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The 47 heads of state who will assemble in Washington next week for the world’s first Nuclear Security Summitshould focus like a laser beam on the biggest potential threat to civilization. Psychologically, it is almost impossible to imagine terrorists exploding a nuclear bomb that devastates the heart of Moscow or Mumbai, New York or Cairo. Analytically, however, there’s only one difference between Al Qaeda’s 9/11 attack that extinguished the lives of 3,000 people in New York, or the 11/26 attack that killed nearly 200 in Mumbai, and a nuclear Mumbai or 9/11 that could kill hundreds of thousands in a single blow. That difference is terrorists getting a nuclear bomb.


Elbaradei, Mohamed, Graham Allison, and Ernest Zedillo. "Nuclear Security." New York Times, April 9, 2010.