Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey 

CORRECTION: The next short course for practitioners of nuclear nonproliferation policy will be held July 6-10, 2015, in Washington, DC. Applications are due TODAY, June 29. 

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June 2015

Assessing the NPT Review Conference Outcome

Amb. Taous Feroukhi, IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano, CNS Director William Potter, and CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo

Over three dozen senior diplomats, several nongovernmental experts, as well as the heads of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), met in Baden, Austria, on June 14-15 to analyze the outcome of the 2015 Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).  The conference was the second, annual retreat organized by the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation (VCDNP) with the support of the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Austrian Ministry for Europe, Integration, and Foreign Affairs.


Is the "Islamic State" a Radioactive Threat?


Dirty bomb exercise, Source: California National Guard via Flicker


George M. Moore, CNS's scientist-in-residence, challenges the common headlines meant to "catch the eye of the potential reader and/or raise their level of concern" by positing that the self-described Islamic State, or ISIL, "could pose a radioactive threat."


He writes: "Is there a real potential that ISIL could produce a "dirty bomb" and inflict radiation casualties and property damage in the United States, Europe, or any other state that might oppose ISIL as part of the recently formed US-led coalition? What are the confirmed facts? What are reasonable assumptions about the situation in ISIL-controlled areas and what is a realistic assessment of the level of possible threat?"


IAEA Director General Amano Keynotes CNS 25th Anniversary in Vienna


International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Yukiya Amano
International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Yukiya Amano

At the twenty-fifth anniversary celebration of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS), International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Yukiya Amano delivered the keynote address to the gathering of approximately ninety diplomats, international civil servants, CNS alumni, and other guests. Ambassador Amano recalled his days as a diplomat-in-residence at CNS in 2002 and his long friendship with CNS Founding Director William Potter.  Austrian Ambassador Alexander Kmentt, US Ambassador Laura Kennedy, Ms. Elena Sokova, Mr. Jean duPreez, and Ms. Jenni Rissanen also made remarks at the June 16 gathering in Vienna, expressing their admiration and appreciation of the work of CNS, including its Vienna office, the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation (VCDNP). Ms. Laura Rockwood, who recently assumed the post of VCDNP executive director, acted as master of ceremonies for the event.


Pushing for Tighter Security for Nuclear Weapons

World Economic Forum. Image courtesy agenda.weforum.org.

Deputy Director Elena Sokova writes with Mark Fitzpatrick of the International Institute for Strategic Studies on the need for better oversight of nuclear materials in the military realm. 


Pointing to the alleged security failings in the UK Trident submarine program recently exposed by a Royal Navy whistleblower William McNeilly, Sokova and Fitzpatrick note that the issue of security gaps and vulnerabilities of military nuclear programs has finally been brought into focus. 


"When we learn about nuclear security lapses regarding these programs, it is usually due to untoward incidents or whistleblowing. Proper oversight would identify and resolve vulnerabilities before incidents occur. There is little in the way of credible public information, however, about the principles and implementation approaches to securing nuclear arsenals. Given how much attention the global community pays to the security of civilian nuclear materials to prevent nuclear terrorism, this lacuna concerning nuclear materials in the military realm is disconcerting."


Read more.

VCDNP Welcomes New Executive Director


Laura Rockwood, New VCDNP executive director
Laura Rockwood, New VCDNP executive director

The Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation (VCDNP) is delighted to welcome Laura Rockwood as its new executive director.


Laura Rockwood is well known in the international nonproliferation and disarmament community, having worked for almost thirty years at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), focusing primarily on the negotiation, interpretation, and implementation of IAEA safeguards. She served in the Office of Legal Affairs of the IAEA, from which she retired as section head for non-proliferation and policy making in November 2013. She has worked for the last year and a half as a senior research fellow for the project on Managing the Atom at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University. Ms. Rockwood started her career as an attorney with the US General Accounting Office and was later employed by the US Department of Energy, working as a trial attorney in radiation injury cases and as counsel in general legal matters.



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