Coverage of Nuclear Security Summit presents confusing message

On 31 March President Obama convened in Washington, DC, the fourth and last Nuclear Security Summit of his presidency. The goal of the summits has been to secure nuclear materials against diversion and unauthorized use. And indeed, the summits have encouraged countries to make significant progress toward that goal. Why, then, do so many reports on this summit emphasize the fear of nuclear terrorism rather than the steps that are being taken to prevent it? Read More

Links – April 16, 2016

My op-ed in Physics Today on the use of fear in discussions of nuclear terrorism. It appears that a number of other people are seeing that hyping the fear factor isn’t the best way to discuss these issues: Elisabeth Eaves in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Al Mauroni in War on the Rocks, and a group educating journalists on nuclear matters. Also some good sense on how to protect nuclear plants from terrorists. Photo from the Physics Today article. Read More

Links – November 11, 2015

Developing: Does Russia have a dirty bomb? Do they want the world to know about it? It looks to me like there are a number of messages being delivered between Russia and the United States more or less publicly. That would include the US’s Trident missile launch along California’s coast. Nuke-rattling via subtweets. Meanwhile, another competition, this one for clicks, continues. The Daily Beast summarizes a Twitter conversation about the Russian bomb that I participated in. Here’s a critique of that kind of journalism. Image from Arms Control Wonk, who says he intends to write more. Read More