Meet Nuclear Analyst Tianran Xu

Open Source Analyst - Nuclear


Tell me about yourself. Your background.

My name is Tianran Xu and I’m from Beijing. I received my degree in the German language at Xi’an International Studies University. After graduation I became a full-time journalist, working first as a journalist and editor with the Global Times English Edition, which is a major English-language newspaper in China. After that, I moved on to foreign news organizations in Beijing. My beat covered topics like defense and technology. I speak Chinese, English and German.

What is your role at ONN?

I study missiles and nuclear delivery systems to better understand capabilities and ways to build strong, verifiable agreement and reduce the risk of nuclear weapons systems. I use publicly available information, including images, videos, and texts, to generate analysis on the development of weapons programs, the military activities of key players, and the associated risks of unintentional nuclear use.

You need to be knowledgeable in your beat and use information online to do this work. I've engaged in open source intelligence work for the past several years as my hobby. I will be writing similar essays for One Earth Future’s (OEF) Open Nuclear Network (ONN) programme.

I also work with my other ONN colleagues to build-up Datayo. Datayo is a software platform developed by the ONN programme, which we use to analyze many kinds of open source information and talk about it with people around the world. I have my own dataset of pictures of road mobile missiles that I am preparing for the Datayo platform right now.

I also work collaboratively with the ONN team to do network mapping to try to find the best people for ONN’s engagement network. The engagement network is an ambitious plan, through which we aim to identify key players in nuclear decision making, conduct research, and provide neutral, objective information as a means of reducing nuclear risk.

What does Open Source Intelligence mean to you?

Open Source Intelligence is using publicly available information and using analysis methods to draw conclusions about things that are important for our relative fields. In this case, nuclear risk reduction. We live in a highly digital environment, with heavy information flow. We as internet users and citizens gather tons of publicly available information and produce intelligence that can serve the greater good of the world we live in.

Why is Open Source Intelligence Important for the Global Community?

Risk reduction. ONN’s current focus is on North Korea, but we plan to expand our scope.

For example, How can we help make sure that there is not a nuclear conflict in the Asian-Pacific region due to misunderstanding and miscalculation? For example, if in a conventional conflict, a party launched a mid- to long- range anti-ship ballistic missile, how can the other tell that the incoming missile is not nuclear-armed, but an anti-ship missile?

There are so many fields and possibilities we can explore.

Read more about Tianran or contact him.

  • katsu furukawa serion award japan open nuclear network

    Promoting Peace Through Publication: Open Nuclear Network Analyst Recognized with the Japanese Seiron Award

    Through his writing and analysis, Dr. Katsuhisa Furukawa, an analyst on One Earth Future Foundation’s Open Nuclear Network program (ONN) team, has been able to demonstrate publicly that a non-governmental expert can use open source information to detect detect networks related to WMD proliferation. In recognition of his writings as a distinguished option leader in Japan, he has been awarded the Seiron Award.  Read More
  • Networks and peacebuilding

    Networks and Peace

    Sustainable peace requires coordinating work across multiple different areas including economic development, political institutions, and security. This coordination is a challenge, and peacebuilding needs good approaches for setting up and promoting better coordination. Our new policy brief delves into structures of peacebuilding and shows examples of how networks can be best established. Read More
  • protestors at US Captiol social trust in US COVID

    The Importance of Social Trust Lessons Learned from a Decade Working to Resolve Conflicts Globally

    The COVID-19 pandemic revealed how the world responded to a universally-shared experienced of crisis. And when it comes to responding peacefully, the key to success lies within a strong social trust. Executive Director and Chief Operations Officer, Jon Bellish, dives into how One Earth Future utilizes social trust and networks to achieve peace in conflict situations. Read More
  • Somali fisheries future

    Fishers Forging a Bright Future: Stories of Three Somali Fishers & the Impact of Fisheries Data Collection

    The Somali coast is home to approximately 10,000 part-time and full-time fishers. Our Secure Fisheries program works with community stakeholders to strengthen fisheries governance, combat illegal fishing, and promote sustainability as a catalyst for greater peace in the region. To learn more about Secure Fisheries’ impact in the Somali communities, we spoke to three local fishers to hear their personal stories.  Read More
  • Peace on earth 2020 accomplishments OEF

    Peace on Earth: A Holiday Message & Year-In-Review From OEF

    From all of us at OEF, we are wishing you a wonderful holiday season and a happy new year. Join us in remaining mindful of the long road ahead, but hopeful for creating a better 2021. As we look to the new year and work toward the long-term goal of an earth beyond war, we’d like to share a few of the bright spots and highlights from our programs’ 2020 work creating pathways to sustainable peace. Read More
  • Model of the planned Sand Creek Memorial design by Harvey Pratt

    Path to Peace: OEF Celebrates Denver’s Plans for Sand Creek Massacre Memorial at State Capitol Building

    One Earth Future believes that the Sand Creek Memorial is one reminder that working together collaboratively to solve problems together is the best way to address the roots of conflict. The Sand Creek statue is the result of collaboration among the sovereign tribes involved and the government of Colorado, both Republicans and Democrats. Read More