The best way to prevent terrorists from acquiring a nuclear weapon is to prevent them from accessing the nuclear material needed to build one.
The threat of nuclear terrorism is real and remains one of the greatest threats to global security.
An act of nuclear terrorism would have grave repercussions around the world, including the potential for a dramatic loss of life, the spread of radiation, and damage to the international economy. The best way to prevent terrorists from acquiring a nuclear weapon is to prevent them from accessing the nuclear material needed to build one.
To promote efforts to prevent nuclear terrorism, President Barack Obama convened the first Nuclear Security Summit in Washington in 2010. Forty-seven countries from every region of the world committed to safeguard nuclear materials from loss or theft.
Since then, the world has made substantial progress. Subsequent Nuclear Security Summits were convened in Seoul in 2012 and The Hague in 2014. Individual countries have taken specific actions to secure nuclear materials in their countries and to prevent illicit trafficking and smuggling.
Indeed, since President Obama’s first major national security speech in Prague in 2009 on nuclear security: Twelve countries have completely eliminated highly enriched uranium from within their borders and 24 highly enriched uranium nuclear reactors in fourteen countries were successfully converted to low enriched uranium fuel use or verified as shut down. In total, twenty-seven countries have removed or disposed of nearly 3000 kilograms of highly enriched uranium and separated plutonium.
With its allies and partners, the United States will continue to work to put in place a sustainable global nuclear security architecture designed to reduce the threat of nuclear terrorism, including at the next Nuclear Security Summit to be held in the United States in 2016.