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Global Security Newswire

Daily News on Nuclear, Biological & Chemical Weapons, Terrorism and Related Issues

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Specialists Seek Mutual Accountability System for Nuclear Arms, Power Efforts

The global community should subject its atomic armaments and power operations to autonomous oversight and a scrupulous mutual accountability mechanism, a group of respected nuclear analysts said in comments published on Friday by the journal Science (see GSN, June 6).

Fear has increased over the potential for extremists to obtain nuclear substances or arms, even as governments have moved to prevent the spread of such bombs and lock down sensitive materials, wrote former Secretary of State George Shultz, Hoover Institution nuclear weapons expert Sidney Drell and Steven Andreasen, a former National Security Council staffer now associated with the Nuclear Threat Initiative.

"There is growing risk of accidents, mistakes or miscalculations, and of regional wars or nuclear terrorism," a Stanford University press release quoted the three as saying in the report. "Strong, independent regulatory agencies are not the norm in many countries."

"States new to the nuclear enterprise may not have effective safeguards to secure nuclear weapons and materials or the capability to safely manage and regulate civil reactors," adds the document, which calls for the International Atomic Energy Agency to receive additional authority and funding.

Countries around the world should model their atomic assessment systems after mechanisms in place in the United States, the authors wrote.

"Independent experts in the United States, both within and outside the weapons program, review each other, rigorously challenge weapons and systems safety, and communicate these points up and down the line," they said.

"Progress toward a world free of nuclear weapons will build international trust and cooperation required to address dangers and prevent catastrophes," the article adds (Stanford University release/Spacedaily.com, June 4).

[Editor's Note: The Nuclear Threat Initiative is the sole sponsor of Global Security Newswire, which is published independently by the National Journal Group.]

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