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Frank von Hippel

Professor of Public and International Affairs

My research interests include the following:

Feasibility of verifiably taking U.S. submarine-based ballistic-missiles off 15-minute readiness to attack Russia's strategic nuclear forces so that Russia can take its missiles off dangerous hair-trigger alert.

Analysis of the technical basis of arguments that the U.S. will soon have to resume nuclear testing.These arguments are being made by some officials in the Department of Defense and the Panel to Assess the Reliability, Safety, and Security of the U.S. Nuclear Stockpile established by Congress under the directorship of ex-weapon laboratory director, John Foster.

Feasibility of shifting older fuel out of spent nuclear-power fuel pools so as to reduce the packing density and the associated danger of a zirconium fire and radioactive contamination of an area the size of New Jersey in case of an accidental or terrorist-caused loss of coolant.

Feasibility of converting Russia’s nuclear-powered icebreaker reactors from weapon-grade to low-enriched uranium (LEU) in order to eliminate a large potential source (10 bombs/year) of material for terrorist Hiroshima-type bombs.

Analyses of the successes and failures of U.S. efforts to help Russia to provide civilian employment for its excess nuclear-weapon experts so as to minimize the danger that they might emigrate to would-be nuclear-weapon states or sell nuclear-weapon design information on the black market.

Publications:

“Reducing the Hazards from Stored Spent Power-reactor Fuel in the United States” (with Robert Alvarez, Jan Beyea, Klaus Janberg, Jungmin Kang, Ed Lyman, Allison Macfarlane and Gordon Thompson) Science and Global Security 11 (2003), pp. 1-51

“Security of Nuclear Materials and Pakistan’s Nuclear Weapons” in Tactical Nuclear Weapons: Time for Control, Taina Susiluoto, ed. (United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research, 2002), pp. 25-33.

“On the Importance of Ending the Use of HEU in the Nuclear Fuel Cycle: An Updated Assessment” (with Alexander Glaser), Proceedings of the 24th International Meeting on Reduced Enrichment for Research and Test Reactors, November 3-8, 2002, San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina

“Storage Mox: A Third Way For Plutonium Disposal?” (with J. Kang, A. Macfarlane, and R. Nelson), Science & Global Security 10. #2 (2002), pp. 85-101.

“Plutonium and Reprocessing of Spent Nuclear Fuel,” Science, Vol. 293, # 5539, 28 September 2001, pp. 2397-2398.

“Ending the Production of Highly-enriched Uranium for Naval Reactors” (with Ma Chunyan) Nonproliferation Review 8 (2001), pp. 86-101.

“Conversion and Job Creation in Russia's Closed Nuclear Cities” (with Oleg Bukharin and Sharon K. Weiner) Center for International Studies/Center for Energy and Environmental Studies report, November 2000, 81 pp.

“Using Commercial Imaging Satellites to Detect the Operation of Plutonium-Production Reactors and Gaseous-Diffusion Plants” (with Hui Zhang) Science & Global Security 8 (2000), pp. 261-313.

"The Hazard Posed by Depleted Uranium Munitions" (with Steve Fetter) Science & Global Security 8 (2000), pp. 125-161.

"The Nuclear Turning Point: A Blueprint for Deep Cuts and De-alerting of Nuclear Weapons" (with Harold A. Feiveson, Bruce G. Blair, Jonathan Dean, Steve Fetter, James Goodby, George N. Lewis, Janne E. Nolan, and Theodore Postol), Brookings Institution Press, 1999, 402 pp.

"The Question of Pure Fusion Explosions Under the CTBT" (with Suzanne Jones) Science & Global Security 7 (1998), pp. 1-22.

"How to Simplify the Plutonium Problem," Nature 394, July 30, 1998, pp. 415-16.