Public Interest Report

The Journal for Science and Security

Fall 2013- Volume 66 Number 4

China’s Nuclear Weapons

  • In the new Nuclear Notebook, Hans Kristensen and Robert Norris examine the status of China’s nuclear forces and determine that the arsenal is slowly growing and the capability of those weapons is also increasing. China has approximately 250 warheads in its stockpile for delivery by nearly 150 land-based ballistic missiles, aircraft, and an emerging submarine fleet. China is assigning a growing portion of its warheads to long-range missiles, and it is estimated that the arsenal includes as many as 60 long-range missiles that can reach some portion of the United States. Members of the U.S. intelligence community predict that by the mid-2020s, China could have more than 100 missiles capable of threatening the United States.


MANPADS Threat and International Efforts to Address It

  •  On November 28, 2002, terrorists fired two Soviet-designed SA-7 man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS) at an Israeli plane destined for Tel Aviv as it departed from Moi International Airport in Mombasa, Kenya. The missiles missed their target but the incident was a wake-up call for governments around the world. Shortly after the attack, the United States created an inter-agency task force to counter the threat posed by MANPADS, with other countries following suit. These countries launched several initiatives aimed at securing and destroying surplus, obsolete and poorly secured stockpiles of missiles; strengthening controls on international transfers of MANPADS; and improving information sharing on the international trade in these weapons. But are these efforts enough? In a FAS report, Matt Schroeder, Director of the Arms Sales Monitoring Project, assesses the terrorist threat from MANPADS and evaluates efforts by the international community to address this threat. The report also proposes additional measures that governments can take to further reduce the illicit proliferation and use of MANPADS.


Thinking Outside Fukushima

  • Two and a half years after the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station the Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) finally admitted that it needed outside help to control the numerous problems at its stricken plant. It was reported that at least 300 metric tons of contaminated water leaked from above-ground storage tanks into the surrounding soil. There are many challenges at the Fukushima station including maintaining continuous cooling of the three damaged reactor cores and expediting the cleanup of the surrounding regions. In an article published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, FAS President Dr. Charles Ferguson writes that the future of Japan’s use of nuclear power hinges on an effective and transparent response to the problems at Fukushima Daiichi.


Iran’s Nuclear Program and Economic Sanctions

  • On November 10, Iranian officials met with representatives of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and Germany (the P5 +1) regarding Iran’s nuclear program and economic sanctions imposed by the United States and Europe. Chris Bidwell, Senior Fellow for Nonproliferation and Law, writes in an op-ed published by Al Jazeera Americathat Iran is negotiating with the wrong U.S. officials in Geneva. The overtures made by Secretary of State John Kerry and his team of sanction experts seem out of sync with the will of Congress, which wants to keep current sanctions in place and is poised to pass new laws with even tougher economic sanctions. Instead, Tehran should be meeting with select members of Congress to convince them to end economic sanctions.


Falling Short of Prague: Obama’s Nuclear Weapons Employment Policy