Securing the Bomb
Assessing progress on securing nuclear materials
The series of Securing the Bomb reports, first commissioned by NTI in 2001 and produced by Harvard University’s Project on Managing the Atom, focuses on progress in locking down vulnerable nuclear materials.
The NTI-commissioned reports won readership among journalists and policy experts, triggered legislation in Congress and helped frame the debate for political candidates. The comprehensive reports on nuclear materials security are researched and written under the leadership of Dr. Matthew Bunn at Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.
The 2010 report, released on the eve of the April 2010 Nuclear Security Summit hosted by the White House, said that a faster, broader global effort is needed to meet the goal President Obama set in Prague to “secure all vulnerable nuclear material around the world within four years.” The report also highlighted impressive progress: The U.S. has helped remove all HEU from nearly 50 facilities worldwide, and 19 countries have removed all weapons-usable nuclear material from their soil.
Still, the report cited 18 documented cases of theft or loss of plutonium or HEU, and it urged all countries to adopt clear and well-enforced rules on nuclear security that protect against a robust set of threats.
Senator Nunn said: “This report shows significant progress, but spells out clearly the required imperatives of a global effort. It makes clear that we need worldwide understanding of the threat, the scope and urgency of the essential work, as well as clear goals and accountability for progress.”
The Project on Managing the Atom has a dual mission: (1) to provide leadership in advancing policy-relevant knowledge focused on reducing the risks from nuclear and radiological terrorism, stopping nuclear proliferation and reducing nuclear arsenals, lowering the barriers to safe and secure nuclear-energy use, and addressing the connections among these problems; and (2) to prepare the next generation of leaders for work in these arenas.
the Nuclear Threat
Reducing the risk of nuclear use by terrorists and nation-states requires a broad set of complementary strategies targeted at reducing state reliance on nuclear weapons, stemming the demand for nuclear weapons and denying organizations or states access to the essential nuclear materials, technologies and know-how.