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Richardson Campaign Press Release - New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson Outlines Comprehensive Strategy to Prevent "Nuclear 9/11"

March 28, 2007

Calls for urgent action to secure nuclear materials, end nuclear proliferation, and prevent terrorists from obtaining nuclear weapons

WASHINGTON, DC - New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson today outlined a strong and realistic strategy to prevent nuclear terrorism, unveiling his plan during a speech to the Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University in Washington, DC.

"In the 20th century, nuclear deterrence worked. In the 21st century, it won't. Nothing will stop suicidal Jihadists from using a nuclear bomb if they get their hands on one," said Governor Richardson. "Defending ourselves from new dangers requires new thinking, new strategies and new tactics. We need to adapt our ideas about national security to an age in which the nuclear threat come not from a missile, but from a suitcase or a cargo hull. Not from a nation, which can be deterred by the threat of retaliation, but from a shadowy terrorist network with no return address."

Governor Richardson presented a comprehensive plan that focuses on four key tactics, that if implemented will make it unlikely that terrorists would be able to obtain a nuclear weapon:

  • Halt nuclear weapons proliferation,
  • Halt nuclear weapons production and reduce the size of nuclear arsenals,
  • Halt or secure civilian programs that require or produce bomb-grade materials, and
  • Consolidate and secure all existing fissile materials and all future production associated with nuclear energy and research worldwide.

The Governor has consistently called for a "New Realism" in American foreign policy and believes it can and should drive our efforts to prevent a "nuclear 9/11". The greatest threats we face today, from global warming to terrorism, do not face only us, and this means unilateral action usually will not work.

"Building and leading strong international coalitions should be our first thought when we face common challenges -- not an afterthought when our unilateral course has failed," said Governor Richardson. "It took a Manhattan project to create the bomb. We need a new Manhattan project to stop the bomb: a comprehensive program to secure all nuclear weapons and all weapons-usable material, worldwide.

The Governor's plan calls on the United States to lead a global coalition to establish effective, universal nuclear security standards that reduce the number of nuclear weapons, and make sure that those that exist are safe from theft or diversion. The coalition would work to secure all fissionable material associated with nuclear energy and research, with a 'global clean-out,' which removes all weapons-grade material world-wide from vulnerable sites, and consolidates it into a limited number of highly-secure facilities.

"I believe that if we give this matter the attention it deserves, we CAN prevent a nuclear 9-11," added Governor Richardson. "I am optimistic because there is a finite amount of fissionable material in the world, and making it is well beyond the capability of terrorist groups. Therefore, if we lock down all the nuclear weapons and bomb-grade material which exist - and also make sure that all future nuclear fuel and spent-fuel is secure -- we CAN prevent what former Assistant Secretary of Defense Graham Allison has called 'the ultimate preventable catastrophe.'"

Bill Richardson, Richardson Campaign Press Release - New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson Outlines Comprehensive Strategy to Prevent "Nuclear 9/11" Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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