Fissile Materials Working Group

Fissile Materials Working Group

Articles by Fissile Materials Working Group

16 February 2012

Why Latin America matters at the Nuclear Security Summit

Fissile Materials Working Group

It is a fact that nuclear terrorism is a global threat and has become a worldwide concern. But what is particularly frightening is that there is no clearly defined plan for securing all nuclear materials. According to the Nuclear Threat Initiative's (NTI) Nuclear Material Security Index, there is no global consensus about what steps matter most in achieving nuclear security.

26 January 2012

Involuntary response

Fissile Materials Working Group

Earlier this month, widespread inaction on the increasing dangers posed by nuclear proliferation and climate change forced the Bulletin's Doomsday Clock to move one minute closer to midnight, indicating the mounting perils confronting humanity's survival. One factor pushing the clock forward to five minutes to midnight was the failure to ensure strict security and comprehensive international oversight for nuclear weapons and materials, which continue to accumulate in a few nations.

21 December 2011

Radiological materials and the Nuclear Security Summit

Fissile Materials Working Group

With the second Nuclear Security Summit fast approaching, it is a good moment to reflect on one of the new issues with which the Seoul summit will attempt to grapple: radiological security. The first Nuclear Security Summit in Washington focused on weapons-usable nuclear materials -- highly enriched uranium and plutonium. The rationale behind a strictly defined agenda was to attract attention to the materials that pose the gravest dangers, as they can be used in a nuclear weapon.

30 November 2011

Why the Conference on Disarmament still matters

Fissile Materials Working Group

It has expanded from 10 member countries to 65, negotiated seven international nonproliferation and disarmament treaties, and next March turns 52 years old. It is the Conference on Disarmament (CD) -- the world's only disarmament negotiating forum -- and, for almost 16 years, it has stagnated in deadlock. The ongoing stalemate has led some to question the forum's utility and even to suggest conducting negotiations outside of the multilateral body in order to obtain a treaty to halt the production of fissile materials. This would be a mistake.

26 October 2011

Libya, Belarus, and dealing with dictators

Fissile Materials Working Group

Dealing with thuggish dictators reluctant to relinquish their stockpiles of highly enriched uranium (HEU) is a necessary component in the global effort to secure vulnerable fissile materials by 2013. Unfortunately, nuclear deals are often tentative and prone to collapse if a dictator's whims change. The successful nuclear deal with Libya and the stalled deal with Belarus are indicative of this dynamic, but it should not stop the United States and other nations from seeking deals to secure fissile materials that might otherwise be exploited by would-be nuclear terrorists.

15 September 2011

Two treaties. One Congress. No time to wait.

Fissile Materials Working Group

While Washington, DC, is paralyzed by partisanship on most topics, there is one issue that commands overwhelming bipartisan agreement: the threat posed to US national security by nuclear terrorism.

7 September 2011

Regime change for nuclear security

Fissile Materials Working Group

Almost no country in the world would refuse an invitation to join a collective declaration acknowledging nuclear terrorism as one of the most challenging threats to global security. However, defining a common view about how to advance practical measures that will prevent nuclear terrorism is not so easy. When it comes to nuclear security, it has always been difficult to go from statements to actions.

22 July 2011

Chinese nuclear security practices

Fissile Materials Working Group

The 2010 Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, DC, was a milestone for nuclear security. Political leaders from 47 countries, including the United States, and multilateral organizations gathered to make a concerted global effort to protect vulnerable nuclear material and to prevent nuclear terrorism. Chinese President Hu Jintao -- putting aside China-US disputes over arms sales to Taiwan and the Dalai Lama's visit to Washington -- attended the summit, speaking positively of China's responsible and cooperative attitude toward international security.

28 June 2011

Nuclear materials security: Cooperation is key

Fissile Materials Working Group

As South Korea prepares for the second Nuclear Security Summit, scheduled to take place in Seoul next March, the momentum for collective international action on nuclear terrorism must be sustained. In the months before the 2012 talks, states will have to work together to retain focus on the summit's ultimate goal -- securing vulnerable nuclear material worldwide -- or else risk taking a step backward in the fight against the menace of nuclear terrorism.

13 May 2011

After bin Laden: Nuclear terrorism still a top threat

Fissile Materials Working Group

Osama bin Laden's death may represent a significant turning point in the US effort to defeat Al Qaeda, but the threat of nuclear terrorism will not lessen in the wake of his demise. Such threats, however, are preventable, and the United States must now take care to sustain the nonproliferation and threat reduction programs that will help stop terrorists from obtaining nuclear materials.