Nuclear policy communities have invaluable information vested in their stories. Because stories are social forms of knowledge, we forget how important they are. We need to tell them, listen to them, question them, and apply lessons from them.
Adventures in Nuclear Risk Reduction aims to facilitate intergenerational knowledge transfer by publishing stories on first-person experiences with risk reduction and elevating them for discussion between practitioners and early or mid-career experts.
We invite you to explore these stories, follow our series of storytelling events, and share your own story.
By William M. Moon
“Working relationships with a nuclear adversary involve years of trust building. When the relationship is betrayed, it can raise catastrophic risks. Recreating such a relationship seems impossible without looking back to see how it survived previous crises.”
By Laura Rockwood
“Well, Ms. Laura, everyone knows that if you want to know anything about the Additional Protocol, they have to talk to you.”
By Siegfried S. Hecker
“All he knew was the test site had serious radioactive contamination. He also lamented that it was overrun by scavengers who mined copper cables and anything else that could be removed and possibly sold on the international market.”
By Robert Hamilton
“As the US and Russia pursued the destruction of ISIS in Syria, their ground forces came ever closer to one another. The US commander saw a need for a deconfliction cell to avoid inadvertent clashes. Weeks later, I flew out to take charge of the nascent cell.”
By Cheryl Rofer
“What it was was an enormous tailings pond—a kilometer long and half a kilometer wide—right on the Baltic Sea. The rain went through it and washed minerals from the pond, both radioactive and heavy metals, into the sea.”
By Scott Roecker
“I left this experience with a new appreciation for the generous nature of our Mongolian partners and their commitment to helping prevent nuclear materials from being smuggled across their vast and beautiful territory.”
By Tom Countryman
“We got together in Geneva. In the very first evening consultations, you could see immediately that on the smaller question, what to do about chemical weapons, Russian and American interests lined up.”
By Elly Melamed
“This was an entirely new model for deploying portal monitors. And it had to completed on a tight and non-negotiable deadline. We began work in the fall of 2003, and the Olympics were held in mid-August 2004.”
By Andy Weber
“It sounds like it’s an ocean. 1,300 tons is an impossible amount. How do you deal with that? They did the math, and came back with the answer of about 200 truckloads. And all of a sudden, it becomes thinkable that you can accomplish this.”
By Dmitry Kovchegin
“Being Russian working on the American side of cooperation on a sensitive nuclear security topic, I found myself in a strange situation.”
By Daniel Salisbury
“Theory and practice often diverge in instructive ways. That is certainly the case with nuclear security. Site visits to nuclear facilities can demonstrate this, and are a hugely valuable part of nuclear security training and outreach.”
By Tomás Bieda
“The relationship between Argentina and Brazil is undoubtedly complex, although not necessarily complicated. I witnessed firsthand how public policies can be coordinated at the bilateral level without necessarily having a unification of positions.”
By James W. Toevs
“Working on the Nuclear Cities Initiative and its work in Sarov, home of Russia’s Los Alamos, crystalized for me some essential principles for cooperation.”
Do you have a story to tell about nuclear risk reduction? Adventures in Nuclear Risk Reduction is an evolving project to share the stories of nuclear policy professionals with a new generation of practitioners. If you have worked on nuclear risk reduction, click the button below to send us a brief description of the experience you wish to share for consideration to be included in this collection.
The Stanley Center works with diverse stakeholders to preserve, adapt, and re-envision policy solutions that help states prevent the use of nuclear weapons. Questions about our work? Interested in collaborating? Follow us on Twitter (@StanleyConnect) or contact Ben Loehrke or Luisa Kenausis from our team working to avoid the use of nuclear weapons.
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