Going Nuclear

Although the United States and Russia have greatly reduced their stockpiles of nuclear weapons over the last two decades, there is still the lingering—and spreading—threat of nuclear annihilation.

The number of nuclear weapon states has grown to nine from six since the end of the Cold War, with India, Pakistan, and North Korea joining the club. Iran’s nuclear program is believed by some to be within months of weaponizing. Meanwhile the U.S., Russia, China and other nuclear countries are competing with each other to sell “civilian” nuclear technology to eager buyers in unstable parts of the world. India, Pakistan, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates are among the customers.

While Russia’s shrinking nuclear arsenal is now thought to be relatively secure, the 9/11 terror attacks and revelations about the activities of the A.Q. Khan network have heightened concerns that weapons or fissile material could fall into the hands of rogue states or extremist groups. That risk has been increased by access to technologies that are enabling nuclear newcomers to create smaller, easily transportable weapons—so-called battlefield weapons—and by the worrisome rise of military doctrines that lower the threshold of actually using nuclear weapons.

Through Going Nuclear, Pulitzer Center journalists examine the emerging threats of the post-9/11 era, from an alarming new arms race between India and Pakistan to the role of the U.S. and Russia as suppliers and the spread of supposedly peaceful nuclear technology to some of the world’s most dangerous neighborhoods.

Going Nuclear

September 15, 2017

Uranium Dreams

Ben Mauk

The uranium boom reshaped the American southwest in the 1950s and 1960s. Ben Mauk reports on the industry's environmental legacy and economic future.

September 12, 2017

Cyber Insecurity in the Nuclear Sector

Sean Lyngaas

Hackers are targeting nuclear facilities around the world. Understanding why the nuclear sector's cyber defenses are vulnerable—and how leaders are responding—has never been more urgent.

September 08, 2017

North Korea in the Era of Kim Jong Un

Evan Osnos, Max Pinckers

Three days after Donald Trump tweeted that the U.S. is "locked and loaded" in its nuclear standoff with North Korea, I arrived in Pyongyang to meet the officials responsible for analyzing America.

August 31, 2017

The U.S.-China Nuclear Rapprochement

Richard Stone

An extraordinary collaboration between U.S. and Chinese nuclear scientists is setting the stage for greater cooperation between the two countries in addressing security threats.

April 04, 2016

Nuclear Winter

Kit R. Roane

Cold War scientists once worried that a nuclear war could plunge the world into a deadly ice age. But why, three decades later, does Nuclear Winter still resonate?

Meet the Journalist: Ben Mauk

In the 1950s the Cold War forever changed the American southwest, as thousands of hopeful uranium prospectors took to the hills in Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and beyond.

Meet the Journalist: Rachel Oswald

CQ Roll Call foreign policy reporter Rachel Oswald discusses her summer 2015 Pulitzer Center reporting trip to Moscow where she focused on the breakdown in U.S.-Russia nuclear confidence.