Over the last 6 years, the Nuclear Security Summits have brought the attention of world leaders to the nuclear terrorist threat. Started by President Barack Obama in 2010, these biennial summits have made significant progress in securing nuclear materials and enhancing global collaboration on nuclear security challenges. However, despite progress, the threat of nuclear terrorism continues to evolve, and troubling gaps remain in the global system for nuclear security.
With the Summit process now ended, the Nuclear Threat Initiative has prepared a progress report looking at actions taken at the final Summit toward building a comprehensive and effective global nuclear security system and where gaps remain. See our report below, or download the report as a PDF.
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 participants reached consensus on the following four elements of an effective global nuclear security system:
- Comprehensive: All weapons-usable nuclear materials and facilities should be covered by the system, including materials outside civilian programs (“military materials”).
- Standards and Best Practices: All states and facilities holding those materials should adhere to international standards and best practices.
- Confidence Building: States should help build confidence in the effectiveness of their security practices and should take reassuring actions to demonstrate that all nuclear materials and facilities are secure.
- Minimize and Eliminate: States should work to reduce risk through minimizing or, where feasible, eliminating weapons-usable nuclear materials stocks and the number of locations where they are found.
The Global Dialogue also developed recommendations for sustaining high-level political attention and momentum on nuclear security after the Nuclear Security Summit process ends.
The 2016 Summit resulted in significant achievements but considerable gaps in the global system remain. Below are highlights of how the 2016 summit brought us closer to a strengthened global system and where there are remaining gaps.