Nuclear Threat Initiative


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The Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization founded in 2001 by former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn and philanthropist Ted Turner in the United States, which works to prevent catastrophic attacks and accidents with weapons of mass destruction and disruption – especially nuclear, biological, radiological, chemical, and cybersecurity.[1]

Nuclear Threat Initiative
Nuclear Threat Initiative logo.svg
Formation2001; 21 years ago (2001)
TypeNonprofit organization
FocusGlobal catastrophic risk
Headquarters1776 Eye Street, NW
  • Washington, D.C., U.S.
Ernest Moniz


NTI has been engaged in developing, shaping, and implementing nuclear security projects.[citation needed] In addition to building global awareness, NTI engages in model programs to inspire private and governmental efforts toward nuclear, biological, and chemical threat reduction.[citation needed]


NTI was founded in 2001 by former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn and philanthropist Ted Turner. It serves as the Secretariat for the "Nuclear Security Project", in cooperation with the Hoover Institution at Stanford. Former Secretary of State George P. Shultz, former Secretary of Defense William J. Perry, former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger and Nunn (the "four horsemen of the nuclear apocalypse")[2][3] guide the project—an effort to encourage global action to reduce urgent nuclear dangers and build support for reducing reliance on nuclear weapons, ultimately ending them as a threat to the world.[4]


The organization produced the 2005 film, Last Best Chance, which aired on HBO, and the 2010 documentary film Nuclear Tipping Point, which President Obama screened at the White House in April 2010.[5][6][7]

In 2008, NTI helped create the World Institute for Nuclear Security (WINS), in Vienna, as part of its focus to secure nuclear materials worldwide.[citation needed] UN Security Council Resolution 1887 supported the WINS mission, calling for states to "share best practices with a view to improved safety standards and nuclear security practices and raise standards of nuclear security to reduce the risk of nuclear terrorism."[8] Today, the organization has more than 3,800 members from 118 countries.[9] The Economist wrote, "WINS is a place where, for the first time, those with the practical responsibility for looking after nuclear materials—governments, power plant operators, laboratories, universities—can meet to swap ideas and develop best practices."[10]

NTI supported the development of an international low-enriched uranium bank to back up the marketplace and prevent the proliferation of nuclear technology by ensuring that countries will have access to the fuel needed for peaceful purposes.[11] NTI advisor Warren Buffett provided $50 million to jump-start the reserve, which will be owned and managed by the International Atomic Energy Agency and located in Kazakhstan.[12]

NTI produces a biennial "Nuclear Security Index" in partnership with the Economist Intelligence Unit.[citation needed] The "NTI Index" benchmarks nuclear security conditions across 176 countries and holds governments accountable for properly securing dangerous nuclear materials.[citation needed] According to NTI, The NTI Index, now[when?] in its 3rd edition, is the premiere resource for political leaders, government officials, experts, academics, and the news media worldwide on nuclear materials security.[13]

NTI has developed and released recommendations on securing and eliminating radiological sources used and stored at thousands of sites across more than 100 countries.[citation needed] These sources can be used by terrorists to build radiological "dirty bombs" that would incite mass panic, deny access, require extensive and expensive decontamination and have serious economic consequences. Many of these sources, which are used in industry and health-care settings, have minimal or no physical protection—and technological advances have made it possible to replace many of these sources with safer, effective alternatives.[14]

NTI has received international recognition for work to improve biosecurity, primarily through creating disease surveillance networks.[citation needed] Whether a biological threat is natural or intentional, disease surveillance is a key step in rapid detection and response. Because the response of a health system in one country could have a direct and immediate impact on a neighboring country, or even continent, NTI developed projects that foster cooperation among public health officials across political and geographic boundaries.[citation needed]

In 2003, NTI created the Middle East Consortium for Infectious Disease Surveillance (MECIDS) with participation from Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority. MECIDS continues to share official health data and conduct infectious disease prevention training.[15]

NTI also created the Connecting Organizations for Disease Surveillance (CORDS), which in 2013 launched as an independent NGO that links international disease surveillance networks,[16] supported by the World Health Organization, and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.[17]


Ernest J. Moniz has served as chief executive officer since June, 2017, and Joan Rohlfing serves as president.[citation needed] Co-chaired by Moniz, Nunn and Ted Turner, NTI is governed by a Board of Directors with both current and emeritus members from the United States, Japan, India, Pakistan, China, Jordan, Sweden, France and the United Kingdom. They include:

Advisors to the Board of Directors include[when?] leading figures in science, business and international security. Advisors to the Board include:

NTI's staff includes experts in international affairs, nonproliferation, security and military issues, public health, medicine and communications, who have operational experience in their areas of specialty.[citation needed]


In early 2018, NTI received a $6 million grant from the Open Philanthropy Project. The grant will be used to "help strengthen its efforts to mitigate global biological threats that have increased as the world has become more interconnected."[18] In January 2018 NTI announced that it had received $250,000 in support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. That money will help advance NTI's efforts in developing a "Global Health Security Index". The index would analyze a country's biological programs and policies.[18]


  1. ^ "Learn About NTI & Preventing Nuclear Dangers | Nuclear Threat Initiative | NTI". Retrieved 2018-03-19.
  2. ^ "Remembering George Shultz: an interview with a key figure in ending the Cold War". Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. 2021-02-07. Retrieved 2021-02-27.
  3. ^ Harrell, Eben (2011-03-10). "The Four Horsemen of the Nuclear Apocalypse". Time. ISSN 0040-781X. Retrieved 2021-02-27.
  4. ^ Nunn, George P. Shultz, William J. Perry, Henry A. Kissinger and Sam (2007-01-04). "A World Free of Nuclear Weapons". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2021-02-27.
  5. ^ "Documentary Advances Nuclear Free Movement". NPR. Retrieved 2010-06-10.
  6. ^ "White House Hosts Screening of Nuclear Tipping Point | NTI News White House Hosts Screening of Nuclear Tipping Point". Retrieved 2016-07-18.
  7. ^ Michael McIntee (2010-04-09), "The Nuclear Tipping Point" Screens At White House, archived from the original on 2021-12-13, retrieved 2016-07-18
  8. ^ "United Nations Security Council Resolution 1887" (PDF). The United Nations. September 24, 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 7, 2012. Retrieved 2011-06-09.
  9. ^ "Wins Members - Members".
  10. ^ "Who wins, nukes". The Economist. October 2, 2008. Retrieved 2011-06-09.
  11. ^ Reuters Staff (2017-08-29). "U.N. nuclear watchdog opens uranium bank in Kazakhstan". Reuters. Retrieved 2021-02-24.
  12. ^ "Warren Buffett Backs Nuclear Fuel Bank In Kazakhstan". Retrieved 2021-02-24.
  13. ^ "NTI Nuclear Materials Security Index". Nuclear Threat Initiative. Retrieved 2016-07-18.
  14. ^ "Radiological | NTI". Retrieved 2016-07-18.
  15. ^ Torjesen, Ingrid (2020-11-13). "Scaling up cross border cooperation to tackle climate and disease threats". BMJ. 371. doi:10.1136/bmj.m3145. ISSN 1756-1833. PMC 7662083. PMID 33187960.
  16. ^ Bond, Katherine C.; Macfarlane, Sarah B.; Burke, Charlanne; Ungchusak, Kumnuan; Wibulpolprasert, Suwit (2017-01-25). "The Evolution and Expansion of Regional Disease Surveillance Networks and Their Role in Mitigating the Threat of Infectious Disease Outbreaks". Emerging Health Threats Journal. 6 (1): 19913. doi:10.3402/ehtj.v6i0.19913. ISSN 1752-8550. PMC 3557911. PMID 23362414.
  17. ^ S. Gresham, Louise; S. Smolinski, Mark; Suphanchaimat, Rapeepong; Marie Kimball, Ann; Wibulpolprasert, Suwit (January 2013). "Creating a Global Dialogue on Infectious Disease Surveillance: Connecting Organizations for Regional Disease Surveillance (CORDS)". Emerging Health Threats Journal. 6 (1): 19912. doi:10.3402/ehtj.v6i0.19912. ISSN 1752-8550. PMC 3557909. PMID 23362412.
  18. ^ a b "Nuclear Threat Initiative to expand focus on global biosecurity risks with new grant". Homeland Preparedness News. 2018-01-25. Retrieved 2018-02-12.

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