Releasing the 2014 NTI Index, Nunn Calls on Leaders To Address Weaknesses in Global Nuclear Security

Index Highlights Positive Trends and Dangerous Gaps
As World Leaders Prepare for Nuclear Security Summit in March


Washington, DC—The Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) today released the 2014 NTI Nuclear Materials Security Index, a unique public assessment of nuclear materials security conditions in 176 countries, developed with the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).  Its key finding: Despite progress, including a valuable Nuclear Security Summit process, the global community must demand an effective and accountable global system for how nuclear materials should be secured to protect the world from catastrophic nuclear terrorism. 

"A nuclear detonation in any part of the world will affect us all.  We need a global nuclear materials security system to secure all materials, to employ international standards and best practices, and to give states the capacity to assess nuclear security globally and hold each other accountable," said NTI Co-Chairman and former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn. "Leaders at the Nuclear Security Summit must resolve these fundamental issues to strengthen global security in the long-term."

Released in advance of the March 2014 Nuclear Security Summit in the Netherlands, the NTI Index assesses 25 countries with one kilogram or more of weapons-usable nuclear material as well as 151 countries that have less than one kilogram or no materials but could be used as safe havens, staging grounds or transit points for illicit materials.  The inaugural NTI Index was released in January 2012.  Complete results and recommendations are available at

Country Results: Seven Countries Clean Out
Since the release of the 2012 NTI Index, seven countries—Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Mexico, Sweden, Ukraine and Vietnam—have removed all or most of their stocks of weapons-usable nuclear materials from their territories, according to the U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration.  In doing so, they have taken one of the most important steps toward ensuring that terrorists cannot gain access to these nuclear materials.  In the context of the NTI Index, these countries move from the list assessing countries with weapons-usable materials to the list of those without.

As in 2012, Australia again ranks first among the 25 states with weapons-usable nuclear materials.  Notably, Australia improved its score from 2012 by reducing quantities of materials and ratifying a key international legal agreement that commits states to criminalize acts of nuclear terrorism.  Rounding out the top five countries in this category are:  Canada, Switzerland, Germany and Norway.

Among countries with weapons-usable materials, Belgium, Canada and Japan are most improved, compared to 2012.  Among nuclear-armed states, France, the United Kingdom and the United States lead in scoring, with France tied for seventh and the United Kingdom and the United States tied for 11th.

Among countries with less than one kilogram or no weapons-usable nuclear materials, the top five are Denmark, Finland and Sweden (tied for second), Spain and Slovenia.  Full rankings are available at

Recommendations: Reach Consensus on Principles for a Global System
The NTI Index includes recommendations for steps by individual states and for actions countries should take collectively.

While individual state actions are necessary, they are not sufficient, and leaders should work together to reach consensus on the key principles of an effective global system that covers all weapons-usable nuclear materials, including those in the military or non-civilian sector; is based on international standards and best practices; enables all states to gain confidence in the effectiveness of each other’s security practices; and reduces risks by decreasing stockpiles of weapons-usable materials.  Specifically, the Index recommends that states:

  • Build confidence in the effectiveness of their security practices through reassuring steps such as participating in international peer reviews, publishing relevant regulations and declaring inventories.
  • Become parties to the nuclear security treaties that govern nuclear terrorism and physical security.
  • Strengthen voluntary mechanisms such as the IAEA’s Nuclear Security Fund and the World Institute for Nuclear Security.
  • Secure military and other non-civilian materials to the same or higher standards as civilian.  About 85 percent of global stocks of weapons-usable nuclear materials are outside civilian programs (because they are either military or other non-civilian programs) and are not covered by IAEA guidelines or the physical protection treaty or its 2005 amendment.

"Leaders of nuclear armed states need to raise confidence in the security of all nuclear materials, whether civilian or military. No one would have confidence in an international civil aviation system if regulations only applied to 15 percent of the planes that fly," NTI President Joan Rohlfing said. "Why should our nuclear materials security rules apply only to a small fraction of these dangerous materials?"

International Participation
NTI and the EIU drew on the expertise of technical advisors and an International Panel of Experts from nuclear and non-nuclear weapons states and from developed and developing nations.  Governments from countries with materials were offered briefings (with 23 conducted), and 17 of the 25 reviewed data as part of the process.

Changes in NTI Index Scoring from 2012
After the launch of the 2012 NTI Index, NTI and the EIU sought feedback on the approach.  As a result, the 2014 edition includes such changes as new indicators and subindicators. To allow direct comparison between 2012 and 2014, the EIU rescored countries for 2012; the comparisons in the 2014 report reflect the new scoring.

About the Nuclear Threat Initiative
NTI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization working to reduce the global threats from nuclear, biological and chemical weapons.  NTI is co-chaired by Sam Nunn and Ted Turner and governed by an international board of directors.   Key NTI funders include Warren Buffett, George Russell, NTI Co-Chairman Ted Turner, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Peter G. Peterson Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation of New York.


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