About Nuclear Security

Nuclear security is a global enterprise that seeks to promote the peaceful applications of nuclear technology:

  • Clean energy
  • Industrial testing and evaluation
  • Nuclear medicine
  • Space exploration

The principal mission of nuclear security is to enable these and other peaceful uses of nuclear technology and prevent the harmful uses of these technologies:

  • Nuclear nonproliferation: dissuade states (nations) from developing new nuclear weapons programs
  • Nuclear arms control: reduce the global stockpile of strategic and tactical nuclear weapons
  • Nuclear counterterrorism: prevent non-state, terrorist organizations from acquiring nuclear weapons
  • Nuclear emergency response: thwart nuclear attacks by terrorist organizations
  • Nuclear forensics: analyze technical evidence of an attempted or successful nuclear attack to help identify the parties responsible

The global demand for nuclear technology is growing and will continue to grow in order to meet future needs for clean energy, industrial development, better medical care, and the exploration of space.  Nuclear security seeks to help meet these demands while preventing the proliferation and use of nuclear weapons technology.


Although the words for ‘safety’ and ‘security’ are the same in many languages, nuclear safety and nuclear security are not the same things:

  • Nuclear safety protects people from the harmful effects of unintentional dispersion of nuclear material
  • Nuclear security protects nuclear material from deliberate, harmful uses (e.g., nuclear weapons) against people