The National Academies

Nuclear Security Summit Under Way in Washington, D.C.


April 12 - Over three dozen world leaders joined President Obama in Washington, D.C., on Monday to discuss how to secure vulnerable nuclear materials stored at sites around the world and keep terrorists from acquiring them.

Recent reports from the National Research Council examine how to better secure these materials and discourage nuclear proliferation. Among them is Global Security Engagement: A New Model for Cooperative Threat Reduction (2009), which recommends upgrading U.S. programs such as the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program -- originally designed to secure nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons and material in the former Soviet Union -- and expanding them to new regions and countries.

Strengthening Long-Term Nuclear Security: Protecting Weapon-Usable Material in Russia (2006), done in collaboration with the Russian Academy of Sciences, examines how the U.S. and other international partners can work with Russia to secure its large supply of weapons-grade nuclear material. The report highlights the importance of consolidating weapons-usable material in a limited number of locations and developing a nuclear security culture through education, training exercises, and the adoption of best practices.

Another report completed jointly with the Russian academy, Internationalization of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle: Goals, Strategies, and Challenges (2008), recommends ways to reduce the risk of weapons proliferation as more countries pursue nuclear energy. Over time, the report says, the U.S., Russia, and other nations should work to create international centers to handle sensitive steps of the fuel cycle, including the enrichment of uranium and management of spent fuel.

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