"...the Arms Control Association [does] so much to keep the focus on the issues so important to everyone here, to hold our leaders accountable to inspire creative thinking and to press for change. So we are grateful for your leadership and for the unyielding dedication to global nuclear security."
– Lord Des Browne
Vice Chairman, Nuclear Threat Initiative
July/August 2008
Edition Date: 
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Cover Image: 


  • On page 34 of Arms Control Today’s June 2008 issue, the news article “Bush Sends Russia Nuclear Energy Pact to Hill” identified the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee as Rep. Harold Berman, it should read “Rep. Howard Berman.”

  • On page 32 of Arms Control Today’s March 2006 issue, the news article “Questions Surround Iran’s Nuclear Program” includes a line reading “The former State Department official said that a re-entry vehicle built according to the design that Libya obtained from the Khan network would be too small to hold a nuclear weapon.” That line should read “The former State Department official said that a nuclear warhead built according to a design that Libya obtained from the Khan network would be too large to fit in the re-entry vehicle that Iran may have designed.”

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Swiss Destroy Key A.Q. Khan Evidence

Peter Crail

Swiss President Pascal Couchepin announced May 23 that his government destroyed files associated with a case against Swiss nationals suspected of involvement in the illicit nuclear trafficking network run by Pakistani nuclear official Abdul Qadeer Khan. The destruction of the documents, collected by Swiss authorities in 2004 as evidence against Urs Tinner as well as his brother Marco and their father Friedrich, might harm the criminal prosecution of their suspected activities. The documents included digital copies of a design for an advanced nuclear weapon believed to be of Pakistani origin. This design may have been shared with other members of the Khan network or with Khan’s suspected customers, such as Iran and North Korea.

Swiss authorities allege that the Tinners were involved in the establishment and operation of a machining facility in Malaysia that produced centrifuge components for a planned secret Libyan uranium-enrichment facility.

Libya intended to use the facility to produce highly enriched uranium for nuclear weapons but publicly abandoned this goal in December 2003. In October 2003, Western intelligence agencies intercepted a shipment of centrifuge components bound for Libya and said to be manufactured by the Malaysian machining facility. (See ACT, July/August 2004. )

In addition to Libya, the Khan network allegedly provided nuclear assistance to Iran and North Korea.

According to Couchepin, the Swiss cabinet decided Nov. 14, 2007, to destroy the documents, including paper and digital files, for security purposes to prevent them from falling “into the hands of a terrorist organization.” He indicated that the documents included nuclear weapons designs, blueprints for gas centrifuges for enriching uranium, and plans for “guided missile delivery systems.” The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) oversaw the destruction of the files at Bern’s request.

A diplomatic source familiar with the investigation questioned the rationale provided by the Swiss government for destroying the files, telling Arms Control Today June 19, “If the Swiss can safeguard billions in hundreds of thousands of numbered accounts, they can guard a few CDs.” The diplomat suspected that the destruction of the documents was intended to “erase evidence of Tinner collusion” with Western intelligence agencies.

Indeed, in August 2007 the Swiss government blocked an investigation into potential espionage collaboration between the Tinners and a foreign government. Couchepin stated May 23 that Bern canceled an investigation against the Tinners for “illegal actions for a foreign country” and “illegal intelligence work against a foreign country.” This statement appears to confirm suspicions that the Tinners assisted the CIA in its work to prevent Libya from fully developing its uranium-enrichment program.

As a result of such suspicions, some Swiss lawmakers have requested an investigation into the destruction of the files. The Swiss Green party, one of the largest opposition parties represented in the Swiss National Council, has called for the creation of a parliamentary committee to carry out such an investigation.

The impact of the destruction of the documents related to the Tinner case is unclear. A Swiss federal criminal court denied bail to Urs and Marco Tinner May 30 while the investigation continued due to a potential flight risk. Swiss authorities released Friedrich Tinner in 2006.

Meanwhile, Khan, who remains under house arrest in Pakistan, is seeking to benefit from the destruction of the documents.

Kyodo News quoted Khan May 28 as stating that the documents the Swiss destroyed would have gone “a long way” to proving that he is innocent of claims that he sold nuclear technology to countries such as Iran, Libya, and North Korea. Khan claimed that Western suppliers were actually behind the proliferation.

Khan confessed to engaging in such illicit activities in 2004 but now claims that his confession was coerced by the Pakistani government. The Guardian quoted Khan May 30 as stating that his 2004 confession “was not of [his] own free will.”

Pakistan continues to refuse the IAEA access to Khan. The agency has carried out investigations into the Khan network following Libya’s admission of nuclear inspectors in 2003.

Advanced Warhead Design Among Documents

A June 16 report by the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) alleged that the documents the Swiss destroyed included designs for a Pakistani nuclear weapon. The design was in electronic form and was reportedly also found on computers associated with the Khan network in Bangkok and “several other cities around the world.”

The design is not the first that was said to be discovered during investigations into the Khan networks operations. In 2003 the IAEA discovered a 1960s-pedigree, Chinese-origin nuclear weapons design in Libya after that country agreed to give up its nuclear program and submit to international inspections.

The new design, however, is reportedly more advanced, using a more powerful but more compact design. Such a design would be valuable to a state seeking the capability to deliver a nuclear weapon via ballistic missile and might considerably shorten the time to develop such a warhead.

Although countries such as Iran and North Korea, which may be seeking just such a capability, received assistance from the Khan network, it is uncertain whether they received the advanced weapons design.

Responding to questions about the design, national security adviser Stephen Hadley stated June 15 that, in regard to the Khan network, Washington was concerned with the possibility that the network shared both enrichment- and weapons-related technology with its clients. He added that such concern was one of the reasons the United States “rolled up the network” several years ago.

Islamabad denied claims that the Tinners had access to Pakistani nuclear weapons designs. The Pakistani Foreign Ministry issued a press release June 20 stating “no foreigner has any access to Pakistan’s nuclear designs.” It added that it already shared “all relevant information” regarding the Khan case with the IAEA.

David Albright, former UN weapons inspector and president of ISIS, warned that Khan may be released before these proliferation concerns are resolved. Albright told CNN June 16 that it is “imperative” that the United States and the IAEA interview Khan.

Swiss President Pascal Couchepin announced May 23 that his government destroyed files associated with a case against Swiss nationals suspected of involvement in the illicit nuclear trafficking network run by Pakistani nuclear official Abdul Qadeer Khan. The destruction of the documents, collected by Swiss authorities in 2004 as evidence against Urs Tinner as well as his brother Marco and their father Friedrich, might harm the criminal prosecution of their suspected activities. The documents included digital copies of a design for an advanced nuclear weapon believed to be of Pakistani origin. This design may have been shared with other members of the Khan network or with Khan’s suspected customers, such as Iran and North Korea. (Continue)

IAEA South Korean Concerns Resolved

Kyle Fishman

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said June 3 that its concerns about the peaceful nature of South Korea’s nuclear program had been resolved after concluding an investigation that began four years ago. The announcement came as South Korea is looking to increase nuclear power production and as U.S. and South Korean negotiators are set to discuss a new nuclear cooperation agreement under which Seoul would like U.S. support for proceeding with proliferation-sensitive technology.

The IAEA’s Safeguards Summary for 2007, released at the agency’s June Board of Governors meeting, declared South Korea’s nuclear program to be completely peaceful, with “no indication of undeclared nuclear material or activities.”

The investigation was launched in 2004 following Seoul’s disclosure of previously undeclared experiments in which scientists separated and enriched minute amounts of plutonium and uranium. The revelations came after South Korea signed an additional protocol to its safeguards agreement with the agency, permitting IAEA inspectors to visit undeclared nuclear facilities and possibly uncover the experiments. (See ACT, December 2004. ) At the time, the government maintained that it was unaware that such research had been conducted. Seoul has since cooperated with IAEA investigators.

South Korea started a nuclear weapons program in the 1970s, purchasing a heavy-water research reactor and a reprocessing plant. The efforts were discontinued because of pressure from the United States.

With limited natural resources, South Korea has pinned much of its energy future on nuclear power. Its Ministry of Science and Technology projects that, between 2007 and 2011, the country’s nuclear industry will become one of the top five in the world, meeting 60 percent of electricity needs by 2035; nuclear energy currently supplies about 40 percent of South Korea’s electrical power. However, the country must import all nuclear fuel, which it currently obtains from Canada, France, the United States, and other countries.

Seoul would like to employ a procedure called pyroprocessing to ease this dependence on imports and find a means of coping with growing piles of spent nuclear fuel. Pyroprocessing extracts plutonium and other transuranic elements from spent nuclear fuel to create new fuel that can be used in next-generation fast reactors. South Korea and some members of the Bush administration say this technology is more proliferation resistant than traditional spent fuel reprocessing technologies, which yield pure separated plutonium. Plutonium can be used as fuel for nuclear reactors but can also serve as fissile material in nuclear weapons. Critics say that pyroprocessing is not safe enough, arguing that anything short of locking spent fuel in storage poses proliferation risks. (See ACT, April 2008 .)

Under its current nuclear cooperation agreement with the United States, which remains in force until 2014, South Korea has been effectively blocked from reprocessing any of its spent fuel without first obtaining permission from the United States. That prohibition was loosely extended from U.S.-supplied fuel to all fuel because early research and development used U.S. fuel exclusively. Moreover, North and South Korea agreed in the 1992 Joint Declaration on the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula that neither would acquire reprocessing or enrichment capabilities. The North has already violated this agreement, but Seoul has vowed to adhere to it in hopes of encouraging Pyongyang to return to compliance.

Whether or not South Korea can move forward with its pyroprocessing plans may depend on whether the procedure is considered reprocessing, a question that assumed particular salience after South Korea joined the Bush administration’s controversial Global Nuclear Energy Partnership in December 2007. (See ACT, January/February 2008 .)

Previously, administration officials have offered different answers to that question and have noted that U.S.-South Korean research cooperation has only involved some of the initial steps that would be needed in a pyroprocessing program. But at a May 22 discussion at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Carter Savage, director for fuel cycle research and development at the U.S. Department of Energy, acknowledged that pyroprocessing would be reprocessing if the South Koreans follow through with all of the necessary procedures.

According to the May 5 issue of Platts NuclearFuel, negotiations on a new nuclear cooperation agreement between South Korea and the United States are expected to begin in the coming months, as Seoul hopes to make its case for pyroprocessing before its current cooperation agreement expires.

Pentagon Calls for More DTRA Support

Stephen Bunnell

A recently declassified report from a Department of Defense review panel calls on the government to provide more political and financial support to a Pentagon agency that is tasked with defending the United States from weapons of mass destruction (WMD). The report, which was originally authored in March, was produced by a review panel headed by Robert Joseph, who served as undersecretary of state for arms control and international security under President George W. Bush, and Ashton Carter, assistant secretary of defense for international security policy during the Clinton administration.

The report finds that the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), established a decade ago, “has not been given the means required to meet all of its current responsibilities, let alone to realize its full potential for the U.S. Government in combating” weapons of mass destruction. It lists two overarching recommendations: “strong advocacy and commitment by senior [Defense Department] leadership” and “a detailed strategic plan for combating” weapons of mass destruction. The report calls on the Pentagon to treat preparations for WMD threats by adversaries as a top priority.

The report recommends a restructuring of the top levels of DTRA leadership in order to provide the senior-level advocacy needed for the agency. The panel calls for creating a new assistant secretary of defense for WMD issues reporting directly to the secretary or deputy secretary. They further recommend that the DTRA director be a three-star military officer if the new assistant secretary for WMD issues position is created. These recommendations aim to give the DTRA strong advocates within the Pentagon, in order to win the agency greater funding and budget flexibility.

In addition, the report recommends a closer relationship between the DTRA and regional combatant commands and a much more active and involved role for Strategic Command (STRATCOM) within the military in such areas as planning and exercises. The report characterizes the current mandate for STRATCOM as “overly ambiguous and appears to allow [combatant commands] to choose when, how, and whether to involve STRATCOM…in their planning processes, exercises, theater security cooperation programs, and the like.”

Moreover, the report calls for a closer interagency relationship between the DTRA and the rest of the government, describing the DTRA as “a national asset.” It recommends that representatives of the agency participate in meetings of interagency initiatives on counterproliferation and homeland security as well as in international negotiations, such as those seeking nuclear disarmament of North Korea.

Before the Day After: Using Pre-Detonation Nuclear Forensics to Improve Fissile Material Security

Daniel H. Chivers, Bethany F. Lyles Goldblum, Brett H. Isselhardt, and Jonathan S. Snider

The next U.S. administration will face many daunting challenges, but none of these are likely to be as pressing as combating the threat posed by nuclear terrorism. Twelve years ago, experts identified “nuclear leakage” —the sale, theft, and diversion of nuclear weapons and weapons-usable fissile materials—as the highest priority in U.S. nonproliferation policy.[1]

Widespread proliferation of weapons-related information and technology in recent years means that the construction of a crude nuclear device is within terrorists’ reach if they are able to acquire sufficient weapons-usable fissile material and are adequately organized.[2]

A global campaign leading to unambiguous physical protection standards for states in possession of weapons-usable material, therefore, is urgently needed to prevent any leakage. Although expanding current tactical efforts such as the Cooperative Threat Reduction program might be helpful, it is unlikely to be sufficient. A more strategic approach is needed that would seek to ensure adequate minimum standards for nuclear security among all states. A movement toward broad adherence to appropriate security levels would benefit from using pre-detonation nuclear forensics to help locate and plug fissile material leaks. Greater sharing of nuclear forensics information and capabilities is necessary if the international community is to promote and enforce a new international norm stressing that fissile material accountability ultimately rests with states.

The Role of Forensics in Deterring and Preventing Nuclear Terrorism

Doing so would apply nuclear forensics in a way different than many security thinkers are now considering. The Domestic Nuclear Event Attribution program, launched by the Department of Defense in 2000, established the policy agenda for nuclear attribution that prevails today: nuclear forensics and attribution capabilities must be improved to assist in determining the state origin of fissile material used in a nuclear attack. By doing so, defense planners hope to patch the hole that terrorists punch in traditional nuclear deterrence strategies. Because terrorists do not control territory that can be held at risk and may be more than willing to die as long as they are able to carry out their initial attack, such deterrence strategies are inadequate today. U.S. defense planners have therefore sought to update traditional deterrence to new realities by threatening any state with retaliation should it be seen as participating in or abetting a nuclear attack.

This approach is supported by a wide spectrum of policymakers. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joseph Biden (D-Del.) recently advocated that a nuclear forensics capability allows for “a new type of deterrence” and would “bring deterrence into the 21st century.”[3] Testifying before a House subcommittee in October 2007, Vayl Oxford, director of the Department of Homeland Security’s Domestic Nuclear Detection Office, explained that nuclear forensics “is a critical nuclear deterrence capability to demonstrate that we can hold perpetrators accountable and also to help find and prevent follow on attacks.”[4] Oxford’s testimony was an elaboration of President George W. Bush’s cryptic statement in October 2006 that the United States would hold North Korea “fully accountable” for any consequences resulting from Pyongyang’s transfer of nuclear weapons or materials.

Still, even an updated deterrent strategy simply may not be effective for some situations because it is not a means of thwarting terrorists from acquiring fissile materials or nuclear weapons, only from using them. Although some states could intentionally transfer nuclear weapons or materials to nonstate actors, others might be the victims of theft. Retaliating against a state that acted in good faith to prevent nuclear theft is not likely to be a productive response; cooperation is inclined to be a more prudent strategy in preventing follow-on attacks. Of course, it is likely that even a culpable state will declare that the fissile materials used in a terrorist attack were stolen. Given this, some policymakers have suggested shifting the burden of proof so that any country that claims theft will be held accountable in a manner similar to a state that is believed to have directly transferred fissile material.[5]

A deterrent strategy supported by post-detonation nuclear forensics does not make explicit the actions states must take to ensure adequate nuclear security, nor does it take full advantage of the ability to use nuclear forensics to prevent terrorists from acquiring nuclear material. To be sure, those affiliated with the Nuclear Smuggling International Technical Working Group have labored for several years to implement pre-detonation nuclear attribution to prosecute illicit material traffickers.[6] However, a comprehensive strategy must also hold states accountable to their international obligation for adequately securing weapons-usable fissile material. Pre-detonation nuclear forensics can play an important role in this regard.

Speaking at a diplomatic conference, Linton Brooks, the former head of the National Nuclear Security Administration, pressed that states must accept full “sovereign responsibility over activities under their jurisdiction and control—whether that is trade and border controls or regulation of nuclear materials or nuclear facilities that are in conformance with international regimes.”[7] Adequately securing weapons-usable fissile material is among the foremost sovereign responsibilities of states. Poor security of these materials can be revealed by a nuclear terrorist attack or loose fissile material. Credibly holding states responsible in either of these instances rests on using nuclear forensics capabilities to determine the likely source of nuclear materials. These capabilities rely on scientists’ ability to distinguish material formed through different processes and in different parts of the world.[8]

Pre-detonation nuclear attribution can be used to identify the state source of loose weapons-usable fissile material. If such material should escape a state’s control, the state should be forced to establish truly effective physical protection measures or face international condemnation and corrective action. Weapons-usable fissile material found outside of state control would present clear evidence that robust physical protection measures are not in place. Adequate physical protection should mean that all weapons-usable fissile materials remain under state control at all times.

In addition to determining the material’s source, ongoing nuclear attribution research could help identify the “last legal owner.” Determining the production source of fissile material may not be the most important finding for assessing accountability. Many states now possess fissile material produced by other states or could enrich as well as reprocess nuclear fuel purchased from producer states.

The Need for Performance-Based Physical Protection

How is the international community to be assured that a state’s physical protection standards are sufficient? Currently, the international community lacks clear, enforceable standards for the domestic physical protection of fissile material and facilities. This is troubling considering that more than 3,730 tons of fissile materials are stored under widely divergent national standards.[9] Despite several UN Security Council resolutions identifying loose fissile material as a threat to international peace and security, no specific physical protection standards exist.[10]

The Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM)[11] obligates states to meet certain standards for the protection of nuclear materials, but these largely relate to the international transport of materials. A 2005 diplomatic conference sought to address this deficiency via an amendment to the CPPNM in which states agreed that the “peaceful domestic use, storage and transport” of fissile material and nuclear facilities are subject to physical protection standards.[12] To date, only nine states have ratified the amendment, which requires adoption by two-thirds of the 136 CPPNM member states before it enters into force. Even if the amendment were adopted, its coverage would be incomplete as it does not apply to fissile materials and facilities used for military purposes. More than one-half of all fissile materials worldwide are stored in military stocks.

Growing concern regarding the poor security of fissile materials led to the passage of UN Security Council Resolution 1540, which mandates that all states establish and enforce “appropriate effective” physical protection and control measures relating to fissile materials. This qualitative standard of physical protection is unfortunately subject to multiple interpretations.[13] In a UN Security Council meeting prior to the passage of the resolution, the United Kingdom’s representative explained that the resolution “leaves up to Member States to decide exactly what steps they need to take.”[14] This status quo is simply insufficient in combating contemporary threats, and some suggest has even failed.[15] Several incidents of loose fissile material following the passage of Resolution 1540 in 2004 suggest that physical protection remains a serious problem.[16]

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) plays an important role in protecting fissile materials from terrorists. It provides guidelines for states inexperienced with physically protecting nuclear facilities, but such guidelines are only recommendations and not binding.[17] George Bunn recently suggested that the IAEA should play a greater role verifying state compliance with Resolution 1540,[18] recommending that IAEA inspectors check the adequacy of a state’s physical protection measures during their routine inspections. It is difficult to see how a state would permit a direct external review of its nuclear security practices absent any clear indication of gross security infractions. An indirect technical review of a state’s nuclear security measures, where nuclear forensics helps identify states with a nuclear leakage problem through attributing loose fissile material, may lead states to request IAEA assistance in reviewing their practices to avoid future leaks.

Experts at Stanford University recently argued the need to go beyond Resolution 1540’s reporting requirements.[19] They propose a series of questions, termed “implementation indicators,” to vigorously assess how states are implementing their Resolution 1540 obligations. This involves garnering additional information from states regarding their overall systemic approach to material security, including law enforcement capabilities and the effectiveness of accounting measures, among other metrics. Nonetheless, this constructive suggestion is likely not enough. Moving forward, a more quantifiable standard is required to assess the effectiveness of actions states are taking to protect fissile material. Although the Stanford team does not make the recommendation in its report, nuclear attribution would constitute the ultimate implementation indicator.

Building an International Nuclear Forensics Capability

The ability to determine the source of interdicted fissile material or material collected after any attack inherently relies in part on the robustness of information previously collected and stored in a materials database. In other words, source attribution requires reference data against which to compare the characteristics of any sample material. Calls for the development of an international database of fissile materials mainly refer to voluntary submission of materials by states to a central repository. A comprehensive global catalogue of fissile material, including sensitive information about weapons-grade material, would constitute the ideal deterrent.[20] Figure 1 (see print edition) depicts a scheme for dividing nuclear forensic signatures and data into at least two classes, sensitive and nonsensitive information, to aid in classification within states and to encourage and control sharing between partner countries.

Full realization of a comprehensive database is highly unlikely, as states will resist voluntarily sharing such data. Although some useful data can be collected involuntarily,[21] movement toward sharing nonsensitive information is important in building a nuclear forensics database in the near term. Broad access to such data would generate more manageable levels of analytic uncertainty than currently exist. U.S.-Russian cooperation on nonsensitive information sharing would pave the way for wider disclosure. The onus for leadership rests with these two states, as the in-country stocks of separated plutonium and both separated and irradiated highly enriched uranium under Russian and U.S. control amount to nearly 87 percent of the global total.[22] Catalogued information from these two states alone would constitute a sizeable database.

Several states, including Russia and the United States, and international organizations such as the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre and the IAEA maintain independent inventories of commercial nuclear material samples, safeguards data, and information on seized illicit materials that could be leveraged to make an attribution finding if voluntary state submissions to a central database remain unlikely. Bush’s threat to hold North Korea “fully accountable” was reportedly made public because its credibility rested on the U.S. ability to access the IAEA’s collection of North Korea’s fissile materials.[23] Catalogued materials can also be used to eliminate possible sources of leaks quickly. Discovery that a material does not belong to the United States or one of its allies may be as informative as an implicating result.

Domestic resistance to a centralized database of materials and their characteristics will likely be fierce. The United States may resist the idea of exchanging details or samples of domestic nuclear materials because of the asymmetric advantage it maintains by having such a high level of expertise in its nuclear complex. Any agreement to risk the exposure of this expertise would have to be outweighed by the gain in security the United States received through international collaboration. Still, a reassessment of the existing line drawn between sensitive and nonsensitive information is appropriate in today’s threat environment.

The creation of an international database of fissile material characteristics will necessarily involve a host of challenging procedural issues related to the veracity of catalogued materials. Some important questions remain unanswered. Who is to formally undertake analysis and authenticate any material collected for entry into the database? How is this analysis to be vetted so that the material’s characteristics can be confirmed? It is likely, depending on the sensitivity of the information ultimately collected and stored, that nuclear data will be shared selectively across the database’s participants. General identity characteristics of fissile materials are likely to be shared in a multilateral arrangement, whereas more detailed information would be reserved for bilateral review. The need for a domestic nuclear forensics board to be established has been effectively argued elsewhere.[24] Members of this board would be responsible for interpreting and debating the evidence collected and, more importantly, reaching formal attribution decisions.

Construction of an international nuclear forensics database presupposes agreements between states on the details of how the effort to collect material samples should proceed. These details are only beginning to be discussed among international scientists associated with the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT) and the Nuclear Smuggling International Technical Working Group.[25] The GICNT, launched by Russia and the United States in 2006 to differentially address and aid in the detection, prevention, protection, and response components of U.S. national defense policy through international collaboration, is emerging as one possible mechanism, whereby participants agreed to “develop technical means to identify nuclear or radioactive materials that could be involved in a terrorist incident.” Despite the stated goals of the GICNT, the primary emphasis of its working agenda remains on detection and response. There is currently no nuclear forensics panel situated under the GICNT and no information in the public domain that suggests a major role for nuclear forensics under the GICNT. Just recently, though, the United States-Russia Working Group on Counterterrorism concluded a framework agreement for bilateral cooperation on nuclear forensics, but the details of this agreement are not clear.[26]

A core component of the ongoing foundational work required to build an international database is the standardization of nuclear forensics methods for various types of fissile materials, as well as attribution and related intelligence procedures. These efforts will require the formalization of protocols to transport, distribute, and analyze interdicted materials or collected debris following a nuclear detonation, so that testing and verification of the material can be accomplished as quickly as possible.

Building a robust technical attribution capability among a network of states is distinct from mechanisms that credibly communicate and act on attribution findings. Embedding aspects of the preventative global campaign proposed here under the aegis of a respected international institution will serve to legitimize any attribution finding and subsequent international action by providing a forum for interaction between states. The IAEA, with expertise in assisting states with nuclear security, is well positioned to aid in response when nuclear leaks are identified. Recent recommendations for the future of the agency to 2020 and beyond, commissioned by Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei, propose that the IAEA be given a precise mandate to confirm global nuclear material security standards fixed by member states.[27] ElBaradei has also supported the idea of his agency contributing to efforts to internationalize nuclear forensics and work directly with member states to construct an international database for nuclear material characteristics.[28]

Toward International Implementation

Efforts to implement this approach will likely be met with strong resistance by some states and strong support by those states who perceive that they may be the target of a nuclear terrorist attack. At a minimum, it is necessary to garner international consensus on clear and specific standards relating to the physical protection of fissile materials and elevate these standards to a formal legal obligation. Given that a sufficient amount of fissile material might be unaccounted for at present, national inventories of these materials must be taken to determine when strict state accountability should start. Those states with large fissile material stocks have an important stake and responsibility in taking this first step.

Several states voiced concern in the open debates preceding the Security Council’s adoption of Resolution 1540 that it would be used as a means to institute sanctions against states. France’s UN representative noted that some states were under the impression that they could be forced to implement certain measures. In response to these concerns, the British UN representative stated that “the draft [of Resolution 1540] was not about coercion or enforcement.… [T]he draft did not authorize enforcement action against State or non-State actors in the territory of another country. Any enforcement action would likely require new Security Council measures.”[29] This diplomatic history suggests states will strongly resist being held accountable for fissile material leaks.

Promoting state accountability of weapons-usable fissile material protection in all cases need not require explicit enforcement. Singling out a state for lax nuclear security may bring international condemnation. A “designated nuclear facility watch list” could be established under the auspices of the 1540 Committee, identifying nuclear facilities from which leaked fissile material was discovered outside state control. Placement on this list could entail substantial state fines or other appropriate measures. In instances of grave security infractions, the matter should be referred to the Security Council.

Specific resistance is also likely considering that some states with a history of poor fissile material security, such as Russia, may feel as if they are being targeted. Experts tracking recent incidents of loose fissile material assert that the majority of interdicted material to date is of Russian origin.[30] Yet, an adverse Russian reaction might be tempered for several reasons. If Russia considers itself vulnerable to a nuclear terrorist attack, as suggested by its leadership role in the GICNT, then it would be prudent to support more robust preventative measures. In addition, as mentioned, Security Council resolutions identify loose fissile material as a clear threat to international peace and security.[31] It will be difficult for Russia not to take action against such a widely recognized threat, especially a threat the country has worked with the United States to address in the recent past.

An international scheme outlining state accountability of weapons-usable fissile material could be crafted to give wide deference to any state in resolving issues associated with its own fissile material as long as the material remains within the state’s jurisdiction. Consequently, appropriate international action would not be triggered until fissile material escapes a state’s jurisdiction. The 2005 International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism serves as a model for this sort of arrangement.[32] It gives states broad latitude in managing domestic terrorist threats before such threats can be characterized as “international,” thereby constituting a violation of the convention. Until then, the matter remains an issue to be resolved through domestic law enforcement. At a minimum, any domestic efforts pertaining to loose fissile material should generate a requirement to report such matters.

The dire international consequences of an unattributed nuclear detonation anywhere in the world are clear motivation for all countries to work together to prevent such a tragedy. It is unsettling that many states view loose fissile material as a significant threat to international peace and security but continue to take no specific global action to address this hazard. Present tactics do not constitute an adequate long-term approach to preventing a nuclear terrorist attack, and immediate action should be taken to establish clear international standards regarding the physical protection of fissile material. The new international standard to be pursued is clear and simple: all weapons-usable fissile materials are to be under state control at all times. This standard can be supported and enforced by the promise of pre-detonation nuclear attribution. Moving forward, the policy proposal outlined here is not intended to replace a policy to deter nuclear terrorism but to complement it. Locating and plugging fissile material leaks will demonstrate the strength of existing capabilities and work to ensure that the government need never implement its response the day after a nuclear explosion.

Daniel H. Chivers is an assistant research scientist and Bethany F. Lyles Goldblum is a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Nuclear Engineering at the University of California-Berkeley. Brett H. Isselhardt is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Nuclear Engineering at the University of California-Berkeley and a Lawrence scholar at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Jonathan S. Snider is a doctoral candidate in the political science department at the University of California-Davis and an associate in the Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation’s Public Policy and Nuclear Threats program. The views expressed herein are solely those of the authors and not those of the U.S. government, the Department of Energy, or Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Differentiating Nuclear Materials From Around the World

Fissile material designed and manufactured in different countries, even different facilities and batches, will have distinct atomic and nuclear signatures. Certain fissile material characteristics, such as isotopic composition and concentration of neutron-absorbing isotopes, for example xenon-135 (“neutron poisons”), are precisely controlled because of their significant effect on the ability to sustain a nuclear chain reaction within the material. Other contaminating materials are less tightly controlled because they do not hinder the intended function of the material. The design choices to control certain parameters and neglect others are utilized by nuclear forensics techniques to determine a material’s source.

Several methods may exist for creating a given end product, and each process will leave its imprint within the nuclear material of interest in the shape or form of the material (morphology), trace contaminants, or even small but detectable changes in the relative abundance of important isotopes (isotopic fractionation). In addition to these process differences, the indigenous environment of the raw material may also leave a lasting impression. Isotope abundances for stable elements, such as oxygen and lead, have detectable composition differences around the world. Other materials from differing parts of the globe also will be composed of starting materials that vary in measurable ways.

Finally, another method for distinguishing nuclear materials, even from the same facility or process, is known as age dating. Once nuclear material has been produced or purified, the radioactive decay process continues within the material, generating a chain of decay products that when analyzed in conjunction, form an intricate stopwatch of a material’s age.




1. Graham T. Allison et al., Avoiding Nuclear Anarchy: Containing the Threat of Loose Russian Nuclear Weapons and Fissile Material (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1996), p. 2.

2. Matthew Bunn and Anthony Wier, “Terrorist Nuclear Weapon Construction: How Difficult,” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Vol. 607 (September 2006), p. 133.

3. Senator Joseph Biden, “CSI:Nukes,” The Wall Street Journal, June 4, 2007, p.A17..

4. Vayl Oxford, Statement before the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Emerging Threats, Cybersecurity and Science and Technology, Hearing on H.R. 2631, The Nuclear Forensics and Attribution Act, October 10, 2007.

5. Joseph Biden, “CSI: Nukes.”

6. Sidney Niemeyer and David K. Smith, “Following the Clues: The Role of Forensics in Preventing Nuclear Terrorism,” Arms Control Today, July/August 2007, pp.14-15.

7. Linton Brooks, Remarks prepared for IAEA International Conference on Nuclear Security, London, March 15, 2005.

8. William Dunlop and Harold Smith, “Who Did It? Using International Forensics to Detect and Deter Nuclear Terrorism,” Arms Control Today, October 2006, pp. 6-10.

9. David Albright, “Global Stocks of Nuclear Fissile Materials: Summary Tables and Charts,” Global Stocks of Nuclear Explosive Materials, September 7, 2005.

10. UN Security Council Resolution 1373, S/RES/1373, September 28, 2001; UN Security Council Resolution 1540, S/RES/1540, April 28, 2004.

11. Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, March 3, 1980.

12. “Summary Record of the First Plenary Meeting, Conference to Consider and Adopt Proposed Amendments to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material,” CPPNM/AC/Plen/SR.1, July 4, 2005, p. 1.

13. For a discussion of the distinction between qualitative and quantifiable obligations, see Rudolf Avenhaus and Nicholas Kyriakopoulus, “Conceptual Framework,” in Verifying Treaty Compliance: Limiting Weapons of Mass Destruction and Monitoring Kyoto Protocol Provisions, eds. Rudolf Avenhaus et al. (Berlin: Springer, 2006), pp. 17-21.

14. UN Security Council 4950th Meeting, S/PV.4950, April 22, 2004, p. 12.

15. Anne-Marie Slaughter and Thomas J. Wright, “Punishment to Fit the Nuclear Crime,” The Washington Post, March 2, 2007, p. A13.

16. “Combating Illicit Trafficking in Nuclear and Other Radioactive Material (Reference Manual),” IAEA Nuclear Security Series, No. 6 (2007), pp. 128-131.

17. “The Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and Nuclear Facilities,” INFCIRC/225/Rev.4 (corrected), 1998.

18. George Bunn, “Enforcing International Standards: Protecting Nuclear Materials From Terrorists Post 9/11,” Arms Control Today, January/February 2007, pp. 14-17.

19. Allen S. Weiner et al., “Enhancing Implementation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1540,” Center for International Security and Cooperation, September 2007.

20. Michael May, Jay Davis, and Raymond Jeanloz, “Preparing for the Worst,” Nature, Vol. 443, No. 26 (October 26, 2006), pp. 907-908.

21. Interdicted loose fissile material can be used, once it is properly attributed, to assist in building the requisite international database even if states do not formally submit their material. This indirect means of building a fissile material repository provides incentives for states to participate directly in order to closely manage the distribution of information relating to their nuclear data.

22. Albright, “Global Stocks of Nuclear Fissile Materials.”

23. David E. Sanger and Thom Shanker, “U.S. Debates Deterrence for Nuclear Terrorism,” International Herald Tribune, May 7, 2007.

24. Jay Davis, “The Attribution of WMD Events,” Journal of Homeland Security, April 2003.

25. Tim Katsapis, Project on Nuclear Issues meeting, April 11, 2008; Niemeyer and Smith, “Following the Clues.”

26 “Fact Sheet: The United States-Russia Working Group on Counterterrorism,” U.S. Embassy, Moscow, June 20, 2008.

27. “Reinforcing the Global Nuclear Order for Peace and Prosperity: The Role of the IAEA to 2020 and Beyond,” GOV/2008/22-GC(52)/INF/4, 2008 (prepared by an independent commission at the request of the director-general of the IAEA).

28. Peter Zimmerman and Hans Binnendijk, “New Nuclear Deterrents,” The Washington Times, August 19, 2007.

29. UN Security Council Press Release SC/8070, April 22, 2004.

30. “Overview of Confirmed Proliferation-Significant Incidents of Fissile Material Trafficking in the NIS, 1991-2007,” CNS Report, 2007.

31. UN Security Council Resolutions 1373 and 1540.

32. “International Convention on the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism,” UN General Assembly Resolution 59/290, April 13, 2005.

July/August 2008 Bibliography

Of Special Interest

Albright, David, Swiss Smugglers Had Advanced Nuclear Weapons Designs, Institute for Science and International Security, June 16, 2008, 3 pp.

Hurd, Douglas, Malcolm Rifkind, David Owen, and George Robertson, “Start Worrying and Learn to Ditch the Bomb,” The Times of London, June 30, 2008.

Kerry, John, “America Looks to a Nuclear-Free World,” Financial Times, June 24, 2008.

Kristensen, Hans M., U.S. Nuclear Weapons Withdrawn From the United Kingdom, Federation of American Scientists Security Blog, June 26, 2008, 3 pp.

Lugar, Richard G. “Revving Up the Cooperative Nonproliferation Engine,” The Nonproliferation Review, July 2008, p. 349.

Markey, Edward, “Why is Bush Helping Saudi Arabia Build Nukes?” The Wall Street Journal, June 10, 2008, p. A15.

Schumer, Charles, “Russia Can Be Part of the Answer on Iran,” The Wall Street Journal, June 3, 2008, p. A19

Stockholm Institute for International Peace, SIPRI Yearbook 2008: Armaments, Disarmament and International Security, July 2008, 604 pp.

U.S. Air Force, Air Force Blue Ribbon Review of Nuclear Weapons Policies and Procedures, February 8, 2008, 117 pp.

The Washington Post, “A Return to Arms Control,” June 2, 2008, p. A12.

I. Strategic Arms

Agence France-Presse, “Security of US Nuclear Arms in Europe is Not Our Problem: NATO,” June 23, 2008.

Andreasen, Steve, “With Nuclear Weapons, A Lot Can Go Wrong,” Star Tribune, June 26, 2008.

Basrur, Rajesh M., South Asia’s Cold War: Nuclear Weapons and Conflict in Comparative Perspective, Routledge, 2008, 171 pp.

Carroll, James, “Proving Nuclear Realists Wrong,” International Herald Tribune, June 23, 2008.

Cirincione, Joe, “A Critical Mass for Disarmament,” Los Angeles Times, June 4, 2008.

Coorey, Phillip, “PM to Launch Anti-Nuke Plan,” The Sydney Morning Herald, June 9, 2008.

Dempsey, Judy, “German Parties Press U.S. to Withdraw Nuclear Arms,” International Herald Tribune, June 23, 2008.

Franklin, Matthew, “PM Kevin Rudd’s New Mission to Ban Nuclear Weapons,” The Australian, June 10, 2008.

Garamore, Jim, “Gates Hammers Home Importance of Air Force Nuke Mission,” American Forces Press Service, June 10, 2008.

Gardham, Duncan, “Nuclear Missiles Could Blow Up ‘Like Popcorn,’” The Daily Telegraph, June 26, 2008.

Grier, Peter, “The Nuclear Wake-Up Call,” Air Force Magazine, June 2008.

Grossman, Elaine M., “NNSA Plan Addresses Science Panel’s Concerns About Producing Reliable Nuclear Cores,” Global Security Newswire, June 27, 2008.

Harrell, Eben, “Are US Nukes in Europe Secure?” TIME, June 19, 2008.

Herman, Steve, “India Prime Minister Pitches Global Nuclear Disarmament,” Voice of America, June 9, 2008.

Hodge, Nathan, and Weinberger, Sharon, “The Ever-Ready Nuclear Missileer,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, July/August 2008, p. 14.

Hodge, Nathan, and Weinberger, Sharon, A Nuclear Family Vacation: Travels in the World of Atomic Weaponry, Bloomsbury, 2008, 324 pp.

Hoffman, Michael, “Russia’s Nuclear Interest Revived,” Air Force Times, June 23, 2008.

Hoffman, Michael, “5th Bomb Wing Flunks Nuclear Inspection,” Air Force Times, June 2, 2008.

Korb, Lawrence J., “The U.S. Air Force’s Indifference Toward Nuclear Weapons,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Online, June 17, 2008.

Kristensen, Hans M., USAF Report: ‘Most’ Nuclear Weapon Sites in Europe Do Not Meet US Security Requirements, Federation of American Scientists Security Blog, June 19, 2008, 5 pp.

Kurose, Yoshinari, “U.S.: China Expanding N-Sub Fleets Deployment of Jin-class Sub at Hainan Island Sparks U.S. Funding of More Vessels,” Yomiuri Shimbun, June 5, 2008.

LaPlante, Matthew D., “HAFB-Related Nuclear Fuse Error Ousts Air Force’s Top Two Officials,” The Salt Lake Tribune, June 6, 2008.

Lewis, Jeffrey, “Minimum Deterrence,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, July/August 2008, p. 38.

Lindlaw, Scott, “Layoffs at Nuke Lab Stir Fears of a Brain Drain,” Associated Press, June 4, 2008.

Miles, Donna, “New Task Force to Examine Nuclear Weapons, Parts Control, Accountability,” American Forces Press Service, June 5, 2008.

Muñoz, Carlo, “STRATCOM Chief to Lead Nuclear Command and Control Review Panel,” Inside Missile Defense, June 18, 2008, p. 14.

Norris, Robert S., and Kristensen, Hans M., “Chinese Nuclear Forces, 2008,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, July/August 2008, p. 42.

Parameswaran, P., “Bush Exit May Pave Way for New Nuclear Security Strategy,” Agence France-Presse, June 29, 2008.

Podvig, Pavel, “The Push for a New Arms Control Agreement with Russia is Ill-Conceived,” The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Online, June 3, 2008.

RIA Novosti, “Russia Destroys 20 Ballistic Missiles in 2008 under START Treaty,” June 9, 2008.

Robbins, Carla Anne, “Thinking the Unthinkable: A World Without Nuclear Weapons,” The New York Times, June 30, 2008.

Roberts, Kristin, “Pentagon Sees Russia Strengthening Nuclear Arsenal,” Reuters, June 10, 2008.

Sevastopulo, Demetri, “US N-Weapons Parts Missing, Pentagon Says,” Financial Times, June 19, 2008.

Scoblic, J. Peter, US Nuclear Weapons Policy and Arms Control, The Stanley Foundation Policy Dialogue Brief, June 2008, 7 pp.

Stratfor, Nuclear Weapons: The Question of Relevance in the 21st Century, June 26, 2008.

Twomey, Christopher P., ed., Perspectives on Sino-American Strategic Nuclear Issues, Palgrave Macmillan, 2008, 221 pp.

Youssef, Nancy A., “Air Force Officials Out Over Mishandling of Nuclear Weapons,” McClatchy Newspapers, June 5, 2008.

II. Nuclear Proliferation

Agence France-Presse, “Malaysia Releases Sri Lankan Accused of Nuclear Links,” June 23, 2008.

Agence France-Presse, “Syria, N. Korea Helped Iran Develop Nuclear Programme: German Report,” June 22, 2008.

Bakanic, Elizabeth D., “The End of Japan’s Nuclear Taboo,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Online, June 9, 2008.

Black, Ian, “Syria planned to Supply Iran with Nuclear Fuel, Israel Says,” The Guardian, June 25, 2008.

Horner, Daniel, “Reprocessing Study Cites Limits to Proliferation Resistance,” NuclearFuel, June 2, 2008

Kessler, Glenn, “Bhutto Dealt Nuclear Secrets to N. Korea, Book Says,” The Washington Post, June 1, 2008.

Sanger, David E., “Nuclear Ring Reportedly Had Advanced Design,” The New York Times, June 15, 2008, p. A1.

Sanger, David E., and Broad, William J., “Officials Fear Bomb Design Went to Others,” The New York Times, June 16, 2008, p. A1.

Dahlkamp, Juergen, Goetz, John, and Stark, Holger, “Intelligence Agencies Undermine Nuclear Smuggling Trial,” Der Spiegel International, June 17, 2008.

Schneidmiller, Chris, “Nuclear Power Program Boosts Proliferation Threat, Experts Argue,” Global Security Newswire, June 24, 2008.

USA Today, “Our View on National Security: Fallout from Pakistani ‘Hero’ Poses Grave Nuclear Threat,” June 19, 2008.

Warrick, Joby, “Smugglers Had Design for Advanced Warhead,” The Washington Post, June 15, 2008, p. A1.

Weinberger, Sharon, Scary Things That Don’t Exist: Separating Myth from Reality in Future WMD, The Stanley Foundation, June 2008, 10 pp.


Associated Press, “No Progress after Indian Leaders Meet on Future of Controversial US Nuclear Deal,” June 25, 2008.

Bhatt, Sheila, “PM Wants to Quit over Nuclear Deal,” Rediff, June 19, 2008.

Dikshit, Sandeep, “Regional Route to Disarmament Won’t Help,” The Hindu, June 10, 2008.

Hibbs, Mark, and Saraf, Sunil, “Nuclear Deal with US Falters as Indians Head for the Polls,” Nucleonics Week, June 5, 2008.

Jaffer, Mehru, “Effectiveness of Indian N-Safeguards Questioned at IAEA Meet,” Thaindian News, June 3, 2008.

Luce, Edward, and Dombey, Daniel, “US Signals End of Line for India Agreement,” Financial Times, June 11, 2008.

McGuirk, Rod, “Indian Minister Accepts That It Can’t Buy Uranium from Australia,” Associated Press, June 23, 2008.

Mukherjee, Krittivas, “Nuclear Deal or Early Polls, India May Learn Soon,” Reuters, June 24, 2008.

Parija, Pratik, “India Needs Nuclear Technology for Its Energy Needs, Singh Says,” Bloomberg, June 9, 2008.

Ridge, Mian, “India at an Impasse over Civilian Nuclear Deal,” Christian Science Monitor, June 26, 2008.

Sands, David R., “Left Parties Block Nuclear Deal with U.S.; Allies to Meet in New Delhi,” The Washington Times, June 25, 2008.

Sibal, Kanwal, “A Disarming Initiative—Where Should India Position Itself on the Elimination Issue?” The Telegraph, June 18, 2008.

The Times of India, “Allies to Sonia: Back Down on Nuclear Deal,” June 23, 2008.

The Times of India, “To Save N-Deal, PM Says India Won’t Sign CTBT,” June 12, 2008.


Agence France-Presse, “US Removes Chinese Firm from Sanctions Blacklist over Iran,” June 20, 2008.

Agence France-Presse, “Iran warns of ‘Strong Blow’ if Israel Attacks,” June 20, 2008.

Agence France-Presse, “Khamenei Rejects Charges Iran Seeking Nuclear Bomb,” June 3, 2008

Asculai, Ephraim, and Landau, Emily B., The Belated Message from the IAEA on Iran, Institute for National Security Studies Insight No. 59, June 8, 2008.

Al-Arabiya, “IAEA Director-General Dr. Muhammad Al-Baradei: Iran Can Produce Enough Enriched Uranium for a Nuclear Bomb in Six Months to a Year,” June 20, 2008.

Associated Press, “European Diplomats Say New Iran Sanctions are Unlikely for Months,” June 20, 2008.

Associated Press, “Russia’s Lavrov Warns Against Attack on Iran,” June 20, 2008.

Associated Press, “Israel Says World Must be Ready to Use Force Against Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions,” June 3, 2008.

Cooper, Helene, “Bush May End Term With Iran Issue Unsettled,” The New York Times, June 21, 2008.

David, Ariel, “Former U.N. Weapons Inspector Hans Blix Rips U.S. Approach to Iran’s Nuclear Program,” Associated Press, June 12, 2008.

The Economic Times, “Iran Seeks India’s Help for N-Plans,” June 3, 2008.

Hafezi, Parisa, and Dahl, Fredrik, “Iran Says EU Sanctions Could Hurt Nuclear Diplomacy,” Reuters, June 24, 2008.

Heinrich, Mark, and Strohecker, Karin, “Developing States Back U.N. Probe of Iran Bomb Claims,” Reuters, June 4, 2008.

Heller, Jeffrey, “Leaked Israeli Drill Seen as U.S. Pressure on Iran,” Reuters, June 22, 2008.

Institute for Science and International Security, Text of Latest Diplomatic Offer to Iran, June 16, 2008, 6 pp.

Kamaali, Mohammad, “CASMII Exclusive: Interview with Iran’s Ambassador to IAEA,” Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran, June 29, 2008.

Kerr, Paul, Iran’s Nuclear Program: Status, Congressional Research Service, June 23, 2008, 16 pp.

Miller, James, Parthemore, Christine, and Campbell, Kurt, eds., Iran: Assessing U.S. Strategic Options (Draft), Center for a New American Security, June 2008, 111 pp.

Neuger, James, “EU Widens Iran Sanctions, Shuts Bank Melli’s European Offices,” Bloomberg, June 23, 2008.

Peterson, Scott, “Iran’s Nuclear Program: Will More Sanctions Work?” The Christian Science Monitor, June 13, 2008.

Peterson, Scott, “Nuclear Report: Parsing Iran’s Intent,” The Christian Science Monitor, June 5, 2008.

Press TV, “Iran Proposes Nuclear-Fuel Consortium,” June 28, 2008.

Redaelli, Riccardo, Why Selective Engagement? Iranian and Western Interests Are Closer Than You Think, The Stanley Foundation, June 2008, 12 pp.

Reuters, “Iran Demands Security Council Action on Israel Threat,” June 7, 2008.

Siddique, Haroon, “‘Unavoidable’ Attack on Iran Looms, Says Israeli Minister,” The Guardian, June 6, 2008.

Stockman, Farah, “Interest Grows for International Iran Atom Plant,” The Boston Globe, June 10, 2008.

Trevelyan, Mark, “Iran Bank’s UK Unit to Challenge Nuclear Sanctions,” Reuters, June 24, 2008.

Weiss, Stanley A., “Wielding a Small Stick,” International Herald Tribune, June 6, 2008.

Wheeler, Carolynne, and Shipman, Tim, “Israel Has a Year to Stop Iran Bomb, Warns Ex-Spy,” The Daily Telegraph, June 29, 2008.


Agence France-Presse, “Syria Says Israel Should Face Nuclear Checks,” June 3, 2008.

Cordesman, Anthony H., Israeli Weapons of Mass Destruction: An Overview, Center for Strategic and International Studies, June 2, 2008, 12 pp.

Ferziger, Jonathan, “Olmert Says Peace With Syria Could Transform Middle East,” Bloomberg, June 3, 2008.


Associated Press, “New Trial Opens of German Accused of Aiding Libyan Nuclear Program,” International Herald Tribune, June 5, 2008.

North Korea

Agence France-Presse, “Negotiators to Speed up Energy Aid to North Korea,” June 11, 2008.

Alabaster, Jay, “Japan Launches Raids in North Korea Nuclear Case,” Associated Press, June 12, 2008.

Associated Press, “Chronology of North Korean Nuclear Activities,” June 28, 2008.

Bajoria, Jayshree, The China-North Korea Relationship, Council on Foreign Relations Backgrounder, June 18, 2008.

Bolton, John, “The Tragic End of Bush’s North Korea Policy,” The Wall Street Journal, June 30, 2008, p. A13.

Carmichael, Lachlan, “Rice Heads to Asia for Critical N. Korea Nuclear Talks,” Agence France-Press, June 23, 2008.

Coleman, Joseph, “Japan to Partially Lift Sanctions on North Korea,” Associated Press, June 16, 2008.

Cooper, Helene, “U.S. May Have Overestimated North Korea’s Plutonium,” International Herald Tribune, June 1, 2008.

Gearan, Anne, “US Official Says Pyongyang OK’d Verification,” Associated Press, June 26, 2008.

Hanna, Jason, “North Korea’s Motivation? Survival, Experts Say,” CNN, June 27, 2008.

Harden, Blaine, and Kim, Stella, “N. Korea Razes Cooling Tower in Show of Nuclear Accord,” The Washington Post, June 28, 2008, p. A10.

Harden, Blaine, and Wright, Robin, “U.S. to Delist North Korea As Sponsor Of Terrorism,” The Washington Post, June 27, 2008, p. A1.

Herman, Burt, “North Korea Nuclear Accounting Won’t Include the Bombs,” Associated Press, June 25, 2008.

Hunt, Terence, “Bush Falls Short of Grand Goals on North Korea,” Associated Press, June 26, 2008.

Kessler, Glenn, “New Data Found on North Korea’s Nuclear Capacity,” The Washington Post, June 21, 2008.

Klingner, Bruce, Limited Progress on North Korean Denuclearization: Critical Questions Lie Ahead, The Heritage Foundation WebMemo #1974, June 26, 2008.

Kubota, Yoko, “Japan Police Investigate North Korea Nuclear Plant Find,” Reuters, June 12, 2008.

MacFarquhar, Neil, “North Korea Didn’t Dupe U.N. Office, Reports Say,” The New York Times, June 3, 2008.

Stobel, Warren P., “How Did Bush Policy Lead to a Deal with North Korea?” McClatchy Newspapers, June 26, 2006.

Tiron, Roxana, “Bill Says U.S. Can Pay North Korea for Destroying Nukes,” The Hill, June 29, 2008.


Agence France-Presse, “Former UN Inspector Holds Slim Hope US Will Take up A.Q. Khan Cause,” June 19, 2008.

Associated Press, “Lawmakers Ask Rice to Get US Access to Pakistani Nuclear Arms Smuggler A.Q. Khan,” June 26, 2008.

Dahlkamp, Juergen, Goetz, John, and Stark, Holger, “Intelligence Agencies Undermine Nuclear Smuggling Trial,” Der Spiegel, June 17, 2008.

Hibbs, Mark, “Pakistan’s Bomb: Mission Unstoppable,” Nonproliferation Review, July 2008, p. 381.

Shah, Saeed, “Pakistan Nuclear Scientist Denies Selling Bomb Secrets,” McClatchy Newspapers, June 4, 2008.

Siddiqui, Tayyab, “The A.Q. Khan Dossier,” The Post, June 23, 2008.

Zubeiri, Sami, “Pakistan’s Khan Denies Selling Advanced Nuke Blueprint,” Agence France-Presse, June 17, 2008.

South Korea

Hibbs, Mark, “Pyroprocessing Proliferation Issues Can Be Solved, Korean Experts Say,” NuclearFuel, June 16, 2008.

Horner, Daniel, and Hibbs, Mark, “US Debating Whether Pyroprocessing Qualifies as Reprocessing for Korea,” NuclearFuel, June 2, 2008.

Na, Jeong-ju, “IAEA Confirms Korea Uses Atomic Energy Peacefully,” The Korea Times, June 3, 2008.


Agence France-Presse, “IAEA Chief Hits Out at Israel Again over Syria Attack,” June 9, 2008.

Agence France-Presse, “Assad Pledges to Work with UN Nuclear Inspectors,” June 5, 2008.

Broad, William J., “U.N. Nuclear Inspectors to Visit Syria,” The New York Times, June 3, 2008, p. A6.

Baghdadi, George, “Nuke Agency to End Hushed-Up Syria Mission,” CBS News, June 25, 2008.

Cordesman, Anthony H., Syrian Weapons of Mass Destruction: An Overview, Center for Strategic and International Studies, June 2, 2008, 20 pp.

Dakroub, Hussein, “UN Experts Probe Alleged Nuclear Program in Syria,” Associated Press, June 23, 2008.

Ersan, Inal, “Syria Lacks Skills, Fuel for Nuclear Facility: IAEA,” Reuters, June 17, 2008.

Jahn, George, “IAEA Probe Inconclusive on Suspected Nuke Site,” Associated Press, June 26, 2008.

Jahn, George, “Diplomats: 3 Suspect Syrian Nuke Sites Off Limits,” Associated Press, June 3, 2008.

Reuters, “Syria Wants Nuclear Energy under Arab Umbrella,” June 3, 2008.

Wright, Robin, “Syria to Meet with Weapons Inspectors About Site Bombed by Israel,” The Washington Post, June 3, 2008, p. A10.

III. Nonproliferation

Afrasiabi, Kaveh L., “The Myth of ‘Weapons-Grade Enrichment,’” The Asia Times, June 24, 2008.

Associated Press, “Nuclear Official Calls for India, Pakistan, Israel, and North Korea to Join Disarmament Talks,” June 10, 2008.

Ban, Ki-moon, “Universality of Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Remains Priority,” United Nations Department of Public Information, June 30, 2008.

Bender, Brian, “Bush Fails to Appoint a Nuclear Terror Czar,” The Boston Globe, June 22, 2008.

Commission of Eminent Persons, Reinforcing the Global Nuclear Order for Peace and Prosperity: The Role of the IAEA to 2020 and Beyond, International Atomic Energy Agency, May 2008, 42 pp.

Deen, Thalif, “2020 Vision Aimed at Dismantling Nukes,” Inter Press Service, June 30, 2008.

Eckel, Mike, “Russia Shutters 2nd of Its 3 Remaining Plutonium Reactors,” Associated Press, June 5, 2008.

Hess, Pamela, “Official: US Needs to be Nuclear Black Market’s Biggest Customer in Order to Stop It,” Associated Press, June 16, 2008.

Kimball, Daryl G., Prospects for U.S. Ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, Arms Control Association Background Paper, June 10, 2008, 9 pp.

MacLachlan, Ann, and Horner, Daniel, “IAEA Makes Little Headway on Fuel Assurances at June Meeting,” NuclearFuel, June 16, 2008.

National Nuclear Security Administration, U.S. and Bulgaria Cooperate to Prevent Smuggling of Nuclear and Radioactive Material, June 18, 2008.

Peel, Michael, “Watchdog Calls for Terror Funding Checks,” Financial Times, June 23, 2008.

Schneidmiller, Chris, “New Strategy Needed for Preventing Proliferation of WMD Expertise from Former Soviet Union, Report Says,” Global Security Newswire, June 5, 2008.

Waterman, Shaun, “Analysis: WMD Terror Commission Starts Up,” United Press International, June 2, 2008.

IV. Missiles and Missile Defense

Agence France-Presse, “Report: Poland May Let Russia Inspect Missile Site,” June 5, 2008.

Agence France-Presse, “S. Korea to Buy Radar to Detect N. Korea Missiles,” June 26, 2008.

Associated Press, “Lawmaker Says Poland and US Are Close to Decisions on Missile Defense Shield,” June 29, 2008

Associated Press, “US Military Shoots Down Separating Missile in Test,” June 26, 2008.

Baldor, Lolita C., “Gates, Chinese Defense Official Tangle Over Military Growth, Missile Defense System,” Associated Press, June 2, 2008.

Bruno, Michael, “Capitol Hill Buzz: Changing MDA Priorities,” Aviation Week, June 25, 2008.

Butler, Desmond, “Testing Could Delay Missile Defense Plans,” Associated Press, June 23, 2008.

Butler, Desmond, “Czech Foreign Minister Says US Could Complete Missile Defense Plans Without Poland,” Associated Press, June 11, 2008.

Cirincione, Joe, “The Incredible Shrinking Missile Threat,” Foreign Policy, May/June 2008.

Dombey, Daniel, Sevastopulo, Demetri, and Cienski, Jan, “US Enters Missile Talks with Lithuania,” Financial Times, June 18, 2008.

Finnegan, Tom, “Military Hits Target for Missile Defense,” The Star Bulletin, June 6, 2008.

Gertz, Bill, “China Missile Test,” The Washington Times, June 12, 2008.

Huessy, Peter, “A Free Ride for Tehran’s Missiles,” The Washington Times, June 9, 2008.

Office of Operational Test and Evaluation, European GMD Mission Test Concept, U.S. Department of Defense October 1, 2007, 38 pp.

Press TV, “Israel to Test Iron Dome Interceptor,” June 11, 2008.

RIA Novosti, “Poland Reiterates U.S. Missile Defense ‘No Threat to Russia,’” June 10, 2008.

Shanker, Thom, “Belgium: Gates Pushes NATO Missile Defense System,” The New York Times, June 13, 2008, p. A10.

Sieff, Martin, “BMD Watch: PAC-3 MSE Test Success,” United Press International, June 19, 2008.

Spring, Baker, “US Should Defy China-Russia on Missile Defense,” Spero News, June 30, 2008.

Trevelyan, Mark, “U.S. Explores Anti-Missile Scheme for Flight Zones,” Reuters, June 26, 2008.

United Press International, “Russian Official: Talks with U.S. Stalled,” June 22, 2008.

Wilber, Del Quentin, “Man Who Sold Missile Technology to India Receives 35-Month Sentence,” The Washington Post, June 17, 2008, p. D2.

V. Chemical and Biological Arms

Associated Press, “Russia Opens 4th Chemical Weapons Destruction Plant,” June 17, 2008.

The Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, Federal Funding for Biological Weapons Prevention and Defense, Fiscal Years 2001 to 2009, May 27, 2008, 19 pp.

Danzig, Richard, Preparing for Catastrophic Bioterrorism: Toward a Long-Term Strategy for Limiting the Risk, Center for Technology and National Security Policy, May 2008, 51 pp.

Eckert, Dirk, “Germany to Help Russia Destroy Chemical Weapons Stockpile,” Deutsche Welle, June 10, 2008.

Fox, Maggie, “US Detector Sniffs Out Biological, Chemical Threats,” Reuters, June 12, 2008.

Gambrell, Jon, “Pine Bluff Arsenal Finishes VX Weapons Destruction,” Associated Press, June 24, 2008.

Hickey, Shane, “Toxic Gas to be Destroyed at Army Base,” Independent, June 12, 2008.

ITAR-TASS, “OPCW to Prevent Chemical Weapons from Falling to Terrorists,” June 18, 2008.

Oliver, Shari, Lieggi, Stephanie, and Moodie, Amanda, “Program to Clean-up Abandoned Chemical Weapons in China Moves Sluggishly,” WMD Insights, June 2008.

Reeves, Jay, “Army: US Chemical Weapons Incineration on Track,” Associated Press, June 5, 2008.

Robinson, Bill, “Enhanced Nerve Gas Monitoring, Warning Sought,” Richmond Register, June 12, 2008.

Sinha, Kounteya, “India to Test Vaccine against Anthrax,” The Times of India, June 5, 2008.

Solovyov, Dmitry, “Russia Steps Up Destruction of Chemical Weapons,” Reuters, June 16, 2008.

Tri-City Herald, “Depot Destroys Last of 155mm VX Projectiles,” June 29, 2008.

Xinhua, “Survey: Most Indian Scientists Refuse to Design Biological Weapons,” June 16, 2008.

VI. Conventional Arms

Abramson, Jeff, “Treaty Likely to Set International Standard against Use of Cluster Munitions,” World Politics Review, June 2, 2008.

Agence France-Presse, “UN Clears Cluster Bombs from Areas of South Lebanon,” June 4, 2008.

Associated Press, “US Attorney General Urges Prompt Extradition of Alleged Russian Arms Dealer from Thailand,” International Herald Tribune, June 11, 2008.

Bajak, Frank, “Ecuador Buys Planes, Radar for Border,” Associated Press June 26, 2008.

Benton, Shaun, “South Africa: Gov’t Refuses Non-Cooperation as German Authorities Drop Arms Deal Probe,” BuaNews, June 26, 2008.

Cancel, Daniel, “Venezuela Test Fires Russian Missiles from Sukhoi, Battleship,” Bloomberg, June 6, 2008.

Esposito, Richard, “International Arms Trader Will Stand Trial in US,” ABC News, June 6, 2008.

Isbister, Roy, EU: Rethinking the Arms Export Code, ISN Security Watch, June 6, 2008.

Kessler, Glenn, “Top U.S. Officials Stalling Taiwan Arms Package,” The Washington Post, June 12, 2008, p. A14.

Kommersant, “Turkmenistan Buys Russian Weapons,” June 24, 2008.

Koumbo, Sy, North Kivu: UN Security Council Demands the Disarmament of Militia Groups, United Nations MONUC, June 10, 2008.

Krieger, Hilary Leila, “United States May Lift Ban on Sale of F-22 Aircraft to Israel,” The San Francisco Sentinel, June 5, 2008.

Lindow, Megan, “The Landmine-Sniffing Rats of Mozambique,” TIME, June 2, 2008.

Malik, Sajjad, “Pakistan to Get Four F-16 Fighter Jets on 28th,” Daily Times, June 19, 2008.

Mbale, David Mafabi, “Uganda: UPDF Meets Students to End Arms Trafficking,” The Monitor, June 3, 2008.

Minnick, Wendell, “U.S. Freezes $12B in Arms Sales to Taiwan,” Defense News, June 9, 2008.

The New York Times, “Cluster Bombs, Made in America,” June 1, 2008.

Schmitt, Eric, “American Envoy Is Linked to Arms Deal Cover-Up,” The New York Times, June 23, 2008.

Sithole-Matarise, Emelia, “African NGOs Urge Regional Arms Freeze on Zimbabwe,” Reuters, June 5, 2008.

Spiegel, Peter, “China Defends Military Buildup,” Los Angeles Times, June 1, 2008.

Smith, Michael, “Army ‘Vacuum’ Missile Hits Taliban,” Times Online, June 22, 2008.

Norton-Taylor, Richard, “Campaigners Seek Tougher Arms Sales Code,” The Guardian, June 6, 2008.

Tigner, Brooks, “MEPs Urge Binding EU Rules on Arms Exports,” Jane’s, June 12, 2008.

UNICEF, The Impact of Small Arms on Children and Adolescents in Central America and Caribbean: A Case Study of El Salvador, Guatemala, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, June 5, 2008, 1 pp.

UN News Service, “UN Workshop on Tracing Small Arms Opens in Brazil,” June 11, 2008.

U.S. Department of State, To Walk the Earth in Safety: The United States' Commitment to Humanitarian Mine Action and Conventional Weapons Destruction (7th edition), June 3, 2008, 31 pp.

Uzuka, Takeshi, and Ryuko Tadokoro, “Japanese Taxpayers Face Heavy Burden over Cluster Bomb Ban,” Mainichi Daily News, June 10, 2008.

Williams, Jody, Goose, Stephen D., and Wareham, Mary, eds., Banning Landmines: Disarmament, Citizen Diplomacy, and Human Security, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2008, 327 pp.

Wolf, Jim, “Pentagon Eyes $200 Mln Bomb, Missile Sale to S. Korea,” Reuters, June 23, 2008.

VII. U.S. Policy

Agence France-Press, “US Congress Approves Israel Aid Increase,” June 28, 2008.

Alvarez, Robert, “U.S.-Russian Nuclear Agreement Raises Serious Concerns,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Online, June 16, 2008.

Bohan, Caren, “Obama Vows to Stop Iran from Having Nuclear Arms,” Reuters, June 4, 2008.

Bolton, John, “Obama the Naive,” Los Angeles Times, June 5, 2008

Daalder, Ivo, and Gordon, Philip, “Talking to Iran Is Our Best Option,” The Washington Post, June 29, 2008, p. B7.

Finley, Bruce, “Defense Chief Vows Change in Military Culture,” The Denver Post, June 10, 2008.

Goldenberg, Ilan, “Talking to Iran Is Not So Controversial,” The American Prospect Online, June 25, 2008.

Kessler, Glenn, “Europe Fears Obama Might Undercut Progress with Iran,” The Washington Post, June 22, 2008, p. A14.

Mazzetti, Mark, and Shane, Scott, “Senate Panel Accuses Bush of Iraq Exaggerations,” The New York Times, June 5, 2008.

Perle, Richard, “Coalition of the Ineffectual,” The Washington Post, June 26, 2008, p. A19.

Rice, Condoleezza, “U.S. Policy Toward Asia,” Heritage Foundation, June 18, 2008.

Rovenger, Josh, “Obama vs. McCain on Nuclear Proliferation,” American Chronicle, June 10, 2008.

Sigger, Jason, “Spying Bill Redefines WMDs,” Wired News, June 25, 2008.

Stolberg, Sheryl Gay, and Dugger, Celia W., “Zimbabwe Faces Wider Sanctions under Bush Plan,” The New York Times, June 29, 2008.

VIII. Space

Agence France-Presse, “Japan Appoints First Space Development Minister: Officials,” June 17, 2008.

Asia News International, “Terrorists Would be able to Launch Strikes on Satellites by 2020,” June 30, 2008.

Boyd, Alan, “China Takes on the US - In Space,” The Asia Times, June 6, 2008.

Buckley, Chris, “China Experts Warn of Expanding Space Arms Race,” Reuters, June 2, 2008.

Chada, Sudhir, “India Develops Space Cell to Counter Chinese Threat in Space,” The India Daily, June 10, 2008.

Clark, Stephen, “Russian Proton Rocket Launches Military Satellite,” Spaceflight Now, June 30, 2008.

Day, Dwayne A., “Paper Dragon: The Pentagon’s Unreliable Statements on the Chinese Space Program,” The Space Review, June 23, 2008.

Express India, “India Needs Space Command to Counter China: Army,” June 16, 2008.

Gallagher, Nancy, and Steinbruner, John, “Reconsidering the Rules for Space Security,” American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2008, 98 pp.

Grant, Rebecca, “Vulnerability in Space,” Air Force Magazine, June 2008, p. 24.

Hitchens, Theresa, “COPUOS Wades Into the Next Great Space Debate,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Online, June 26, 2008.

Lim, Robyn, “Japan’s ‘Militarisation’ of Space?” Gulf News, June 11, 2008.

Matthews, William, “Analysts: Treaty Would Protect Sats Better Than Sensors,” C4ISR Journal, June 10, 2008.

Reuters, “Space to Get Boost in French Defence Review,” June 5, 2008.

RIA Novosti, “Russia Eyeing New Launch Services Deal with US,” June 9, 2008.

Sadeh, Eligar, “Space Policy Questions and Decisions Facing a New Administration,” The Space Review, June 9, 2008.

Sands, David R., “China, India Hasten Arms Race in Space; U.S. Dominance Challenged,” The Washington Times, June 25, 2008, p. A1.

Shalal-Esa, Andrea, “US Military Sees Rising Demand for Satellites,” Reuters, June 2, 2008.

IX. Other

Agence France-Presse, “Britain Signs Nuclear Deal with Energy-Parched Jordan,” June 30, 2008.

Agence France-Presse, “Canada, Jordan Sign Nuclear Co-Operation Deal,” June 29, 2008.

Ahmad, Tufail, Emerging Crisis in Pakistan-U.S. Relations, The Middle East Media Research Institute, June 20, 2008.

Associated Press, “US, Turkey Reach Nuclear Energy Deal,” International Herald Tribune, June 3, 2008.

Bennhold, Katrin, and Erlanger, Steven, “In Defense Policy, France Turns to U.S. and Europe,” The New York Times, June 17, 2008.

Butler, Desmond, “US-Russia Nuclear Deal Faces Bipartisan Opposition,” Associated Press, June 24, 2008.

Debusmann, Bernd, “Nuclear Renaissance or Nuclear Illusion?” Reuters, June 4, 2008.

Dobbs, Michael, “Cool Crisis Management? It’s a Myth. Ask JFK,” The Washington Post, June 22, 2008, p. B1.

Dobbs, Michael, One Minute to Midnight: Kennedy, Khrushchev, and Castro on the Brink of Nuclear War, Alfred A. Knopf, 2008, 426 pp.

Einhorn Robert, Rose Gottemoeller, Fred McGoldrick, Dan Poneman, and Jon Wolfsthal, The U.S.-Russia Civil Nuclear Agreement: A Framework for Cooperation, Center for Strategic and International Studies, May 2008, 99 pp.

Fain, Travis, “Nunn Shares a Variety of Views from Iraq to Nuclear Detonation,” The Telegraph, June 13, 2008.

Graham-Silverman, Adam, “Language Blocking Nuke Deal with Russia Snarls Iran Sanctions Bill,” Congressional Quarterly, June 17, 2008.

The International Institute for Strategic Studies, Nuclear Programmes in the Middle East: In the Shadow of Iran, May 20, 2008, 172 pp.

Moubayed, Sami, “Iraq Takes a Turn Towards Tehran,” Asia Times, June 17, 2008.

Munger, Frank, “Uranium Site to Get Upgrade,” Knoxville News Sentinel, June 4, 2008.

Nikitin, Mary Beth, U.S.-Russian Civilian Nuclear Cooperation Agreement: Issues for Congress, Congressional Research Service, June 9, 2008, 6 pp.

Patel, Nirav, and Singh, Vikram, “Washington Should Pay Attention to Russian Moves in the Asia-Pacific,” World Politics Review, June 13, 2008.

Photonics, “Solid-State Laser Milestone,” June 5, 2008.

RIA Novosti, “Russia’s Defense Chief Says Disputes Hold Back Ties with NATO,” June 13, 2008.

Satter, Raphael G., “UK Terror Suspect Says Bombs Were Stunt,” Associated Press, June 2, 2008.

Scheer, Robert, “Wasteful Weapons and the Pols Who Love Them,” The Nation, June 25, 2008.

Solovyov, Dmitry, “Russia to Cut Army to One Million,” Reuters, June 23, 2008.

Totty, Michael, “The Case For and Against Nuclear Power,” The Wall Street Journal, June 30, 2008, p. A30.

United Press International, “Russian Leader Seeks U.S.-EU Pact,” June 6, 2008.

Weymouth, Lally, “A Conversation with King Abdullah of Jordan,” The Washington Post, June 22, 2008, p. B3.

Editor's Note

Miles A. Pomper

When a new U.S. president takes office in January 2009, he will be confronted with a host of arms control and nonproliferation challenges.

At the top of his list should be finding a way to preserve the strategic reassurance provided by START I, which is set to expire in December 2009; chart a way to further U.S.-Russian strategic arms reductions beyond those already underway; and resolve differences with Moscow over a planned U.S. missile defense system in Europe. In our cover story this month, Alexei Arbatov and Rose Gottemoeller offer detailed proposals on how to accomplish those goals.

The next six months could help determine the choices that the next U.S. leader faces in addressing Iran’s controversial nuclear program. Vigorous diplomacy, forceful international pressure, and tough questioning by the International Atomic Energy Agency might help set the stage for a compromise between Iran and the international community. Otherwise, the world could be closer to facing an unpalatable choice: dealing with a nuclear-weapon-capable Iran or seeing either Israel or the United States attack Iran’s nuclear facilities. Leonard S. Spector and Avner Cohen explain how Israel’s September 2007 attack on Syria’s alleged plutonium-production reactor provides important insight in this regard.

The president will also have to work hard to prevent a nuclear terrorist attack. Daniel H. Chivers, Bethany F. Lyles Goldblum, Brett H. Isselhardt, and Jonathan S. Snider lay out a formula for trying to reduce this danger by using nuclear forensics techniques and common nuclear security standards to minimize the danger that terrorists could acquire fissile material for nuclear weapons.

As the president tackles these difficult issues, he will have an invaluable tool: the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), which celebrates its 40th birthday this month. In our “Looking Back” section this month, George Bunn, one of the drafters of the NPT, and John B. Rhinelander describe some of the historic developments that brought about the treaty and chart out a course for its future.

Our news section this month covers some historic milestones: the completion of a Cluster Munitions Convention and progress in eliminating North Korea’s nuclear program. It also includes articles probing the Bush administration’s claims of success for its Proliferation Security Initiative and its evolving long-range missile defense project.


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