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 22 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. Since the last Nuclear Security Summit in 2016, NTI has continued to convene the Global Dialogue, supported the work of the Nuclear Security Contact Group, and continued to develop news ideas to address ongoing challenges and strengthen the global nuclear security system.
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
- A Roadmap to Minimize and Eliminate Highly Enriched Uranium
- The Case for Highly Enriched Uranium-Free Zones
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 Vice President for Materials Risk Management Laura S.H. Holgate and Samantha Pitts-Kiefer, Senior Director for Materials Risk Management, 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:
In order to sustain progress made during the Nuclear Security Summits, and to engage cross-sector with government officials and industry experts on a broader range of nuclear, radiological and cyber security issues, NTI established a third series of the Global Dialogue meetings in late 2016. For further information about the third series of meetings, visit: