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HKS Authors

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

Abstract

A nuclear explosion detonated anywhere by a terrorist group would be a global humanitarian, economic, and political catastrophe. The current COVID-19 pandemic reminds us not to ignore prevention of and preparation for low-probability, high-consequence disasters. For nuclear terrorism, while preparation is important, prevention must be the top priority. The most effective strategy for keeping nuclear weapons out of the hands of terrorists is to ensure that nuclear materials and facilities around the world have strong and sustainable security. Every president for more than two decades has made strengthening nuclear security around the globe a priority. This includes the Trump administration, whose 2018 Nuclear Posture Review states: “[n]uclear terrorism remains among the most significant threats to the security of the United States, allies, and partners.”2 Despite these efforts, some nuclear facilities and materials around the world remain dangerously vulnerable. The Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) nuclear security programs require sustained funding increases to ensure that security at nuclear facilities keeps pace with ever-evolving threats.

Citation

Bunn, Matthew, Nicholas Roth, and H. William Tobey. "Public Testimony on Trump Administration Funding for Nuclear Theft Prevention Programs." House Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies, March 31, 2020.