The Hindu: The road not taken

Nuclear Security Summits have yielded little by focussing on securing small amounts of nuclear material

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On March 31 and April 1, leaders of 52 countries including India came together in Washington DC for the fourth Nuclear Security Summit. Held every two years since 2010, these summits started with the recognition of the risks posed by plutonium and highly enriched uranium (HEU), the key ingredients for making nuclear weapons, and aimed to “secure all vulnerable nuclear material in four years”. Despite this high-level political attention, and fanfare, these summits have achieved little. To make matters worse, countries that in 2010 were producing plutonium and highly enriched uranium continue to do so, and the dangers from nuclear weapons have been neglected.

The main failings were of conception and a political willingness to settle for easy options
. Despite the expansive declarations of the need “to maintain effective security of all nuclear materials, which includes nuclear materials used in nuclear weapons”, the summits narrowed their focus to civilian holdings in non-nuclear weapon states. This material is already being monitored by International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors and, more importantly, is but a tiny fraction of actual global stockpiles
. Some numbers will help put this in perspective.

Read the full article on The Hindu website.

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