Avenue NW (Enter at corner of 12th and H Street)

Washington, DC 20005


Dr. Paul Walker, Green Cross International

Mr. Michael Moodie, International CBW Commentator

Dr. Chen Kane, Center for Nonproliferation Studies


Please RSVP by October 21, 2013 here.


Please contact Katie Colten via e-mail at [email protected] or phone at 202-454-4694.

Event: Short Course on Nuclear Weapon Issues in the 21st Century

The American Physical Society’s Forum on Physics & Society and the George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs are sponsoring a short course on nuclear weapons issues in the 21st century on November 2-3, 2013 at George Washington University in Washington, DC.

The workshop will bring together international experts who will give technical background on issues such as CTBT on-site inspections, India and Pakistan’s nuclear programs, ballistic missile defense and nuclear forensics.

Director of the Nuclear Information Project Mr. Hans Kristensen will be presenting on modernizing the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

Early registration is encouraged as the course may sell out; last day to register is October 25. For conference agenda and registration, click here. 

Event: Workshop on Terrorism Analysis

In July, Charles P. Blair, FAS’s Senior Fellow on State and Non-State Threats, will be hosting an in-depth workshop at George Mason University titled Terrorism Analysis: Quantitative and Qualitative Research Methodologies and Tools.

Learn the Trade Craft of Terrorism AnalysisThis non-credit course introduces participants to a variety of quantitative and qualitative methodologies for the study of terrorism. Over two days, participants are provided with an in-depth understanding of cutting edge and highly effective single and multi-methodological tools and techniques. Ultimately, participants learn how to create and utilize analytical tools applicable to the current and emerging needs of professionals and academics with responsibilities for preventing, preparing for, responding to, or predicting terrorism. The course includes, but is not limited to:

Introduction to Terrorism Databases: How to substantively utilize a variety of open-source data sets

Identifying the Adversary: Past, Extant, and Emerging Terrorist Behaviors: Participants learn how to use these databases to determine which factors influence and determine terrorist behavior and how to structure and assess the interplay between a variety of factors.

Models and Frameworks: The relationship between terrorist group factors and attack modalities

Red Teaming: Explore the influence of salient group factors, learning to utilize and create profiles of terrorist groups– for example, ideological constraints and freedoms, external group factors, decision-making factors, operational goals, and attack modalities.

Date: July 25 – 26, 2013

Time: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Location: Fairfax, VA

1 Continuing Ed Units awarded

If you are interested, please sign up as soon as possible. For more information or to register online, visit the course’s page. Direct any questions about the course to Charles P. Blair at [email protected].

Event: Safe, Secure and Peaceful Use: Nuclear Energy and Safeguards

On April 10, FAS, the Global America Business Institute (GABI), and the UC Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation (IGCC), will host a workshop on nuclear energy and safeguards at the University of California Washington DC Center from 2pm to 4:15pm. The workshop agenda can be found below. Seating is limited, to register please contact Alan Ahn.

When: Wednesday, April 10th, 2013; 2:00 pm to 4:15 pm

Where: University of California, Washington Center, 1608 Rhode Island Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20036

Continue reading

Preparatory Commission CTBTO Conference

The Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), an international organization based in Vienna, is organizing a science and technology conference in Vienna from June 17-21, 2013.

This is the fourth in a series of international   conferences promoting the exchange of knowledge and ideas between the CTBTO and leading scientists around the world, with the goal of strengthening the relationship between the CTBTO and the broader scientific community.

For more information on the conference and the call for papers, click here.