Beyond the Nuclear Shadow: A Phased Approach for Improving Nuclear Safety and U.S.-Russian Relations

By David E. Mosher; Lowell H. Schwartz et al. | Go to book overview

Chapter Four
OPTIONS FOR IMPROVING NUCLEAR SAFETY

Many different approaches could be used to address the factors that could contribute to nuclear use. In this chapter, we first discuss a wide range of possible options for addressing the factors we identified in Chapter Two as contributing to the accidental or unauthorized use of nuclear weapons. Some of these approaches could be implemented unilaterally, some cooperatively, and some either way. We then focus on ten specific options for addressing the nuclear risk problem, develop them fully, and evaluate them carefully. We emphasize the details of each option as much as possible in our evaluation, because the way in which an option is implemented is likely to affect its success. We discuss our recommendations about which options to pursue and in which order in the next chapter.


FINDING SOLUTIONS TO THE POTENTIAL CAUSES
OF NUCLEAR USE

The analysis in Chapter Two suggests that accidental or unauthorized use of nuclear weapons could be caused by a number of underlying factors—from nuclear forces being kept at high levels of alert, to inadequate early-warning information, to inadequate security and control of nuclear forces. But what can be done to eliminate or control these contributing factors and thereby reduce the chances of nuclear use? Or if these factors cannot be addressed directly, can something be done to mitigate the results of nuclear use to some degree?

Table 4.1 shows the wide range of possible approaches we explored as ways to address each contributing factor. For example, in the case

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