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HKS Authors

See citation below for complete author information.

James R. Schlesinger Professor of the Practice of Energy, National Security, and Foreign Policy


At the first nuclear security summit in April 2010, the assembled leaders agreed on the goal of securing all vulnerable nuclear material worldwide within four years, including consolidating plutonium and highly enriched uranium (HEU) to fewer locations and minimizing the use of HEU “where technically and economically feasible.” Reducing the number of buildings and sites where nuclear weapons and weapons-usable nuclear material exist is a key element of preventing nuclear theft and nuclear terrorism, as the only way to completely eliminate the risk that nuclear material will be stolen from a particular location is to remove the material itself. States can achieve more effective nuclear security at lower cost if they have fewer places with nuclear weapons or weapons-usable nuclear material to protect. The fundamental goal must be to reduce the number of sites and transports as far and as quickly as possible, and provide highly effective security for those that remain. Over time, the civil use of HEU should be phased out, and HEU should be eliminated from all civil sites. This paper outlines the efforts the international community is already making to meet these objectives, and recommends a range of next steps.


Bunn, Matthew, and Eben Harrell. "Consolidation: Thwarting Nuclear Theft." Project on Managing the Atom, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School, March 2012.