Public Interest Report

The Journal for Science and Security

Summer 2014- Volume 67 Number 3

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

  • Although the United States still has the largest number of nuclear power plants in the world, it does not dominate global nuclear power. While the United States was the leading nuclear power supplying nation more than thirty years ago, the reality today is clearly that the U.S. nuclear industry is only one of several major suppliers. In a new FAS issue brief, 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. Read the issue brief Advancing U.S. Leadership in Nonproliferation and Nuclear Energy through Effective Partnerships here.


Slowing Nuclear Weapon Reductions and Endless Nuclear Weapon Modernizations: A Challenge to the NPT

  • The nine nuclear-armed states have large residual nuclear arsenals, and post-Cold War reductions of nuclear weapons have slowed. Nuclear nations have undertaken ambitious nuclear weapon modernization programs that threaten to prolong the nuclear era indefinitely. These trends present a challenge to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty community, appearing to contradict the promises by the five NPT nuclear-weapon states to pursue a halt to the nuclear arms race and to seek nuclear disarmament. In the recent Nuclear Notebook published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Hans Kristensen, Director of the Nuclear Information Project and Robert S. Norris, Senior Fellow for Nuclear Policy, analyze the size and scope of nuclear modernizations of the nine nuclear states. Read the article here.


Advanced Nuclear Reactors Briefing

  • On July 24, FAS and the American Nuclear Society hosted a briefing on Capitol Hill that addressed the safety, science and technology of advanced nuclear reactors. Panelists included Dr. Peter Lyons, Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy and Dr. George Apostolakis, former NRC Commissioner. Presentation slides and briefing materials can be found on the event page.


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. Metrics that focus on outputs (what was done) as opposed to outcomes (the impact of what was done) have not been helpful in determining how these efforts might be improved in the future. 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. The results from the interviews are compiled in an issue brief which also provides a strategy for policymakers to focus more on qualitative public health outcomes instead of quantitative security outputs. With this strategy, programs will cost less and be more effective in reducing global threats. Read the issue brief, Placing Global Biosecurity Engagement Programs Under the Umbrella of Global Health Security here (PDF).


DNI Issues New Policy on Leak Damage Assessments

  • The Director of National Intelligence has issued new guidance on assessing damage resulting from the unauthorized disclosure of classified intelligence information to ensure that the damage assessments “are produced in an efficient, timely, consistent and collaborative manner.” Leak damage assessments should be used iteratively and the lessons learned from them should be applied “to strengthen the protection of classified national intelligence and prevent future unauthorized disclosures or compromises.”


Notes from FAS HQ

  • Dr. Ruth Schmidt, a longtime FAS member and well known geologist passed away on March 29, 2014. Dr. Schmidt was the third female geologist hired by the U.S. Geological Survey in 1943, and played a large role in the Great Alaska Earthquake of 1964; her team was in charge of documenting landslides, cracks and other evidence of ground failure in the Anchorage area in the days and weeks immediately after the quake. Dr. Schmidt believed strongly in using sound science to inform public policy decisions, and as a result left a charitable bequest to FAS to continue work on providing the public and policymakers with scientific analysis on technical policy challenges. For more information on making a bequest to FAS, click here.