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Fissile Materials Working Group

Fissile Materials Working Group

Articles by Fissile Materials Working Group

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.

6 April 2011

Promises, promises: A progress report one year after the 2010 Nuclear Security Summit

Fissile Materials Working Group

Two years ago in Prague, President Barack Obama laid out his vision of a world free of nuclear weapons. Recognizing that this would not likely be achieved in his lifetime, he outlined practical steps by which the international community might strive for greater security in a world where nuclear weapons still exist. One of these steps was the four-year goal to secure all loose nuclear material -- almost immediately after his speech, concerns about nuclear terrorism and nuclear material security were prominent on the international agenda.

11 February 2011

Congress's nuclear terrorism shortfall

Fissile Materials Working Group

The US National Security Strategy, released by the White House in May 2010, states that "there is no greater threat to the American people than weapons of mass destruction, particularly the danger posed by the pursuit of nuclear weapons by violent extremists and their proliferation to additional states." This is why the Obama administration is in the midst of an international effort to secure all vulnerable nuclear materials around the world in four years. Republicans and Democrats alike have voiced support for limiting access to vulnerable nuclear materials to prevent nuclear terrorism.

3 July 2010

Setback for WMD security

Fissile Materials Working Group

When the Group of Eight (G-8) last gathered in Canada in 2002, the summit meeting was an unarguable success for the future of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) security. The leaders launched a multilateral initiative, known as the Global Partnership against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction, and pledged $20 billion over 10 years to help Russia destroy their WMD stockpiles.

8 June 2010

What is nuclear security worth in 2011?

Fissile Materials Working Group

If the car bomb in Times Square contained just one of the tens of thousands of radioactive sources that exist in the U.S. and it had successfully detonated, this American landmark would be uninhabitable for months or years to come. And, if the attack were with an improvised nuclear device instead, a large portion of Manhattan would have been destroyed. We were lucky in many ways that day, but these are real threats posed by ever-bolder terrorists, and our luck might not last forever.

8 April 2010

Strengthening nuclear security: The legal agenda

Fissile Materials Working Group

President Barack Obama's upcoming Nuclear Security Summit has the potential to become a defining moment for international security in the twenty-first century, especially after the recent release of the U.S. Nuclear Posture Review. When he introduced this document, Obama said, "For the first time, preventing nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism is at the top of America's nuclear agenda."

8 April 2010

Deconstructing U.S. funding for nuclear material security

Fissile Materials Working Group

One year ago, President Barack Obama made a bold pledge to "secure all vulnerable nuclear materials around the world within four years." His immediate follow-through, however, has been wanting. For instance, his fiscal year 2010 budget request to meet this goal was actually $200 million less than what the Bush administration allocated a year earlier for securing nuclear material abroad. In fact, the administration still hasn't defined what it actually considers vulnerable nuclear material. So, in essence, Obama has lost a full calendar year in his four-year quest.

1 April 2010

Prioritizing investment in nuclear security education

Fissile Materials Working Group

To a large degree, the implementation of robust nuclear security depends on the availability of qualified and dedicated specialists. Unfortunately, such nuclear security specialists are in short supply and training programs for the next generation are limited as well.

1 April 2010

This is the year for nuclear material security

Fissile Materials Working Group

A few weeks ago, an anti-nuclear group breached security fencing at the Kleine Brogel Air Base in Belgium. Undetected, the group spent more than an hour on a military base where U.S. nuclear weapons are supposedly stored. Worse yet, they then uploaded to YouTube a video showing exactly how they exploited Kleine Brogel's security weaknesses.

Replace peace activists with terrorists and the results could be devastating.

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