While the Cold War was ongoing, there was mass paranoia and hysteria that one of the two superpowers would start an all-out nuclear war which would result in the extinction of the human species. Now that this theory is a thing of the past, nuclear nations are all joining hands against the new nemesis; the unpredictable threat of non-state actors, terrorists, potentially arming themselves with deadly weapons. The exaggerated fear of nuclear weapons falling into the wrong hands seems to be one of the leading discussions at the Nuclear Security Summit, detracting perhaps from the real concerns and issues at hand. It has led primarily to the NSS being focused on how to improve security around materials used for nuclear production. The massive stockpiles, the tens of thousands of nuclear warheads that countries like the US and Russia have amassed have slipped the spotlight. This side-tracking has deep connotations for the world at large, as depicted by blatant US double standards on nuclear proliferation in Israel, compared to its policies relating to other nations. Surely, these real and conceivable concerns are what should be under the microscope in The Hague. What are the odds, really, of nuclear weapons “falling” into the hands of a bunch of trigger-happy tribal leaders, who are not really, one may safely assume, the most proficient scientists of this age?
A nuclear bomb (here comes another assumption) is hardly a thing that can be built in a secret cave in Afghanistan after which they (the nuclear hungry terrorists) will launch it (on a prayer) to a select urban center near you. Enriching uranium and plutonium through centrifuges is a bit of a select niche profession and were terrorists to chance upon weaponised uranium lying around a friendly facility, it would certainly be a bit of a pain to transport if nothing else. It’s all a bit absurd, this outcry. Any nuclear enrichment facility, uranium or plutonium-based, will need special ventilation and release heat signatures, not to mention the constant inflow of suspicious raw materials which should draw all sorts of unwanted attention.
The three pillars of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, namely non-proliferation, disarmament, and the peaceful use of nuclear technology, is what should be put under a continued media microscope. The real issue still is, that there remains far too little progress on disarmament, and that is the only real way to ensure that nuclear weapons do not fall into the wrong hands.