Nuclear summit held over state of world nuclear arms supply

A nuclear bomb is one of the many topics of the nuclear summit.

A nuclear bomb, one of the many topics of the nuclear summit. (Photo from Wikimedia Commons)

Perhaps the gravest threat to global security are nuclear weapons.  Since the world’s nuclear arsenal appears to not be completely secure, a nuclear summit is being held between the U.S. and other nuclear powers to discuss the state of affairs.  It’s worth more than a little bit of fast cash to keep all nuclear weapons secured, to say the least, and the emergence of new players onto the scene of nuclear powers has only complicated matters.

Terrorists and rogue states a grave concern

Since the emergence of Al Qaeda and other rogue groups onto the global scene, it is vital that their access to nuclear materials be entirely restricted. According to this article from the Christian Science Monitor, the concern of the nuclear summit is not just access to nuclear weapons, but access to nuclear fissile materials.  Warheads are accounted for and secured, but the materials necessary to improvise a nuclear explosive device are something else entirely.

Two types of materials needed

There are two different elements that can be used as nuclear fissile material to create a nuclear bomb.  Highly enriched uranium, or HEU, or plutonium, can both be used to create the fission reaction necessary for a nuclear detonation.  The process for thermonuclear weapons (the hydrogen or H bomb) is quite different, and only six countries actually have developed those capabilities, which takes a lot of talent, knowledge  and more than a few personal loans to develop.

Uranium can be enriched in a reactor, and there are research all over the world that have amounts of enriched uranium.  The CSM article reports nearly 1.6 million kilograms of highly enriched uranium and 500,000 kilograms of plutonium, in 130 countries having research reactors .  Merely 25 kg of HEU or 8 kg of Plutonium is necessary to create a small nuclear weapon.

Obama nuclear summit called for NPT countries

Last year, President Obama called for a summit on the state of affairs and updated security measures for NPT or nations that have signed the Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty, which convened recently. The NPT was created in 1968, and extended indefinitely in 1995.  Pakistan and India declined to sign, and North Korea withdrew in 2003.

With the known interest of terrorist groups in acquiring nuclear materials and recent developments in Iran and North Korea, it’s vital that a global consensus be reached concerning nuclear weapons.  It would be the most grandiose and perverse foolishness for millions of the world’s citizens to perish because of conflicts between their governments.