Welcome!

https://sites.google.com/site/tombielefeld/home/
Tom Bielefeld is a nuclear security researcher and consultant. His areas of expertise are in nuclear and radiological terrorism prevention and response as well as in nuclear nonproliferation. He is based in Nuremberg and Bremen (Germany).

Trained as a physicist, Bielefeld has worked for more than 15 years at the intersection of science and nuclear security policy in Germany and the United States. Before becoming an independent consultant, he held research positions at the Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and at the Bremen State Radioactivity Measurements Laboratory. He was also a research associate at Hamburg University’s Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy as well as a research affiliate with the Science, Technology, and Global Security Working Group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He co-founded and, for two years, co-directed the Bremen Institute for Technology and Society, a private research association.

Bielefeld is a member of the Fissile Materials Working Group (FMWG) and of the World Institute for Nuclear Security (WINS).



Nuclear Security Information for Journalists
and Interested Citizens


Areas of Research and Expertise

I. Nuclear Security.

  • Radiological terrorism prevention and preparedness: threat assessments; radioactive sources security; nuclear incident response (concepts, computer simulations, exercises).
  • Nuclear terrorism prevention: threat and policy assessments; physical protection concepts for nuclear facilities and fissile materials.
  • Curbing nuclear trafficking: respective roles of detection technology, law enforcement, and intelligence; radiation detector modeling; border control operations and human factors.
  • Nuclear forensics and attribution: methods for post-attack forensics; integration with other means of nuclear intelligence gathering; role in nuclear deterrence postures; reactor physics modeling.
  • Homeland security; organizational and operational characteristics of terrorist groups.

II. Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

  • Technical and policy assessments of proliferator states' nuclear programs and activities.
  • Clandestine trade in nuclear technologies; export control policies and practices.

III. Security and Defense Technology Assessment.

  • Critical infrastructure protection concepts and practices, focusing on aviation security.
  • [Past work on missile defense systems: technical and policy aspects; strategic missile defense and arms control; theater missile defense systems.]
  • [Past work on technology assessment methods for emerging security and defense technologies.]


Professional Experience and Education

  • Research Fellow/Associate with the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School (2006-2014). 

  • Research Affiliate with the Science, Technology, and Global Security Working Group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2006-2010).

  • Co-founder and Deputy Director of the Bremen Institute for Technology and Society (BITG), a private research and consulting association (2004-2006). (At present, the institute's work is suspended.)
    (→ Acquired and fulfilled two security-related research contracts; also: technical and policy analysis on theater missile defenses, emerging security and defense technologies.)

  • Research Associate with the Bremen State Radioacivity Measurements Laboratory/Institute for Environmental Physics, University of Bremen (2001-2006).
    (→ Nuclear emergency response, radiological terrorism prevention, nuclear forensics.)

  • Research Associate with the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy (IFSH), Hamburg University (2000-2001).
    (→ Technical and policy analysis on missile defense systems and WMD proliferation.)

  • Physics studies at the Universities of Bremen and Wales; M. Sc. in Quantum Fields and Symmetry (theoretical particle physics) from the University of Wales Swansea (1998).

 

Selected Articles, Reports, and Commentary

Papers which cannot be downloaded here may be available upon request, unless they are proprietary or otherwise distribution-limted.

  • Tom Bielefeld, Jihadists and Radiological Terrorism: A Tentative Assessment Based on Open Source Information (in German). Proceedings, 7th Symposium on Nuclear and Radiological Threats. Euskirchen: Fraunhofer INT (2015).
  • Tom Bielefeld, Mexico’s Stolen Radiation Source: It Could Happen Here. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (23 January 2014). (link)

    → See also the related post on the Belfer Center's "Nuclear Security Matters"-blog:
    Tom Bielefeld, Reducing the Risk of “Dirty Bombs” (10 March 2014).
  • Tom Bielefeld, Volker Hormann, Helmut W. Fischer, The Malevolent Use of Unsealed Radioactive Sources (in German). Proceedings, 6th Symposium on Nuclear and Radiological Threats. Euskirchen: Fraunhofer INT (2013).
  • Tom Bielefeld, Proliferation-Relevant Technology: Germany’s Export Control Practices and Industry-Outreach Efforts. Commissioned study report for the Project on Managing the Atom, Harvard Kennedy School. Cambridge, MA (2013).
  • Tom Bielefeld, Thwarting Nuclear Smuggling - Technical and Policy Instruments. Proceedings, 5th Symposium on Nuclear and Radiological Threats. Euskirchen: Fraunhofer INT (2011).
  • Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, Tom Bielefeld, A Call for German Leadership in Combating Nuclear Terrorism. OpEd, 13 April 2010 (both the English language version and a German translation Appell für eine aktivere deutsche Rolle bei der Bekämpfung des Nuklearterrorismus are available here).

    → See also the related interview with Spiegel-Online (26 April 2010 - in German).
  • Helmut W. Fischer, Tom Bielefeld, Bernd Hettwig, Krypton Gas Cylinders as a Source of Radiation. Health Physics 99, No. 1 (2010) 58-65. (link)
  • Helmut W. Fischer, Tom Bielefeld, Bernd Hettwig, 85Kr in Industrial Krypton Gas: Origin, Identification and Dosimetry. Proceedings, 3rd European IRPA Congress, Helsinki: International Radiation Protection Association (2010). (link)
  • Tom Bielefeld, 'Stuxnet', Nuclear Security, and Iran. Briefing-Paper. Cambridge MA (2010).
  • Tom Bielefeld, Helmut W. Fischer, The Security of Medical and Industrial Radioactive Sources. Proceedings, Institute for Nuclear Materials Management 49th Annual Meeting, Nashville: Institute for Nuclear Materials Management (2008); also: Proceedings, 12th International Congress of the International Radiation Protection Association. Buenos Aires: International Radiation Protection Association (2008). (link)

  • Matthew Bunn, Tom Bielefeld, Reducing Nuclear and Radiological Terrorism Threats. Proceedings, Institute for Nuclear Materials Management 48th Annual Meeting, Tucson: Institute for Nuclear Materials Management (2007). (link)

  • Tom Bielefeld, Hassan Abbas, The Khan Job. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientist 63, No. 4 (July/August 2007) 72-73. (link)

  • Tom Bielefeld, H. W. Fischer, Security and Damage Potential of Commercial Radioactive Sources. Journal of Nuclear Materials Management 35, No. 2 (2007) 14-17.

  • Tom Bielefeld, H. W. Fischer, Medizinische und industrielle Strahlenquellen als radiologische Waffen (Medical and Industrial Radiation Sources As Radiological Weapons). Strahlenschutzpraxis, No. 3 (August 2006) 53-57.

  • Tom Bielefeld, Christian Eurich, Science Roadmapping für Rüstungstechnologie-Folgenabschätzung und präventive Rüstungslontrolle (Science Roadmapping for Defense Technology Assessment and Preventive Arms Control). Technikfolgenabschätzung: Theorie und Praxis 14, No. 3 (2005) 128-134. (link)

  • Tom Bielefeld, MEADS: Anforderungen - Fähigkeiten - Rüstungskontrolle (MEADS: Requirements - Capabilities - Arms Control). BITG-Working Paper. Bremen: Bremen Institute for Technology and Society (2005).

  • Tom Bielefeld, Das Verglühen von Flugkörpern beim Eintritt in die Erdatmosphäre (The Burn-Up of Objects During Entry Into the Earth's Atmosphere). Commissioned study report for the Fraunhofer Institute for Technological Trend Analysis INT (2004).

  • Tom Bielefeld, Götz Neuneck, Raketenabwehr-Optionen für die Bush-Administration: Die technische Dimension (Missile Defense Options for the Bush-Administration: The Technical Dimension). Sicherheit und Frieden, No. 2 (2001) 89-95. (link)

  • Tom Bielefeld, Götz Neuneck, Raketenabwehr: Ende der Illusion? (Missile Defense: The End of an Illusion?). Spektrum der Wissenschaft, No. 9 (2000) 92-94. (link)
  • Tom Bielefeld, Simon Hands, John D. Stack, Roy J. Wensley, Magnetic Monopoles as Agents of Chiral Symmetry Breaking in U(1) Lattice Gauge Theory. Physics Letters B 416 (1998) 150-156. (link)

 

Selected Talks, Panels, and Lectures

  • The Nuclear and Radiological Terrorism Threat. 2016 EU Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Conference, Session 3 “The Threat of Non-State Actors – Responding to CBRN-Events”. EU Non-Proliferation Consortium. Brussels, 3 November 2016.
    → The audio recording as well as the transcript of the panel are available here.
  • Radiological Source Security in Russia.  NTI Conference “Re-Examining the Nuclear Security Threat Landscape in Russia”. Nuclear Threat Initiative. Washington DC, 14 October 2016. (Invited panel discussant.)
  • Enhancing Implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540 in the Academic Sector. UNSCR 1540 Civil Society Forum. United Nations University and UN Office of Disarmament Affairs. New York, 11-12 April 2016. (Invited panel discussant.)
    → The rapporteur's summary report of the forum, authored by Wilfred Wan, is available here.
  • Open Source Information and Arms Control – Workshop Summary Talk. Workshop “Use of Open Source Information in Biological Arms Control”. University of Hamburg, Weizsäcker Centre for Science and Peace Research. Hamburg, 29 October 2015.
  • Weaponizing Radioactivity - True Crimes Involving Radioactive Materials and the Lessons We Can Learn from Them. Radiological Security Awareness Lecture for Users of Radioactive Sources in Industry and Medicine. Belgian Federal Agency for Nuclear Control (FANC). Brussels, 6 October 2015.
  • Malicious Use of Radioactive Materials by Criminals and Terrorists – Challenges for Responders (in German). Training Seminar for Teachers at German Firefighter Schools. German Federal Academy for Crisis Management (AKNZ). Ahrweiler, 30 September 2015.
  • Obtaining the Bomb. Workshop "Preventing Nuclear Terrorism": The Role of Nuclear Security. University of Antwerp, Research Group on International Politics. Antwerp, 17 September 2014. (Invited panel discussant.)
  • Nuklearterrorismus verhindern: Deutschland und das Gipfeltreffen zur nuklearen Sicherheit (Preventing Nuclear Terrorism: Germany and the Nuclear Security Summit). Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (German Institute for International and Security Affairs). Berlin, 27 February 2014.
  • Forensics, Detectors, and Deterrence - Integrating Technology with Policy to Prevent Nuclear Terrorism. Security Studies Seminar, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Cambridge MA, 9 March  2011.
  • Thwarting Nuclear Smuggling - Revamping the Defense's Outer Layers. Managing the Atom Seminar Series, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University. Cambridge MA, 13 May 2010. (link)

  • Nuclear Forensics and Its Role in Security Policy. International Security Program Seminar, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University, Cambridge MA, 20 November 2008. (link)

  • Detecting Nuclear and Radioactive Materials. 20th International Summer Symposium on Science and World Affairs. Boston MA, 30 July 2008.
  • The Categorization of Radioactive Sources. Workshop "Reducing the Risk from Radioactive and Nuclear Materials", Institute of Nuclear Materials Management. Washington DC, 19 February 2008.

  • Nuclear Attibution as Security Policy Tool: Possibilities and Limitations. Program in Science and Global Security, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University. Princeton NJ, 16 May 2007.

  • Domestic Security of Radioactive Sources. Workshop "Reducing the Risk from Radioactive and Nuclear Materials", Institute of Nuclear Materials Management. Santa Fe NM, 21 March 2007.

  • Radioactive Materials and Their Usability as Weapons of Terror (in German). Nuclear Emergency Response Workshop: Terrorist Attacks with Radiological Weapons. Bremen, 29 August 2006.
  • Radioactive Sources Security and Radiological Attack Preparedness. Program in Science, Technology, and Society, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Cambridge MA, 18 November 2005; also: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University. Cambridge MA, 17 November 2005.

  • Aspects of the Radiological Weapons Threat. Program in Science and Global Security, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University. Princeton NJ, 16 November 2005.

  • MEADS und NATO-TMD: Perspektiven einer europäischen Raketenabwehr (MEADS and NATO-TMD: Perspectives of a European Missile Defense System). German Physical Society Spring Meeting, Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft. Berlin, 8 March 2005.

  • Missile Defense: A View From Europe. Program in Science and Global Security, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University. Princeton NJ, 21 February 2002; also: Security Studies Program Technical Seminar, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Cambridge MA 19 February 2002.

  • Missile Defenses for the Bush-Administration (in German). Fraunhofer Institute for Technological Trend-Analysis INT. Euskirchen, 12 December 2001.
 

Image Credits for Tom Bielefeld - Homepage:
Portrait photo by NSB.
Photos included in this website's header section were all produced by agencies of the US Government, with the following exceptions: the photo of the security fence at a nuclear power plant and of the radioactive source container are both courtesy of the IAEA; the Bushehr-site satellite image was produced by GeoEye.


Tom Bielefeld, URL: <https://sites.google.com/site/tombielefeld/> (v/ 1/2017)