Avoiding Armageddon
From the Experts

Voices from - Silent Killers: Poisons and Plagues

Voices from - Nuclear Nightmares: Losing Control
President Jimmy Carter
Joe Cirincione
President Bill Clinton
Dr. Khidhir Hamza
Former Senator Sam Nunn

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Voices from - Confronting Terrorism: Turning the Tide

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Voices from "Nuclear Nightmares: Losing Control"

Joe Cirincione

Joe Cirincione is an expert on weapons of mass destruction, arms control and security issues. He is director of the Nonproliferation Project at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He has written a number of books on these subjects and is a frequent commentator on proliferation and security issues in the media; he teaches at the Georgetown University Graduate School of Foreign Service.

"You know, it's one thing to negotiate treaties. It's another thing to implement them. And Russia has severe financial problems. They required funding from the United States to destroy their nuclear weapons. There's an unprecedented opportunity here, where the United States is being invited in to the secret nuclear arsenals of our former foe and being allowed to actually cut and destroy the nuclear weapons that we feared for decades. It's cheap at any price," says Cirincione.
"Russia today remains the largest warehouse of nuclear weapons material and expertise in the world today, and for that reason it's the greatest danger of proliferation in the world today. And the reason is simple. It's easy to get a nuclear weapons design. It's hard, but still relatively easy, to actually construct a nuclear weapon."
"The difficult part is getting the stuff to put inside, the highly enriched uranium or the plutonium. There are tons of that material, much of it in unsafeguarded facilities inside Russia and some of the other former Soviet republics. We have got to secure and lock up this material before somebody, somewhere, somehow gets their hands on it. It's often said that you can find a weapons design for a nuclear weapon on the Internet, and that's roughly true. But what you really need is the detailed specifications for a weapon, and that requires somebody trained in this art. Unfortunately, that's not that hard to find. In 50 years, a lot of people have been trained in this technology."

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