Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Measuring progress on securing nuclear weapon-usable material

In his op-ed Thwarting Terrorists: More to Be Done appearing today’s Washington Post, Dr. Matthew Bunn, Senior Research Associate in the Project on Managing the Atom at Harvard University's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and also Member of the Board of Advisors of the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, announces the publication of his annual report Securing the Bomb 2007.

He notes in the op-ed that:

-“While this is a global threat, Russia, Pakistan and research reactors using
fuel made from highly enriched uranium pose the most urgent dangers of nuclear
-“Roughly 140 research reactors fueled by highly enriched uranium exist in dozens of countries -- some of them on university campuses -- and many have only modest security measures in place.”
-While “U.S.-funded security upgrades have been completed for more than half of the Russian buildings with potential bomb material and more than half of Russia's warhead sites…there is still a dangerous gap between the urgency of the threat and the scope and pace of the U.S. and international response. No binding global nuclear security standards are in place. Many nuclear facilities around the world do not have
security measures that could protect against demonstrated terrorist and criminal
-“Only about a quarter of the world's HEU-fueled research
reactors have had all their highly enriched uranium removed, leaving a major gap
to be closed.”

Bunn’s recommendations include:
-"We urgently need a high-priority global campaign to make sure every nuclear
weapon and every significant cache of potential bomb material is locked
-"We need to forge effective global nuclear security standards."
-"We need stronger efforts to get countries to sustain upgraded security for the long
haul, and to help those individuals who work with nuclear materials to understand that corners can never be cut on security."
-"And we need to expand efforts to completely remove nuclear weapons and potential nuclear bomb material from as many facilities worldwide as possible."
-"To get all this done, President Bush should appoint a senior White House official to take full-time responsibility for policing these efforts, overcoming the obstacles to progress, and keeping the issue a priority at the White House."

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