It is difficult to imagine today how dramatically global nuclear risks changed 25 years ago as the Soviet Union disintegrated. Instead of the threat of mutual nuclear annihilation, the world became concerned that Russia and the other 14 former Soviet states would lose control of their huge nuclear assets – tens of thousands of nuclear weapons, more than a million kilograms of fissile materials, hundreds of thousands of nuclear workers, and a huge nuclear complex. I will describe how scientists and engineers at the DOE laboratories, with a focus on Los Alamos, Lawrence Livermore and Sandia national laboratories, joined forces with those at the Russian nuclear weapon institutes for more than 20 years to avoid what looked like the perfect nuclear storm – a story told in the two-volume book Doomed to Cooperate1 published in 2016.
Due to an internal processing error, an incorrect version of this article was published on 15 November 2017 that omitted the footnotes. AIP Publishing apologizes for this error. An updated version of this article, including the missing footnotes, was published on 21 November 2017.