Nuclear Terrorism

Working to keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of terrorists

Preventing nuclear terrorism has been at the heart of NTI’s work since our founding. Early on, we supported field projects to secure vulnerable weapons-usable materials—plutonium and highly enriched uranium. For example, Project Vinca helped spur the creation of a U.S. government threat-reduction program that has invested more than $3 billion over the last decade to secure and remove at-risk nuclear materials from sites around the globe.

The good news is that the number of countries storing these dangerous materials has dropped from a high of 52 in 1992. The bad news is that increasingly well-organized and well-funded terrorist organizations—which now have easy access to the know-how needed to build a bomb— have declared their intent to seek the materials necessary for weapons of mass destruction.

Today, we work with governments to define, assess and improve nuclear materials security. A key effort: the biennial NTI Nuclear Security Index, a now-indispensible tool for governments. 

Related Projects

China TTX

Engaging China on Nuclear Security

China plays a pivotal role in global security—cooperation with China will be essential for further global arms reductions, to gain international confidence in the security of nuclear materials and to develop approaches to technical topics such as nuclear forensics and arms control verification. NTI has been working to strengthen nuclear security engagement between China, the U.S. and others.
US-Russia Meeting

Dialogue on the Future of U.S.-Russia Nuclear Cooperation

NTI has partnered with the Russian Center for Energy and Security Studies (CENESS) to launch a high-level dialogue on the future of US-Russia nuclear cooperation.
NTI Nuclear Security Index Presentation

NTI Nuclear Security Index

The NTI Nuclear Security Index is a first-of-its-kind public benchmarking project of nuclear materials security conditions on a country-by-country basis.
Global Dialogue Meeting

Global Dialogue on Nuclear Security Priorities

An international, cross-sector dialogue among leading government officials, experts, nuclear security practitioners, and other stakeholders to help shape the Nuclear Security Summit process and strengthen global nuclear materials security.
Trident Submarine

Military Materials Security Study Group

An international study group working to develop recommendations to tighten control of the 83 percent of the global stockpile of weapons-usable nuclear materials categorized as "military" and not subject to any international security standards or oversight mechanisms.
The Vinca nuclear research reactor, where NTI acted to catalyze the removal of two and a half bombs’ worth of HEU.

HEU Minimization

NTI supports the phased elimination of civil uses for HEU and is working to build an international consensus on reducing dependence on HEU for peaceful activities.
Ivanov at TTX

Nuclear Smuggling: A US-Russia Exercise

An NTI-sponsored table-top exercise convened former US and Russian government officials to respond to a fictional nuclear smuggling event involving the seizure of a significant quantity of weapons-usable nuclear material.
B-61 Nuclear Gravity Bombs

Securing the Bomb

The series of Securing the Bomb reports, first commissioned by NTI in 2001 and produced by Harvard University’s Project on Managing the Atom, focus on progress in locking down vulnerable nuclear materials.
The audience gathers for the official launch of WINS in Vienna, Austria.

World Institute for Nuclear Security (WINS)

To ensure the security of nuclear materials and facilities, NTI launched WINS to instigate the sharing and implementation of best practices to reduce the amount of vulnerable nuclear material and to prevent nuclear terrorism.
The Vinca nuclear research reactor, where NTI acted to catalyze the removal of two and a half bombs’ worth of HEU.

Project Vinca

Project Vinca, a collaborative effort between governments, NTI, and the private sector, successfully removed 100 pounds of vulnerable highly enriched uranium from a poorly secured research reactor outside of Belgrade.
Former Senator Fred Thompson plays the President in the docudrama, "Last Best Chance."

Last Best Chance

Last Best Chance is a gripping docudrama starring actor and former senator Fred Thompson about the threats posed by loosely secured nuclear weapons and materials around the world. NTI produced the program, which aired on HBO, as part of its public education mission.
IAEA Hungary Cleanout

Removing Highly Enriched Uranium from Kazakhstan

NTI joined with the government of Kazakhstan to remove more than a dozen nuclear bombs' worth of highly enriched uranium from a civilian nuclear power reactor slated for shut-down in Aktau, Kazakhstan.
Russia's Nuclear Doctrine Map

New Opportunities for Russia's Closed Cities

NTI supported model projects in Russia’s closed nuclear cities to help prevent the spread of nuclear knowledge by creating non-defense-related jobs for those with knowledge of sophisticated weapons design and materials handling practices.