Kicking off the first plenary session on the second day of the Nuclear Security Summit here, U.S. President Barack Obama underscored the gravity of the threat of nuclear terrorism, arguing that “just the smallest amount of plutonium, about the size of an apple, could kill and injure hundreds of thousands of innocent people ... Terrorist networks such as al Qaeda have tried to acquire the material for a nuclear weapon.”

Assuring the delegates of the 47 attending countries that Al-Qaeda would surely use nuclear materials as a weapon if they ever succeeded in obtaining it, he said, “Were they to do so, it would be a catastrophe for the world —causing extraordinary loss of life, and striking a major blow to global peace and stability.” In this light it was increasingly clear that the danger of nuclear terrorism is one of the greatest threats to global, collective security.

Recalling his speech in Prague a year ago Mr. Obama said that he had called for a new international effort to secure all vulnerable nuclear materials around the world within four years. Combined with the U.S.'s efforts to reduce its nuclear arsenal and halt the spread of nuclear weapons it was “an agenda that will bring us closer to our ultimate goal of a world without nuclear weapons.”

Mr. Obama said, “Over the past year, we've made progress. At the United Nations Security Council last fall, we unanimously passed Resolution 1887 endorsing this comprehensive agenda, including the goal of securing all nuclear materials.”

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