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  • Author: Henry Sokolski
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Nonproliferation Policy Education Center
  • Abstract: In the next decade, it is all too likely that the past success of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in preventing the further spread of nuclear weapons among the world’s nations will be reversed. Three trends make more proliferation likely. First is the decay of nuclear taboos. Second, and arguably worse, is renewed vertical proliferation—the increase in size and sophistication of nuclear arsenals by states that already have them. Third, the technical information to fuel nuclear breakouts and ramp-ups is more available now than in the past. These trends toward increased proliferation are not yet facts. The author describes three steps the international community could take to save the NPT: making further withdrawals from the NPT unattractive; clamping down on the uneconomical stockpiling and civilian use of nuclear weapons materials (plutonium and highly enriched uranium); and giving real meaning to efforts to limit the threats that existing nuclear weapons pose.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, Treaties and Agreements, Nuclear Power, Disarmament, Nonproliferation
  • Political Geography: Russia, North Korea, Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Daniel R. Russel
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Asia Society Policy Institute
  • Abstract: After decades of broken promises and failed diplomatic efforts, North Korea has become a nuclear power. Kim Jong Un’s charm offensive over the past year, as seen in summit meetings with U.S. President Donald Trump and other leaders, has enabled him to shed his pariah status without shedding his nuclear weapons. While Kim has frozen testing, he continues to expand the country’s nuclear arsenal, defy and evade Security Council resolutions, and is now getting support from China in his call for sanctions relief. In the wake of the failed February 2019 Hanoi Summit, North Korea is warning of a return to testing by year’s end. But even if Kim were to reverse course and agree to freeze his entire nuclear and missile program, North Korea’s capacity to threaten the U.S. and its allies with a formidable arsenal would be undiminished. What’s worse, Kim seems to be turning to a powerful new weapon of mass destruction to gain leverage. Asia Society Policy Institute (ASPI) Vice President for International Security and Diplomacy Daniel Russel asserts in this ASPI issue paper that North Korea’s next weapon of choice is likely to be cyber: a high-impact, low-cost, and low-risk digital-age weapon that North Korea already can and does use to steal money, hack secrets, and terrorize nations. In the 5G era, developed nations such as the United States are particularly vulnerable. North Korean cyber-attacks have already succeeded in crippling critical overseas infrastructure and stealing hundreds of millions of dollars, reducing the efficacy of international sanctions. Future Scenarios: What to Expect from a Nuclear North Korea details the consequences of North Korea’s slow but steady trajectory toward acceptance as a nuclear power. The report highlights the urgency of focusing U.S. national security efforts against the threat from North Korea’s rapidly growing cyber warfare capability. Russel writes that the combined threat from North Korea’s nuclear and cyber programs can only be reduced through “coercive containment” — a multi-pronged strategy of diplomacy, defense, deterrence, and denial that will require substantial cooperation among key international players.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, Nuclear Power, Cybersecurity, Donald Trump, Kim Jong-un
  • Political Geography: Asia, North Korea, United States of America
  • Author: Melissa Hanham
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies
  • Abstract: The most impressive discovery was North Korea’s Kangson uranium-enrichment facility. CNS believes it to be the first time this facility has been identified or analyzed in the open-source literature. It represents the possibility that North Korea has been producing—and can continue to produce—as much, if not more, fissile material for nuclear weapons than it could have using the only previously known enrichment site at Yongbyon. The first section of this report discusses the evolution of the platform: from the conception of Geo4Nonpro 1.0 and the initial training of G4N team members, to the lessons learned during the first phase of the project and how these lessons fed into the platform’s continued development. The second section describes the launch of Geo4Nonpro 2.0, its new features, and highlights news stories that featured Geo4Nonpro and the central role that it played in many of these discoveries. This is followed by an analysis of each campaign. Lastly, the team proposes the next steps and future applications for this innovative platform.
  • Topic: Nuclear Weapons, Science and Technology, Nuclear Power, Emerging Technology
  • Political Geography: Asia, North Korea
  • Author: Melissa Hanham
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies
  • Abstract: Although uranium mining and milling constitute the first step in any nuclear-weapons program, nuclear nonproliferation analysts have devoted surprisingly little attention to monitoring these processes. Understanding and monitoring uranium mines and mills can provide deeper insight into fissile-material production. This report focuses on the insights gleaned from remotely sensed images of known Chinese uranium mines and mills to understand the current status of uranium mining and milling in North Korea.
  • Topic: Nuclear Weapons, Nuclear Power, Surveillance, Mining, Uranium
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North Korea
  • Author: Joshua Pollack, Scott LaFoy
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies
  • Abstract: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has described research and development as crucial to his regime’s efforts to overcome the international sanctions regime. By developing key technologies indigenously, North Korea seeks to reduce its need to import sensitive goods that might otherwise be denied to it through export controls, sanctions enforcement, or lack of funds. Direct collaboration between North Korean and foreign scientists is playing an expanding role in the regime’s pursuit of technological advancement. To assess the extent of this activity, and to identify collaborative research involving dual-use technologies and other technologies of potential military significance, the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS) of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey developed a new dataset capturing publications coauthored by North Korean scientists and foreign scientists between 1958 and April 2018.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Military Strategy, Military Affairs, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: Asia, North Korea
  • Author: Alon Levkowitz
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies (BESA)
  • Abstract: Kim Jung-un’s new year declaration that North Korea will test its new ICBM this year (2017) poses a further challenge to the incoming Trump administration. It is truly a “rogue state” – a country that conducts nuclear tests in defiance of the UN Security Council, and that is willing to sell conventional and non-conventional weapons to other rogue regimes, including Israel’s enemies. The nuclear cooperation between North Korea, Syria and Iran forces Israel into new alliances to counter this threat.
  • Topic: Nuclear Weapons, International Security, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: North Korea, Global Focus
  • Author: Shane Smith
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Nonproliferation Policy Education Center
  • Abstract: On February 12, 2013, North Korea’s state media announced that it had conducted a third nuclear test “of a smaller and light A-bomb unlike the previous ones, yet with great explosive power…demonstrating the good performance of the DPRK's nuclear deterrence that has become diversified.”[1] Since then, there has been renewed debate and speculation over the nature and direction of North Korea’s nuclear program. Can it develop weapons using both plutonium and uranium? How far away is it from having a deliverable warhead and how capable are its delivery systems? How many and what kind of weapons is it looking to build? These are not easy questions to answer. North Korea remains one of the most notoriously secret nations, and details about its nuclear program are undoubtedly some of its most valued secrets. Yet, the answers to these questions have far reaching implications for U.S. and regional security.
  • Topic: Nuclear Weapons, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: North Korea