IRP Journalists Report on “Loose Nukes” Issues

Fellows Fall 2009

May 10, 2010

Stories appeared in The Washington Post, Boston Review, Foreign Policy, &Nature Magazine

The spread of illicit nuclear materials, or "loose nukes," is one of the most urgent issues of our time.

IRP Fellows Joby Warrick, Sharon Weinberger and Tara McKelvey were recently awarded IRP grants to travel to the Middle East, Georgia and Russia, respectively, to report on the issue of proliferation of nuclear materials.

They explored the underworld of weapons-grade uranium smuggling while investigating international efforts to stop the spread of illicit nuclear materials. These stories offer a behind the scenes look into how these regions smuggle and produce nuclear materials.

Georgia

Sharon Weinberger is co-author of, "Nuclear Family Vacation: Travels in the World of Atomic Weaponry." Weinberger's stories reflect the growing problem of nuclear proliferation in South Ossetia and Abkazia, two of Georgia's breakaway regions that are known as breeding grounds for the smuggling of weapons-grade uranium.

Stories:

Black Hole on the Black Sea: Inside Georgia's nuclear bazaar "“ 5/06/10

Borderline detection: Georgia's borders are guarded by some of the best radiation detectors available "” so why are nuclear smugglers still slipping through? "“ 5/04/10

Russia

Tara McKelvey is senior editor of The American Prospect and author of "Monstering: Inside America's Policy of Secret Interrogations and Torture in the Terror War." In her story, McKelvey reports on how the lax security standards and threat of nuclear smuggling at the Machine Building Plant in the city of Elektrostal, a former Soviet republic, is a prime example of how loose nukes continue to be a growing concern since the fall of the Soviet Union.

Story:

A New Start: Prospects for Obama's "Global Zero" "“ 4/28/10


Middle East (Iran)

Joby Warrick is a national intelligence reporter for The Washington Post. During his time in the Middle East, Warrick reported on the discourse between the U.N. and Iran as the country's nuclear ambitions became a target for international concern. In his story, "Arms smuggling heightens Iran fears," he documented how a freighter carrying weapons from North Korea was intercepted by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) at a port in Dubai before being able to successfully deliver the arms to Iran.

Stories:

Evidence of Iran's nuclear arms expertise mounts "“ 12/15/09

Arms smuggling heightens Iran fears "“ 12/03/09

Iranian site prompts U.S. to rethink assessment "“ 10/27/09

Iran's Envoy Sees Upcoming Talks as an Opening "“ 9/18/09

Iran Agrees to New Talks with 6 Global Powers "“ 9/15/09

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