BASIC releases report on nuclear security ahead of Obama's summit

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Obama’s nuclear security summit early next week presents a critical chance to tackle a web of challenges that concern us all, a new report for the British American Security Information Council (BASIC) claims today.

The report, written by Dr. Ian Kearns, BASIC Research Director and Specialist Adviser to the UK Parliamentary Committee on National Security, to coincide with President Obama’s nuclear security summit on April 12-13, argues that: The threat of one state ‘engineering’ a nuclear security lapse on its own soil to facilitate a terrorist nuclear attack on a rival state, means effective and global nuclear security arrangements are an essential confidence building measure for multilateral nuclear disarmament; A major nuclear security incident anywhere will undermine confidence in nuclear power worldwide, undermining national strategies to limit carbon emissions.

Dr. Ian Kearns said: “Too many people see nuclear security as a narrow technical issue of concern only to those most fearful of nuclear terrorism. If leaders at the summit get it right, they could render nuclear power safer to use in the fight against climate change, strengthen the non-proliferation regime, and build further international confidence in multilateral nuclear disarmament.”

The report also argues that the risk of terrorists getting a nuclear capability is growing, yet there is a lack of international consensus on the issue. US-UK attempts to separate the debate on nuclear security from the wider disarmament and non-proliferation agenda are seen by many non-nuclear weapons states as a device to lock in advantages enjoyed by those already holding nuclear weapons.

To be a success, the report argues the Washington Summit must produce:

1: A communiqué that makes clear the linkages between nuclear security, nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation agendas.
2: Concrete action on locking-down the world’s remaining stockpiles of insecure nuclear weapons and materials within four years.
3: Action to support a growth in nuclear security expertise and a culture of improved security globally, including via the creation and funding of regional nuclear security training centers throughout the world
4: More international monitoring of all civilian and excess military stockpiles of nuclear materials.
5: Commitment to a process to universalize and streamline the multilateral institutional architecture, perhaps through a UN Framework Convention on Nuclear Security.


Notes to Editors:

Keeping the Lid On: Nuclear Security and the Washington Summit, by Ian Kearns, is published by the British American Security Information Council (BASIC) and available at www.basicint.org. The author can be contacted for further comment on +44 (0)7939 604915.

Additional comment:

Paul Ingram, Executive Director +44 (0)7908 708175
Anne Penketh, Program Director +1 202 5706701
BASIC UK office: +44 20 7324 4680
BASIC US office: +1 202 546 8055 x.102