In the News: Nuclear Security Efforts

A coalition of leading nuclear security experts and organizations is urging Congress to fully fund threat reduction and nonproliferation programs that were trimmed below requested FY 2011 levels in December. The Fissile Material Working Group, or FMWG, sent members of Congress a letter on Monday asking that the funds be restored in order to preserve programs intended to prevent nuclear terrorism.

“We urge you to ensure that threat reduction and nonproliferation programs at NNSA, the Department of Defense, and the Department of State are funded at the FY 2011 requested level for the remainder of the fiscal year,” the letter states. “No less than America’s national security is at stake.”

President Obama requested more than $2 billion for international programs to secure weapons-grade materials in FY 2011. A critical piece of that request included a $320 million increase that enables the National Nuclear Security Administration and Department of Defense to secure and eliminate nuclear materials around the world. A spending bill passed in December, however, did not include that increase.

“Experts agree that limiting access to vulnerable nuclear weapons-usable materials will greatly reduce the threat of nuclear terrorism,” the FMWG states in its letter. “The global financial cost and terrible destruction of a nuclear terrorist attack would dwarf the costs of preventing such an attack.”

The FMWG is a coalition of more than 40 leading experts and non-governmental organizations in nuclear security. It was formed to support and help implement the goal of securing all vulnerable fissile materials as quickly as possible.