Robert Alvarez is a Senior Scholar at IPS, where he is currently focused on nuclear disarmament, environmental, and energy policies.

Between 1993 and 1999, Mr. Alvarez served as a Senior Policy Advisor to the Secretary and Deputy Assistant Secretary for National Security and the Environment. While at DOE, he coordinated the effort to enact nuclear worker compensation legislation. In 1994 and 1995, Bob led teams in North Korea to establish control of nuclear weapons materials. He coordinated nuclear material strategic planning for the department and established the department’s first asset management program. Bob was awarded two Secretarial Gold Medals, the highest awards given by the department.

Prior to joining the DOE, Mr. Alvarez served for five years as a Senior Investigator for the U. S. Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs, chaired by Senator John Glenn, and as one of the Senate’s primary staff experts on the U.S. nuclear weapons program. While serving for Senator Glenn, Bob worked to help establish the environmental cleanup program in the Department of Energy, strengthened the Clean Air Act, uncovered several serious nuclear safety and health problems, improved medical radiation regulations, and created a transition program for communities and workers affected by the closure of nuclear weapons facilities. In 1975 Bob helped found and direct the Environmental Policy Institute (EPI), a respected national public interest organization. He helped enact several federal environmental laws, wrote several influential studies and organized successful political coalitions. He helped organize a successful lawsuit on behalf of the family of Karen Silkwood, a nuclear worker and active union member who was killed under mysterious circumstances in 1974.

Bob Alvarez is an award winning author and has published articles in prominent publications such as Science Magazine, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, Technology Review and The Washington Post. He has been featured in television programs such as NOVA and 60 Minutes.


There’s Gold in Those Bombs

Startling discoveries from inside the Energy Department.

The Inside-Outside Game

How some jars of urine helped get justice for nuclear workers in Ohio.

In the Vadose Zone

Estimating the toll of radioactive fallout — and landing in political exile as a result.

My North Star

The remarkable work of my wife Kitty Tucker.

Navajo Uranium Miners

A nasty Senate battle over a straightforward case of negligence and injustice.

Remembering the Nch’i-Widna — ‘The Big River’

How a local Indigenous community remembers the Lewis and Clark expedition — and the nuclear exploitation that followed.

On the Shoulders of Giants

A pioneering figure in the fight to expose nuclear workplace hazards.

Alice and George

How a brilliant epidemiologist kept herself honest with the help of a gifted mathematician.

The Medic

The trials of an Army medic — and lessons for the years to come.

Coal and Water

A clash between ranchers, farmers, and pipeline executives in an arid corner of South Dakota.

Beyond the Headlights

The tangled politics of protecting the water rights of Indigenous communities.

Paul Jacobs and the Nuclear Gang

A movement-building effort to get justice for victims of the nuclear arms race.


A decades-long effort to clean up one of the most profoundly contaminated nuclear “sacrifice zones” on the planet.

New Research Vindicates Scientist Attacked by Pork Industry Over Environmental Racism Charges

Corporate industrial livestock operations pose serious health threats to nearby residents, who are often low-income people of color.

Government Secrecy Is More Damaging to Public Health Than Nuclear Fallout

When it comes to nuclear weapons and energy programs, governments have been willing to send their people into harm’s way with impunity.

Trinity: ‘The most significant hazard of the entire Manhattan Project’

For the past several years, controversy over radioactive fallout from the world’s first atomic bomb explosion—code-named Trinity—has intensified.

North Korea, One More Time

The second Trump-Kim summit was a failure, quickly leading to North Korea resuming missile testing. But they aren’t the only ones with nuclear ambitions.

Rebranding the Nuclear Weapons Complex Won’t Reform It

The latest effort examine and reform the U.S. nuclear weapons complex is being dominated by the interests of weapons contractors.

The Storage and Disposal Challenges of High Burnup Spent Power Reactor Fuel

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has bowed to the wishes of nuclear reactor operators, motivated more by economics than safe spent nuclear fuel storage and disposal.

The West Lake Landfill: A Radioactive Legacy of the Nuclear Arms Race

The wastes in this disposal site come from the dawn of the nuclear age. It is a danger to workers and the surrounding community and should be removed and isolated.