nuclear dangers

Non-state actors & WMD: Does ISIS have a pathway to a nuclear weapon?

Nuclear Security

On March 2014, during the Nuclear Security Summit held in the Netherlands, President Obama identified his number one concern as being the prospect of a nuclear weapon going off in Manhattan. UK Home Secretary Theresa May pinpointed her particular fear of the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) acquisition of “chemical, biological or even nuclear weapons” in the “world’s first truly terrorist state”. Fortunately, there has not yet been a nuclear or radiological terrorist attack, but the smuggling of nuclear material remains a pivotal threat to nuclear security.

The 2016 Nuclear Security Summit returns to Washington

NSS2014

 

In his 2009 speech in Prague, President Obama described the threat of terrorists acquiring nuclear weapons as the “most immediate and extreme threat to global security”. Setting the bar high, he also announced the start of a global summit process that would focus on the security of nuclear materials from the threat of theft and terrorism in and work “to secure all vulnerable nuclear material around the world within four years”.

Conference Videos: Impact of Emerging Technologies on the the Future of SSBN's

On 13th September 2016, BASIC, British Pugwash and the University of Leicester hosted The impact of Emerging Technologies on the Future of SSBNs in Whitehall, London. The conference welcomed contributions from 15 scientific experts and strategic thinkers on the implications of major advances in sonar, non-acoustic detection, new forms of undersea communications and autonomous maritime drones for sea-based deterrence.

Getting to Zero Update

Russia and the United States have begun the exchange of information on their nuclear arsenals under the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) as they assess next steps on arms control and also try to resolve their differences over missile defense. The Iranian and North Korean nuclear situations showed no signs of resolution, and instead pointed to more difficulties ahead.

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Nuclear Security after the Washington Summit

The Washington summit on nuclear security delivered some positive outcomes. But it is imperative that states do not now become complacent; there is much still left to do to ensure that nuclear weapons and material do not fall into the wrong hands. The ultimate gauge of the summit’s success will be whether actions now follow words. Published originally in the RUSI Journal, June/July 2010, Vol. 155, No. 3.

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