While it has been known since early 2004 that the illicit proliferation network headed by A.Q. Khan of Pakistan supplied the nuclear programs of Iran, North Korea, and Libya, certain questions have not yet been resolved.
With the second Nuclear Security Summit fast approaching, it is a good moment to reflect on the issue of radiological security.
As the U.S. government expands its efforts to trim the federal budget, the devastation and global fears caused by Japan’s nuclear disaster clearly demonstrate the importance of continued funding for nuclear security.
The 2011 conference focused on new actors and new agendas, reflecting the need to develop cooperative responses to challenges being posed by changing technology, distributions of political power, interest in nuclear energy, and security conditions in key regions.
Verifying nuclear disarmament poses an unprecedented technical challenge, given the lingering uncertainty over whether states have retained militarily significant stockpiles of fissile material.
Tensions between the United States and Pakistan over the security of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal are fueled by Islamabad’s perception of close U.S. ties to India and by Washington’s fear of internal disarray in Pakistan.
In spite of the fact that nuclear reprocessing continues to pose a number of economic and nonproliferation challenges, this process remains a significant factor in the current and future nuclear power plans of a number of nations
While Britain is contributing productively to disarmament efforts, its fissile material records should be more transparent. A better means of tracking fissile materials is imperative as the world pursues mechanisms to verify nuclear weapons reductions.
While international diffusion of nuclear materials and technology is an important cause of nuclear weapons proliferation, experts disagree on how best to address the problem and prevent countries from acquiring nuclear weapons.
Nuclear nonproliferation cannot be considered utopian since we know what can and should be done to achieve it. The harder question, however, is whether we can muster the political will to create the necessary geo-political and security conditions to achieve common nonproliferation goals.