Analysis & Opinions - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Nuclear Security's Top Priority

| June 12, 2012

In the past two decades, at least two terrorist groups have made serious attempts at obtaining nuclear weapons or the nuclear material needed to make them. They won't be the last. Foiling terrorists willing to inflict unlimited damage requires the international community to prioritize the nuclear stocks that pose the greatest risks and take immediate steps to eliminate or secure them. The stocks of nuclear weapons or weapons-usable nuclear material that are most likely to fall into terrorist hands today exist in Russia, Pakistan, and countries with research reactors that use large quantities of highly enriched uranium (HEU) — like Belarus, South Africa, and Japan. The 2012 Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul made some progress toward eliminating dangerous HEU stocks, but it did not alter the security trajectory in either Russia or Pakistan. Preventing terrorists from acquiring nuclear weapons or weapons-usable nuclear material in all countries remains the world's most urgent security challenge.

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For Academic Citation: Harrell, Eben.“Nuclear Security's Top Priority.” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, June 12, 2012.

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