• NukesCold War Nuclear Tests Changed U.K. Rainfall

    Nuclear bomb tests during the Cold War may have changed rainfall patterns thousands of miles from the detonation sites, new research has revealed. Scientists have researched how the electric charge released by radiation from the test detonations, carried out predominantly by the U.S. and Soviet Union in the 1950s and 1960s, affected rainclouds at the time.

  • Iran’s nukesIran’s Nuclear “Breakout” Time Reduced to 3-4 Months

    In May 2018, when President Trump announced that the United States was withdrawing from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, Iran “breakout” time was estimated to be 12-16 months. Breakout is defined as the time Iran would need to produce 25 kilograms of weapon-grade uranium (WGU), enough for a nuclear weapon. A new report says that Iran’s breakout time now is 3.1 to 4.6 months.

  • China syndromeU.S. Says China Conducted Zero-Yield Nuclear Tests

    The United States says that China may have secretly conducted low-level underground nuclear tests, even though the country has signed a treaty banning such tests. Zero yield tests are nuclear test in which there is no explosive chain reaction of the type ignited by the detonation of a nuclear warhead.

  • Nuclear detectionHow Lasers Can Help with Nuclear Nonproliferation Monitoring

    Scientists developed a new method showing that measuring the light produced in plasmas made from a laser can be used to understand uranium oxidation in nuclear fireballs. This capability gives never-before-seen insight into uranium gas-phase oxidation during nuclear explosions. These insights further progress toward a reliable, non-contact method for remote detection of uranium elements and isotopes, with implications for nonproliferation safeguards, explosion monitoring and treaty verification.

  • Nuclear detectionLasers to Detect Weapons-Grade Uranium from Afar

    It’s hard enough to identify nuclear materials when you can directly scan a suspicious suitcase or shipping container. But if you can’t get close? A technique for detecting enriched uranium with lasers could help regulators sniff out illicit nuclear activities from as far as a couple of miles away.

  • Better protectionProtecting U.S. Energy Grid and Nuclear Weapons Systems

    To deter attempts to disable U.S. electrical utilities and to defend U.S. nuclear weapon systems from evolving technological threats, Sandia researchers have begun two multiyear initiatives to strengthen U.S. responses.

  • Nuclear warEven a Limited India-Pakistan Nuclear War Would Bring Global Famine, Says Study

    By Kevin Krajick

    The concept of nuclear winter—a years-long planetary freeze brought on by airborne soot generated by nuclear bombs—has been around for decades. But such speculations have been based largely on back-of-the-envelope calculations involving a total war between Russia and the United States. Now, a new multinational study incorporating the latest models of global climate, crop production and trade examines the possible effects of a less gargantuan but perhaps more likely exchange between two longtime nuclear-armed enemies: India and Pakistan.

  • Iran’s nukesIran Nuclear Accord Parties Meet to Try to Salvage Deal

    The remaining members of the floundering Iran nuclear deal are set to meet in Vienna Wednesday for the first time since Germany, France, and Britain initiated dispute procedures that could reimpose U.N. sanctions on Tehran. The talks come as the signatories try to rescue the landmark 2015 accord, which has been faltering since U.S. President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from it in 2018 and enforced crippling sanctions on Iran.

  • Nuclear warNuclear War Could Be Devastating for the U.S., Even If No One Shoots Back

    By Joshua M. Pearce

    The White House’s 2021 budget calls for $28.9 billion for the Pentagon for nuclear weapons and a 20 percent increase to $19.8 billion for the National Nuclear Security Administration. Yet the U.S. already has over 3,000 nuclear weapons. The U.S. could only safely use a fraction of them without killing Americans with an unintended adverse series of cascading environmental effects: Soot from the burning of cities following numerous nuclear blasts would cause a significant drop in global temperature, blocking the sunlight from reaching the Earth’s surface. This would cause a drop in precipitation, increased ultraviolet radiation resulting from a badly damaged atmosphere, and a breakdown in supply chains and food production. In short, a nuclear attack using only a few nuclear weapons would be exceedingly damaging for the aggressor nation.

  • Nuclear wasteMaterials Currently Used to Store Nuclear Waste Accelerate Corrosion

    The materials the United States and other countries plan to use to store high-level nuclear waste will likely degrade faster than anyone previously knew because of the way those materials interact, new research shows. The findings show that corrosion of nuclear waste storage materials accelerates because of changes in the chemistry of the nuclear waste solution, and because of the way the materials interact with one another.

  • Nuclear wasteGlaciers May Offer Safe Sites for Nuclear Waste Storage

    New insights into rates of bedrock erosion by glaciers around the world will help to identify better sites for the safe storage of nuclear waste. The findings of a new research overturn earlier research, showing that erosion rates do not increase with the speed of glacier flow as quickly as previously anticipated.

  • ArgumentPentagon Deployment of New, “More Usable” Nuclear Weapon Is a Grave Mistake

    The Pentagon on Tuesday acknowledged that it has deployed a new, sea-based nuclear warhead capability. The move — first reported last week by the Federation of American Scientists — is the first in the Trump administration’s multibillion-dollar, multi-decade plan to replace and expand U.S. nuclear weapons capabilities. Daryl G. Kimball writes that the administration’s stated rationale for the new weapon is deeply flawed, and the decision to field the device only heightens the danger of escalation.

  • Doomsday clockIt Is Now 100 Seconds to Midnight

    The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ Doomsday Clock is now closer to midnight than ever in its history. The Bulletin cites worsening nuclear threat, lack of climate action, and rise of “cyber-enabled disinformation campaigns” in moving the clock hand. December 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the first edition of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, initially a six-page, black-and-white bulletin and later a magazine, created in anticipation that the atom bomb would be “only the first of many dangerous presents from the Pandora’s Box of modern science.”

  • Radiation risksSecuring Radiological Sources on the Go

    Radioactive materials are a critical tool in a number of industrial applications, particularly oil and gas drilling and welding. While these sources are safe and well-regulated for their intended use; if lost or stolen the materials could be used by terrorists to make dirty bombs.

  • Iran’s nukesEuropean Unity on Iran Nuclear Deal May Be Cracking

    There are signs that cracks are beginning to appear in European unity over its backing of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, or JCPOA, as allies come under growing pressure from the United States to abandon the agreement in the wake of Tehran’s downing of a passenger jet January 8. Iran announced this month it would ignore all restrictions on its nuclear enrichment activities, but insisted it was permitted to do so under the 2015 deal, because the U.S. was the first signatory to break the agreement.

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