A Safer Nuclear Enterprise

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Science  08 Jun 2012:
Vol. 336, Issue 6086, pp. 1236
DOI: 10.1126/science.1221842

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The global nuclear enterprise, the activities and infrastructure that support both weapons and civil energy programs, is facing significant challenges. In the 26 years since Chernobyl, the nuclear power industry has strengthened its safety practices, yet Fukushima demonstrates the fragility of the civil nuclear enterprise. Despite an admirable record and firm commitment to make safety a primary criterion in weapons design, production, handling, and deployment, and to ensure that nuclear material is protected against theft, there is growing apprehension about terrorists acquiring weapons or nuclear material. We outline key principles and recommendations aimed at weak points in the world's nuclear enterprises.