Commentary

Homeland Security, Radiological Terror, and Countering Public Fears

By Matthew Bunn

Steve Brill’s terrific article “Are We Any Safer?” – the cover of the September Atlantic – describes both the progress and the follies of homeland security in the 15 years since the tragedy of 9/11.  Brill provides a readable (and highly opinionated) overview of vulnerabilities that have been largely fixed, areas where hundreds of billions have been wasted, and remaining gaps.

Nuclear Security in Turkey

By Nickolas Roth

In mid-July, as an attempted coup was taking place in Turkey, many in the United States wondered whether U.S. tactical nuclear weapons stored at the Turkish airbase, Incirlik, were adequately protected against theft. Congressional Research Service Nuclear Weapons Policy Specialist, Amy Woolf, recently published a short article describing some of the security systems surrounding those weapons. 

Cancel the plutonium fuel factory

Matthew Bunn and Gary Samore just published an op-ed arguing that the program to build a factory that converts excess plutonium from dismantled nuclear weapons into plutonium-uranium mixed oxide fuel for nuclear reactors has become too expensive. Although the two helped to launch the program in the mid-90s, they argue "It is time to stop throwing good money after bad and pursue cheaper alternatives that will serve our national security better" and "whatever we do with this plutonium in the long term, we should move to put it under international monitoring, and commit never again to use it in weapons..." You can read their complete argument here.

Taking Stock of Ten Years of the GICNT

By Tytti Erästö

 The Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT) is an informal international partnership dedicated to combatting nuclear and radiological terrorism. It was launched by Russia and the US at the G8 meeting in 2006, based on their shared concern about that threat, as well as determination to develop partnership capacity to address it. Over time, the GICNT has evolved into a vibrant international partnership with an action-oriented approach to enhancing nuclear security within and among its 86 partner states.

India and the Nuclear Security Summit

By Dr. Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan

 The fourth and final Nuclear Security Summit took place in Washington DC from March 31-April 01, 2016.  Despite the initial apprehension about the summits in certain parts of the world, it has been a useful process.  With more than 50 countries represented from across the world, the summits elevated the level of awareness of nuclear security. Leaders of established nuclear states began to think about nuclear security in a new way, reducing complacency about the risks of terrorism and sabotage.  This thinking took shape in national and multilateral commitments in areas including nuclear security regulation, physical protection of nuclear materials, nuclear forensics, protection against nuclear smuggling, and insider threats and nuclear terrorism.

The Nuclear Security Summit and the IAEA: Advocating Much and Avoiding Specifics

By Trevor Findlay

The 2016 Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) in Washington D.C. on 1 April issued a seven-page Action Plan in Support of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). It contains steps that the summit participants commit themselves to taking and those they “advocate” the Agency “pursue”. In endorsing this plan, 2016 Summit participants focused more detailed attention on the IAEA than those who participated in the previous four nuclear security summits.