Gaps in international law and inconsistent security measures leave radioactive materials and facilities around the world vulnerable to misuse, sabotage, and theft by would-be terrorists. To help mitigate the serious global threat of nuclear terrorism, the United States launched the Nuclear Security Summit in 2010, a series of bi-annual meetings that bring together dozens of world leaders with the aim of keeping materials like highly enriched uranium out of the wrong hands.
The summit process has become an important mechanism for improving nuclear security, but its potential has not been fully realized. The 2010 Washington summit and the 2012 Seoul summit focused primarily on accelerating incremental efforts, rather than building consensus for bold new actions. At the third summit, to be held in March 2014 in the Hague, Netherlands, countries will evaluate their progress on locking down vulnerable nuclear materials and should commit to more ambitious cooperation.