Global Dialogue on Nuclear Security Priorities

Strengthening the global nuclear security system

Challenge

No effective global system for securing the world’s most dangerous materials.

Action

NTI convened a high-level, international dialogue among government officials, experts, nuclear security practitioners, and other stakeholders to advance key priorities in the Nuclear Security Summit process and strengthen the global nuclear security system. 

Results

NTI’s Global Dialogue developed key elements for a sustainable, comprehensive approach to nuclear materials security; many were officially adopted at the Nuclear Security Summits.   

A nuclear blast at the hands of terrorists would be catastrophic, and the consequences would reverberate around the globe. Dangerous nuclear materials - highly enriched uranium and plutonium - are stored in hundreds of sites in 24 countries, and some of these sites are poorly secured.

These materials are not subject to any common international standards or “rules of the road” that all states must follow, and there is currently no way to hold states accountable for lax security. Many states see nuclear security as a purely sovereign responsibility, even though poor security in one state could result in a nuclear attack on the other side of the world.

To address the threat of nuclear terrorism, world leaders have convened four times for a series of Nuclear Security Summits—in Washington in 2010, Seoul in 2012, The Hague in 2014, and in Washington again 2016. 

Over the last four years and in parallel with the global Nuclear Security Summits, NTI worked with senior government officials from 29 countries, representatives from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the World Institute for Nuclear Security, leading experts, and nuclear industry representatives in a Global Dialogue on Nuclear Security Priorities to explore critical questions: What are the most important steps for effective nuclear security? Where are the gaps? What should be prioritized? The group agreed that the current patchwork of initiatives, voluntary mechanisms, and institutions is inadequate to the task of confronting the threat of nuclear terrorism and that instead there needed to be a comprehensive, effective global system for securing dangerous weapons-usable nuclear materials. 

The Global Dialogue also developed recommendations for sustaining high-level political attention and momentum on nuclear security after the Nuclear Security Summit process ends.

For more on NTI's recommendations for building a comprehensive, effective global system, see "Global Dialogue Nuclear Security Priorities: Building An Effective Global Nuclear Security System." 

For more on progress and remaining gaps after the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit, see "2016 Nuclear Security Summit Progress Report."

Global Dialogue Meeting Details

Global Dialogue meetings are held on a not-for-attribution basis. Individuals and governments are free to use the information obtained during the meeting, but should not attribute such information to a specific individual or government. A list of participants from previous meetings is available here.

The project is led by NTI President Joan RohlfingAndrew Bieniawski, Vice President for Material Security and Minimization, and Samantha Pitts-Kiefer, Director for Global Nuclear Policy, with generous support from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Peter G. Peterson Foundation.

In the first series of Global Dialogue meetings held prior to the 2014 Summit, three meetings were held. During the course of these meetings, participants reached consensus on the need for a strengthened global nuclear security system and the key elements of that system. The 2014 Summit results reflected growing support at the time for the concepts developed. For further information about these meetings, including papers developed for those meetings and rapporteur’s reports summarizing the meeting results, visit:

In preparation for the final Nuclear Security Summit in 2016, NTI convened a second series of Global Dialogue meetings. For further information about the second series of meetings, including papers developed and rapporteur's reports summarizing the meeting results, visit:

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Latest Activity

NEW Op-Ed: The Greatest Terrorist Threat

On the heels of the Paris attacks, Sam Nunn, Richard Lugar and Des Browne call on leaders to keep nuclear and radiological materials out of the hands of terrorists in a new Politico op-ed.

NEW Roadmap to Minimize and Eliminate HEU

A new paper published by NTI, the Center for Nonproliferation Studies and the Fissile Materials Working Group offers timely recommendations for action that countries can pursue ahead of the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit.

May 2015 Global Dialogue Meeting

New York, NY
Government officials, experts, nuclear security practitioners, and other stakeholders met in New York, following the 2015 NPT Review Conference, for a meeting of NTI's Global Dialogue on Nuclear Security Priorities.

Rohlfing: U.S. and Russia Need to Get Back to Work

NTI President Joan Rohlfing argues why U.S.-Russian cooperation on nuclear issues should continue despite Russian aggression in Ukraine in a new piece for The New York Times' Room for Debate series.

September 2014 Global Dialogue Meeting

Prague, The Czech Republic
Government officials, experts, nuclear security practitioners, and other stakeholders met in Prague, the Czech Republic for a meeting of NTI's Global Dialogue on Nuclear Security Priorities.

Education Module Introduces Students to Nuclear Materials Security

A new education module for undergraduate and graduate college courses includes an introduction to nuclear materials security, a lecture outline and slides. The lesson plan includes a Model Nuclear Security Summit to develop students’ perspectives on nuclear materials security

Countdown to the Nuclear Security Summit 2014

Washington, DC
NTI President Joan Rohlfing and Peter Mollema of the Netherlands Embassy in DC will discuss priorities for the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit at The George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs.

May 2013 Global Dialogue Meeting

Annecy, France
Government officials, experts, nuclear security practitioners, and other stakeholders met in Annecy, France in May 2013 for the third meeting of NTI's Global Dialogue on Nuclear Security Priorities.

Gains in Global Nuclear Security

One year after the launch of the NTI Nuclear Materials Security Index, more countries have taken steps to reduce the threat of nuclear terrorism and illicit trafficking. NTI tracks progress and notes opportunities for further gains in a new progress report.

October 2012 Global Dialogue Meeting

Dalfsen, The Netherlands
Government officials, experts, nuclear security practitioners, and other stakeholders met in Dalfsen, The Netherlands in October 2012 for the second meeting of NTI's Global Dialogue on Nuclear Security Priorities.

July 2012 Global Dialogue Meeting

Warrenton, Virginia
Government officials, experts, nuclear security practitioners, and other stakeholders met outside Washington, D.C. in July 2012 for the first meeting of NTI's Global Dialogue on Nuclear Security Priorities.

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