Nuclear Explosion Threatens Russian Missile Program, Analysts Say

Policy Analyst Geoff Wilson spoke with U.S. News and World Report about the recent explosion in Russia.

Geoffrey Wilson, a policy analyst at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, says the accident shows the technology is costly and dangerous – reasons why the U.S. military abandoned pursuit of it during the height of the Cold War in favor of cheaper and more reliable alternatives. Nuclear-powered missiles would allow a country to fire weapons at greater distances and outside of conventional flight paths.

However, Russia has an incentive to make this weapon the “centerpiece of the new nuclear arms race,” Wilson says, as it faces spending and developmental shortfalls against the U.S. arsenal. Meanwhile, both countries dismantle prior agreements that limited the development of new weapons.

“You are more likely to see the development of more risky weapons systems like this in order to try and keep up with the threat of an unconstrained U.S. nuclear arsenal and massive defense budget,” Wilson says. Read more