The recent attacks in Belgium and elsewhere would have been catastrophic if the terrorists had gotten their hands on nuclear weapons or even a primitive “dirty bomb,” which combines nuclear material with conventional explosives. International efforts to prevent access to such weapons have made significant progress in recent years, but there is still a long way to go.
New York Times 27th March 2016 read more »
On March 31, Chinese President Xi Jinping will be among world leaders attending the fourth and last Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, D.C., where they will try to strengthen nuclear security to deal with the evolving threat of nuclear terrorism. Such efforts are badly needed, in light of the facts that there have been approximately 20 documented cases of theft or loss of highly enriched uranium or plutonium (although more may have occurred) since the early 1990s,and that there are nearly 2,000 metric tons of dangerous nuclear materials scattered across hundreds of sites around the globe.
Bulletin of Atomic Scientists 24th March 2016 read more »
Starting in the 1970s, but especially since the attacks on the United States in September 2001, there has been concern that terrorists could acquire enriched uranium and make such a simple weapon. To do so, they would need to gain access to several tens of kilograms of material enriched to more than 20 percent uranium 235, i.e., highly enriched uranium (HEU). As of the end of 2014, the global stockpile of HEU was estimated to be about 1,370 tons, sufficient for more than 20,000 Hiroshima type weapons. A new report from the International Panel on Fissile Materials (IPFM) proposes that it is necessary and feasible for all production of HEU for military and civilian purposes to be banned.
Bulletin of Atomic Scientists 18th March 2016 read more »
When President Barack Obama kicks off the fourth and final Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) in Washington on Thursday, he will tell delegations from 51 nations, plus major groups such as the European Union and United Nations, about successes made in ensuring nuclear material does not fall into the hands of terrorists. It’s a timely message in the wake last Tuesday’s attacks in Belgium, which have been claimed by the Islamic State group, commonly known as ISIS or ISIL. But some in the nonproliferation community are concerned that when the summit shuts down at the end of the week, the issue of securing fissile material will cease to be a prime focus for the nations.
Defense News 27th March 2016 read more »
Just in time for the annual appearance of cherry blossoms, fifty-two heads of state will come to Washington to discuss nuclear security. The fourth and final Nuclear Security Summit, launched by President Barack Obama in 2010, will take stock of the progress made in securing vulnerable nuclear material over the last six years.
Carnegie Endowment 25th March 2016 read more »