Reducing the Risks of Nuclear Theft and Terrorism

Authored by: Matthew Bunn , Nickolas Roth

Routledge Handbook of Nuclear Proliferation and Policy

Print publication date:  May  2015
Online publication date:  May  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415870399
eBook ISBN: 9780203709528
Adobe ISBN: 9781136012488

10.4324/9780203709528.ch31

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Abstract

Despite the dramatic progress made in over two decades of international cooperation to improve nuclear security – including the four-year effort to secure all vulnerable nuclear material worldwide launched by US President Barack Obama in 2009 – the risk of nuclear terrorism remains unacceptably high, and some nuclear material remains dangerously vulnerable to nuclear theft. 1 Though the leaders at successive global summits on nuclear security have identified nuclear terrorism as one of the top threats to international security, this conclusion remains controversial. Policymakers in many countries doubt whether it is really plausible that terrorists could get nuclear material or make a nuclear bomb; that even if they did, it would probably be used on New York or Washington, making it primarily a US problem; and that in any case their own nuclear material is adequately secured. This complacency is the enemy of action.

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