12.19.07

Obama, Schiff Provision to Create Nuclear Threat Reduction Plan Approved

Washington, DC – Today, Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) and Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA) announced that a provision authored by Obama and Senator Hagel (R-NE) in the Senate and advanced by Schiff in the House requiring a comprehensive nuclear threat reduction plan passed as part of the omnibus appropriations bill.  This provision requires the President to submit to Congress a comprehensive plan for ensuring that all nuclear weapons and weapons-usable material at vulnerable sites around the world are secure by 2012 from the threats that terrorists have shown they can pose.  The Senate passed the omnibus appropriations bill last night and the House approved the same bill today.  It will now be sent to the President to be signed into law.

“If terrorists get their hands on a nuclear weapon or the essential material to make one, they could cause catastrophic damage to our homeland,” said Senator Obama. “It is imperative that we build and sustain a truly global effort under an aggressive timeline to secure, consolidate, and reduce stockpiles of nuclear weapons and weapons-usable material to keep them out of the wrong hands. The comprehensive nuclear threat reduction plan required by this provision is an important step in that effort.”

“The greatest threat to our national security is the possible detonation of a nuclear weapon. Even the use of a radiological device would be devastating,” Schiff said.  “Yet our national security policy does not reflect the urgency of dealing with this danger.  We need a comprehensive effort to reduce the risk of nuclear terrorism, and this measure is a strong step in the right direction.  I thank Senator Obama for his work on this important provision.”

The Comprehensive Nuclear Threat Reduction provision requires the President to develop a strategy that will:

  • ensure that all nuclear weapons and weapons-usable material at vulnerable sites around the world are secure by 2012 against the threats that terrorists have shown they can pose; 
  • ensure adequate accounting and security for such materials on an ongoing basis thereafter; 
  • include a plan for expanding the financial support and other assistance provided by other countries, particularly Russia, the European Union and its member states, China and Japan, for the purposes of securing nuclear weapons and weapons-usable material worldwide; and
  • outline the progress in and impediments to securing an agreement from all countries that possess nuclear weapons or weapons-usable material on a set of global nuclear security standards, consistent with their obligation to comply with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540.