Thank you to all our witnesses for being here; and to you, Professor Bunn, thank you so much.
Professor Bunn, I note that you are an associate professor of public policy at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, which I think is part of the John F. Kennedy School of Government, and that your research interests include nuclear theft and terrorism, nuclear proliferation and measures to control it, the future of nuclear energy and its fuel cycle, and policies to promote innovation in energy technology. I feel we're well placed having you here today to give us the value of your opinion, so I thank you very much.
Professor, you referred in your opening remarks to the Belfer Center's 2011 report, entitled “The U.S.-Russia Joint Threat Assessment of Nuclear Terrorism”. Your report states, “Of all varieties of terrorism, nuclear terrorism poses the gravest threat to the world.”
When you testified before the Senate special committee on this bill in June of last year, you said:
In Pakistan, a small but rapidly growing nuclear stockpile that is under heavy security faces more extreme threats than any other nuclear stockpile in the world, both from heavily armed extremists and potential insiders who might help them.
You also stated:
In Russia, which has the world's largest stockpiles of both nuclear weapons and weapons-usable nuclear materials disbursed in the largest number of buildings and bunkers of any country in the world, the nuclear security measures have dramatically improved.
That is good news. You went on to say:
However, some weaknesses remain....
Your colleague, Simon Saradzhyan, drew particular attention to the actions and intent of the terrorist groups based in Russia's North Caucasus. During his testimony before the Senate committee the professor pointed out that these groups have already “acquired radioactive materials. They have threatened to attack Russian nuclear facilities. They have plotted to hijack a nuclear submarine using expertise acquired by a former naval officer who was part of these networks.”
In your testimony here today you talked about the concern of terrorism doing what the tsunami did—or could even have done worse, I suppose—in Japan recently.
In taking all of this together, I would like to hear a little more from you on how significant this threat of nuclear terrorism is in our world, and how vigilant you feel we need to be in terms of addressing it as best we can.