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The World Is Closer Than You Think To Nuclear War

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Ian Stewart | Telegraph

This month, 50 world leaders gathered in Washington DC to talk about what measures could be taken to prevent terrorists from accessing nuclear or radiological material. It was the latest in a series of summits which have made important progress in securing nuclear materials.

But the nuclear dangers facing the UK are far larger than those focused on by the summit. They have no easy answers. But if politicians from all our major parties don't confront them, there's just a chance that all of us will regret it.

Terrorists are not the main problem

The risk that terrorists might seek to acquire nuclear materials cannot be discounted. Acquiring materials that could be used in nuclear weapons would be catastrophic.  But it is also unlikely: there has been an active effort to secure all weapons-usable fissile material and a large number of sting operations.

There are still concerns about potential "loose" nuclear materials from the former Soviet Union, and about the possibility that Pakistani nuclear weapons might be lost or stolen. There are also concerns about the vulnerability of nuclear facilities to sabotage or terrorist attack.The nuclear security summit process has helped to reduce these risks, but the risks cannot be eliminated entirely.

Nonetheless, there is a risk that the effort and attention devoted by the summit to this issue might have detracted – or at least not have helped fight – much broader nuclear dangers.

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