Questions Journalists Should Ask

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Strengthening nuclear security is an ongoing global challenge. Below is a list of questions that journalists might want to ask government officials and experts working on national and international efforts to prevent the use of an atomic bomb by terrorists.

  1. How does this summit help prevent nuclear terrorism?
  2. Have the summit participants agreed to anything that will lead to significant improvements in security measures for nuclear weapons and weapons-usable nuclear material around the world?
  3. Have the summit participants agreed to anything that will reduce the number of locations where nuclear weapons and weapons-usable nuclear material exist around the world and might be stolen?
  4. Have the summit participants agreed to anything that will lead to significant improvements in security measures in security measures for nuclear facilities that might be sabotaged?
  5. Have the summit participants agreed to anything that will lead to significant improvements in security measures for radiological sources that might be used in a “dirty bomb”?
  6. Have the summit participants agreed to anything that will significantly strengthen the global nuclear security regime?  Have they agreed to anything that will significantly strengthen the nuclear security role of the International Atomic Energy Agency?
  7. What is the difference between nuclear security, nuclear safety, and nuclear safeguards?
  8. Are terrorists capable of getting and using a nuclear bomb? If so, how might they do it?
  9. How serious is the threat from terrorists obtaining or building a nuclear weapon today?  How serious might it be ten years from now?  Is the risk going up or going down?
  10. How has the nuclear security summit process made my country—and the world—safer?
  11. Why isn't North Korea's or Iran's nuclear program being discussed at the summit?
  12. Does my country have weapons-usable nuclear material (i.e. highly enriched uranium or separated plutonium) within its borders? If so, why do we need it? 
  13. Does my country have dangerous radiological sources within its borders?  If so, how are they protected from being stolen?
  14. What measures are being taken to protect my country's stocks of weapons-usable material? Is it under armed guard? If not, why not?
  15. Does my country have a plan to reduce or eliminate its weapons-usable material?
  16. Did my country make any specific pledges to improve nuclear security at the 2010 and 2012 summits? Did it implement these pledges? What will it pledge to do at this year's summit?
  17. Is my country contributing to the IAEA's Nuclear Security Fund? if not, why not?
  18. Has may country set up a unit of its national police or security services that is trained and equipped to deal with nuclear smuggling cases?  If not, why not?
  19. Is my country putting radiation detectors in place at key ports and border crossings, or setting up a fleet of mobile detectors?  If not, why not?
  20. Has my country ever had its nuclear security arrangements reviewed by experts from the IAEA? If not, why not?
  21. Why haven't countries agreed on specific, binding standards for how well nuclear weapons and weapons-usable nuclear materials should be secured?
  22. There have been roughly 20 confirmed cases of smuggling of highly enriched uranium and plutonium, though most involved small quantities. What has been done to get to the bottom of these cases and learn from them? What measures have been implemented to prevent nuclear smuggling?
  23. There are currently no plans to extend the nuclear security summit process beyond 2016. What measures will be taken to ensure that nuclear security is sustained—and that a global dialogue on nuclear security continues?
  24. The participants at the 2010 and 2012 summits called for the universal adoption of the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (ICSANT), the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM), and the CPPNM 2005 amendment. Has my country since adopted these conventions? If not, why not?
  25. What are the principal remaining challenges to improving nuclear security? How can the summit process help overcome them?
See also: Q&A