Note: Below are remarks delivered by Policy Fellow Nickolas Roth on the nuclear weapons complex in Geneva, Switzerland on September 12, 2012. For more information on the UNIDIR conference “Securing Civilian and Military Nuclear Materials: Current Status and Possible Improvements”, click here.
For the past four years, many nations have focused their attention on securing nuclear material around the world. While this is an important goal, it draws attention away from the inherent security challenges associated with maintaining a large nuclear weapons infrastructure. Facilities within the United States’ nuclear weapons complex possess enough separated weapons grade plutonium and Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU) to build tens of thousands of nuclear weapons. Recent events in the United States have highlighted these challenges and demonstrated that, even in nuclear weapon states with high standards for physical security, seemingly insignificant failures can have potentially significant consequences.
Click here for a PDF version of Nickolas’ full remarks.