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New Analysis on Old Reports of Nuclear Risk

The risk of a catastrophe from nuclear weapons is far above any acceptable level, according to the analysis of a previously-unreleased report from 1957.

Stanford Professor Martin Hellman analyzed the 1957 Sandia Report “Acceptable Premature Probabilities for Nuclear Weapons” over on his blog Defusing the Nuclear Threat.

From the blog:

Using the same criterion as this report, which, of course, is open to question, my analysis shows that nuclear terrorism would have to have a risk of at most 0.5% per year to be considered “acceptable.” In contrast, existing estimates are roughly 20 times higher.

The Project On Government Oversight has long covered risks to the nuclear arsenal including the vulnerability of nuclear plants to terrorist attack, the need for changes in security at nuclear weapons laboratories, and the failure of security teams to protect nuclear bomb material.   

Hellman’s analysis strengthens the argument for a serious reassessment of the U.S. nuclear stockpile and the systems in place to secure it. See the original report and Hellman’s analysis over on his blog.  

By: Andre Francisco
Online Producer, POGO

andre francisco Andre Francisco is the Online Producer for the Project On Government Oversight.

Topics: National Security

Related Content: Contractor Accountability, Nuclear Weapons Complex Oversight, Nuclear Security, Government Privatization, DOD Nuclear Weapons

Authors: Andre Francisco

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