from International Institutions and Global Governance Program

Seeking Nuclear Security Through Greater International Coordination

March 19, 2010


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Nonproliferation, Arms Control, and Disarmament

International Law


In April 2009, U.S. president Barack Obama identified nuclear terrorism as the gravest threat to the United States. But debates in the main decision-making bodies in Vienna and New York reveal strong resistance to measures that would strengthen the nuclear security regime. This International Institutions and Global Governance program Working Paper by Jack Boureston and Tanya Ogilvie-White offers suggestions to strengthen the nuclear security regime and achieve the four-year goal set by President Obama to secure all vulnerable nuclear materials around the world. The paper concludes that the time-consuming task of forging international consensus will be essential to preventing what Graham Allison has called "the ultimate preventable catastrophe"—a nuclear terrorist attack.