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Deutch Discusses Nuclear Proliferation

By Kristen Landino
ASSOCIATE NEWS EDITOR

Former Director of the CIA and Institute Professor John M. Deutch ’61 discussed issues relating to global nuclear security with a full audience of both students and professors on Monday afternoon

Deutch’s speech, entitled “Comments on International Nuclear Matters”, served to highlight U.S. post-Cold War policy objectives with regard to the containment of nuclear intelligence and weapons stock.

The talk was sponsored by the Department of Nuclear Engineering and the American Nuclear Society.

Deutch cited the lack of technical knowledge as a major problem in nuclear security management in the world today.

“Our amount of knowledge about these issues is tremendously thin. It is very important to have technical people in charge... all of these really significant technical issues require the integration of technical knowledge, economic good sense, and political sensitivity. Often U.S. as well as foreign policy makers lack these skills,” Deutch said.

He said that students with a technical background don’t often pursue careers in government.

“We don’t give students enough encouragement to pursue work in government fields. For some reason, these jobs are not respected. Students don’t feel government is a place where they can be really effective -- this is a problem,” Deutch said.

Upheaval leads to lack of control

“The greatest nuclear security risk is Russia,” Deutch said. “For many years, it was more careful in guarding custody of nuclear materials than the United States. However, with the impact of the political situation on nuclear research, they simply don’t have the resources anymore.”

According to Deutch, U.S. policy toward Russia has been one of greater engagement in recent years. In order to protect nuclear interests in the region, the United States has ordered the Soviet Union to centralize its store of weapons and nuclear material.

He noted that potentially dangerous nuclear material has been removed from surrounding republics and returned to Russian government headquarters in order to prevent nuclear material diffusion to other nations.

Deutch touched upon several key points of the U.S. Nuclear Program with Russia.

“There has been an effort by the U.S. to purchase enriched Uranium from Russia in order to reduce the amount of this nuclear weapon material in the country. To compensate for costs, scientists have been blending down this Uranium to be used in U.S. nuclear reactors,” said Deutch.

He also discussed the secure storage of separated metal plutonium in other countries, specifically Russia.

“The problem with separated plutonium is its uncertain commercial value...we have come nowhere close to address the issue of international separated plutonium storage. There are so many questions of management, authority, and transfer of this potentially dangerous material,” Deutch said.

According to Deutch, one of the main problems with nuclear security control in Russia is the differences that exist between the regulation of U.S. and Russian nuclear reactors.

Deutch also said that he hopes to “draw attention to the real problems of Russian nuclear management as well as the poor organization of the U.S. government’s response to the issues” through his speeches.

An information leak by the Russian government to Iran was discussed as a potential military threat which could in turn lead to problems between India and Pakistan.

“India and Pakistan is the most likely nuclear detonation threat,” Deutch said.

An information leak from Iran would facilitate this situation, according to Deutch.

Deutch’s speech was part of a weekly seminar series held Monday afternoons in building NW12, next to MIT’s Nuclear Reactor on Albany Street.