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President Trump’s Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) should focus on safety and security, not deterrence

The Hill 20th Oct 2017, President Trump’s Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) is likely to be released
in January 2018. Given the President’s reported remarks about increasing
the U.S. nuclear arsenal tenfold, the focal point of the review will
undoubtedly be on deterrence, not nuclear security.

Regardless of decisionsrelated to the size of the U.S. nuclear stockpile, preventing nuclear
terrorism — an integral part of nuclear security — should still be a
top priority. After all, terrorists, by their very nature, cannot be
deterred in the same way that states can. Nuclear, fissile and radioactive
materials — ingredients for a nuclear weapon, crude weapon or dirty bomb
— are quite literally all around us.

They are stored in thousands of universities, hospitals and laboratories across the world because of their
applications in medicine and research. Preventing these materials from
ending up in the wrong hands keeps the world safe from a nuclear attack.

The dangers are not as distant as you might think. Security breaches have
already happened. In 2012, an unarmed 82-year-old nun broke into the Y-12
maximum security nuclear facility in Tennessee, the “Fort Knox of
uranium,” to protest.

It is not hard to imagine that criminals bent onacquiring nuclear material could have similar success.

The consequences of a nuclear terrorist event in any U.S. city are terrifying. Even a small
nuclear detonation could cause immediate casualties from the blast, as well
as panic, economic disruption, long-term evacuations, exorbitant
decontamination costs, casualties from cancer and overwhelming
psychological damage. Regardless of views on broader nuclear policy
choices, the reason to maintain focus on nuclear security is clear.


October 23, 2017 - Posted by | general

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