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“Risks of nuclear terrorism are high and growing.” New tools, alliances, renewed focus needed, group led by Northeastern expert recommends.

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In this photo released by Russian Defense Ministry Press Service on Tuesday, May 21, 2024, a Russian Iskander missile is seen during drills to train the military for using tactical nuclear weapons at an undisclosed location in Russia. Russia's Defense Ministry on Tuesday said it began the first stage of drills involving tactical nuclear weapons. It was the first time Russia has publicly announced drills involving tactical nuclear weapons, although its strategic nuclear forces regularly hold exercises. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP)

For roughly 80 years, the United States has managed the threat of nuclear terrorism through nonproliferation treaties, agency programs, intelligence activities, international monitoring support and more, withstanding the Cold War, the fall of the Soviet Union, and 9/11.  A National Academies committee led by Northeastern University’s Stephen Flynn wants to ensure the U.S. remains prepared.

“The issue of nuclear terrorism remains very much a real one, there are enormous stakes involved and the risks are high, but the issue has been falling off the radar screen of the American public over the last 15 years, and the skill set of people involved in managing it is aging out,” says Flynn, professor of political science and founding director of the Global Resilience Institute at Northeastern. “We really need to keep our eye on the ball. It was quite timely for Congress to call for an assessment of this risk and provide recommendations for staying on top of this issue.”

In the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act, Congress mandated the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Agency to work with the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine to assess the current state of nuclear terrorism and nuclear weapons and materials and advise the government on how to handle such issues. Flynn, an expert on national and homeland security, was appointed chair of the committee in 2022. The committee released its final report on Tuesday.

Continue reading at Northeastern Global News.

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