Showing posts for "nuclear"
Nuclear power promises zero-carbon electricity but suffers from serious cost challenges. That makes calls for more research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) efforts to promote innovation natural. But ask sixty experts where nuclear energy is heading, or ask them whether innovation could change that, and you’ll get sixty different answers. Who should you believe? Read more »
Micah Zenko and I have an op-ed on nuclear terrorism today in USA Today. The opening paragraph captures the theme pretty well:
“President George W. Bush called it his ‘ultimate nightmare.’ Sen. John Kerry, running for president in 2004, said that it was ‘the greatest threat that we face.’ They were both talking about the terrifying possibility that a terrorist group could acquire a nuclear weapon and attack the United States. Yet this year, over the course of three presidential debates, the issue barely surfaced. That is dangerous: Nuclear terrorism remains one of the very few vital risks to America, and the next president, whoever he is, will need to work vigilantly to prevent it.” Read more »
The Wall Street Journal delivered some disturbing news yesterday: South Korea “sharply boosted imports of Iranian crude” in April, buying 42 percent more than a year before, and 57 percent more than in March. Analysts have speculated as to whether Seoul was attempting to sneak in extra oil before European sanctions begin to bite. A more careful look at the data, though, suggests that the spike in Korean imports is less peculiar than meets the eye. Read more »
Richard Haass and I have an op-ed in today’s Wall Street Journal in which we outline a strategy for U.S. diplomacy with Iran. The basics are simple: Neither war nor containment is an attractive option. Moreover, with economic and military pressure on Tehran rising, Iranian leaders may be gaining greater incentives to do a deal, and the United States may be gaining more leverage. At the same time, there’s little chance that the Iranian regime could give up enrichment entirely and survive; meanwhile, on the U.S. side, no deal is worthwhile if it leaves Iran too close to the bomb. We thus outline a mix of inspections and physical limits on the Iranian program that the United States should put on the table; if Iran accepts, the newest sanctions (including impending ones) should be dialed back. Until that happens, the current sanctions should stay in place, and the ones coming down the pike should proceed apace. Read more »
If analysts and reporters know one thing about sanctions, it’s that if you don’t have complete international cooperation, they don’t work. That instinct has been on full display in recent discussions of oil market sanctions targeted at the Iranian nuclear program. Yes, the United States and Europe might refrain from buying Iranian oil, but so long as China and India are willing to buy the surplus crude, won’t the sanctions be toothless? Read more »
First it was radioactive material in milk and spinach near the Fukushima reactors. Now it’s radioactive iodine in Tokyo tapwater that exceeds limits for infant consumption. All of which makes me think back to some work that I did in 2002 on dirty bombs. (Even if you aren’t interested in dirty bombs, read through; there’s a lesson for the current situation here too.)
My colleagues and I wanted to estimate the consequences of a dirty bomb attack. To do that, we simulated the dispersal of radioactive material and then determined the area over which contamination levels would exceed established safety limits. The results were disturbing: large swaths of a city could be put off limits by a relatively modest attack.
Some smart people pushed back. Contamination was considered unacceptable under existing regulations if continued exposure raised the risk of death from cancer by more than one-in-ten thousand. But the background rate of death from cancer was already one in five. If a large area became contaminated in a dirty bomb attack, they asked, wouldn’t authorities relax the limits? Faced with a choice between abandoning chunks of a city and accepting, say, a one-in-a-thousand increase in the cancer fatality rate, wouldn’t people pick the latter?
Over the years, I became somewhat sympathetic to that argument, but I wasn’t entirely convinced. In particular, I was pretty sure that changing the safety thresholds after an event (rather than developing a set of alternative rules in advance) would be tough. Few people have the technical knowledge to judge for themselves what’s safe or not. In the aftermath of an ugly incident, they may also lose trust in authorities, which means that they won’t trust revisions to the rules either. Authorities may be stuck with the preexisting guidelines even if there’s a more rational alternative. Read more »
Energy, Security, and Climate examines policy challenges surrounding energy, security, and climate change.
In The Hacked World Order, CFR Senior Fellow Adam Segal shows how governments use the web to wage war and spy on, coerce, and damage each other. More
Red Team provides an in-depth investigation into the work of red teams, revealing the best practices, most common pitfalls, and most effective applications of these modern-day devil's advocates. More
Through insightful analysis and engaging graphics, How America Stacks Up explores how the United States can keep pace with global economic competition. More
India now matters to U.S. interests in virtually every dimension. This Independent Task Force report assesses the current situation in India and the U.S.-India relationship, and suggests a new model for partnership with a rising India.
Rates of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and other noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) in low- and middle-income countries are increasing faster than in wealthier countries. The report outlines a plan for collective action on this growing epidemic.
This report asserts that elevating and prioritizing the U.S.-Canada-Mexico relationship offers the best opportunity for strengthening the United States and its place in the world.
Williams argues that the status quo for peace operations in untenable and that greater U.S. involvement is necessary to enhance the quality and success of peacekeeping missions.
The authors argue that the United States has responded inadequately to the rise of Chinese power and recommend placing less strategic emphasis on the goal of integrating China into the international system and more on balancing China's rise.
Campbell evaluates the implications of the Boko Haram insurgency and recommends that the United States support Nigerian efforts to address the drivers of Boko Haram, such as poverty and corruption, and to foster stronger ties with Nigerian civil society.