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Mar. 9, 2022 – NSF Special Topic Panel Discussion #1: War in Ukraine – Impacts to Nuclear Security

Mar. 9, 2022 – NSF Special Topic Panel Discussion #1: War in Ukraine – Impacts to Nuclear Security

War in Ukraine – Impacts to Nuclear Security

March 9, 2022


Anya Fink, PhD

Research Scientist in Russian Studies, CNA

Keith Hansen

National Security Forum

You are invited to a Zoom webinar.

To help you stay informed about the rapidly changing and very dangerous situation in Ukraine, NSF will be hosting a series of Special Topics Panel Discussions with subject matter experts. These will be scheduled approximately every two weeks (more often as required). We are creating a new Ukraine War resource blog page on the NSF website where we will post timely information and thought pieces from different perspectives. I also encourage you to send topic requests, questions, and concerns to me at: [email protected]

Less than two weeks ago NSF hosted an event about the impending war in Ukraine. Dr. Dmitry Gorenburg, Senior Research Scientist from CNA (formerly the Center for Naval Analysis), Professor Barbara Walker (UNR, Dept. History), and our very own Keith Hansen shared their insight about the factors that brought Russia to the brink of waging war in Ukraine. Within a few days Russia launched a brutal multi-pronged attack in Ukraine, shattering over seven decades of peace in Europe, and pushing major nuclear powers perilously close to war.

For many of us who are struggling to wrap our minds around news feeds of bombed buildings, mothers with young children huddled in subway stations, and Ukrainian civilians taking up arms to defend their homes and their country, the question of how we got here still lingers. To gain some perspective on this heart wrenching situation, I encourage you to watch (or rewatch) the video of our Feb 17th NSF program, in which Dmitrry, Barbara, and Keith, each shared pages from Ukranian and Russia history that set the stage for Mr. Putin’s brutal attack on a sovereign, peaceful neighbor.

You can watch the Feb 17th program video on our website:
(scroll to the bottom of the landing page to see all of our program videos)

One of the most disturbing aspects of the invasion of Ukraine has been the Russian takeover of the Chernobyl Nuclear Facility north of Kyiv.

“The Russian military’s capture of the Chernobyl nuclear facility in northern Ukraine last week led to heightened levels of both radioactivity and confusion. Since the infamous 1986 explosion at Chernobyl, which sent nuclear materials as high as five miles into the atmosphere and likely condemned far more people than the United Nations’ projected long-term death toll of 4,000, the plant has been radioactive. It’s defunct. Why would the Russian military want it?” (Adriana Petryna, “What Russia is Stirring up in Chernobly”, The Atlantic, 02 March 2022)

In addition to Chernobyl, Ukraine also has 15 nuclear power plants (NPP). As of yesterday (March 1st) Ukraine requested help from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to safeguard Chernobyl and their other nuclear facilities. Compounding the safety and security concerns about Ukraine’s nuclear facilities, Putin also ordered Russian nuclear forces onto a “heightened alert status” after the US, EU, and many other countries imposed sweeping economic sanctions. Adding even more fuel to the fire, Belarus, now a client-state of Russia, followed suit by abandoning its position as a “non-nuclear country” and offering to host Russian tactical nuclear weapons on its soil.

These factors, raise serious concerns for nuclear security not only in Europe but globally. To help us navigate through these perilous and rapidly changing issues, NSF is hosting our first Special Topic Panel Discussion on Wed March 9th. Dr. Anya Fink and Mr. Keith Hansen will discuss the implications of the deteriorating security situation in Ukraine and the implications for US nuclear policy. Dr. Fink, from CNA, will discuss the latest safety and security status of Ukraine’s nuclear facilities and how nuclear weapons figure into Putin’s strategy for escalation management. NSF regular contributor, Keith Hansen, will discuss US nuclear use policies and how the Biden Administration is (or likely will) respond to Russia’s nuclear sabre rattling.

To make sense of the current situation in Ukraine we need to dust off some old Cold War playbooks and update them for a 21st century conflict. NSF is committed to keeping you informed and sharing expert insight about the war in Ukraine and other critical national security events and issues.

Please join us for a very important and timely program and be ready to share your thoughts and questions with our speakers.

Anya Loukianova Fink is a research scientist with CNA’s Russia Studies Program Her research focuses on Russian strategy, military thought, and approaches to innovation; as well as nuclear weapons issues. Prior to joining CNA, Fink spent a year as a fellow focused on national security and nuclear policy in the U.S. Senate and a year as a postdoctoral Stanton Nuclear Security fellow at the RAND Corporation, where her research focused on Russian military writings about escalation management. She also previously worked as a program officer in nuclear material security at the Stanley Center for Peace and Security and as a research associate focused on WMD and missile proliferation issues in Russia and Eurasia at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies. Fink holds a PhD in international security and economic policy from the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland, College Park and an MPIA from the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh. She has native fluency in Russian.

The National Security Forum is a non-partisan, educational, nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering civil discourse and informed discussion about timely and important national security topics. We bring expert speakers from around the U.S. to talk about national and international security, domestic and foreign terrorism, economic and financial threats, the safety of our food and water supply, energy policy, electrical grid stability, and a variety of other topics that affect all Americans. The National Security Forum partners with the Washoe County School District to host an annual Youth Security Forum to encourage future generations national security leaders.