Nuclear security covers the procedures, practices or other measures used to manage risks from nuclear weapons and other nuclear materials.


80,000 Hours rates nuclear security a "second-highest priority area": an unusually pressing global problem ranked slightly below their four highest priority areas.[1]


In The Precipice: Existential Risk and the Future of Humanity, Toby Ord offers several policy and research recommendations for handling risks from nuclear weapons:[2]

  • Restart the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF).
  • Take US ICBMs off hair-trigger alert (officially called Launch on Warning).
  • Increase the capacity of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to verify nations are complying with safeguards agreements.
  • Work on resolving the key uncertainties in nuclear winter modeling.
  • Characterize the remaining uncertainties then use Monte Carlo techniques to show the distribution of outcome possibilities, with a special focus on the worst-case possibilities compatible with our current understanding.
  • Investigate which parts of the world appear most robust to the effects of nuclear winter and how likely civilization is to continue there.

Further reading

McIntyre, Peter (2016) Nuclear security, 80,000 Hours, April.

Open Philanthropy (2013) Nuclear security, Open Philanthropy, July 18.

Open Philanthropy (2015) Nuclear weapons policy, Open Philanthropy, September.

nuclear disarmament movement | nuclear warfare | nuclear winter | weapon of mass destruction

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    Ord, Toby (2020) The Precipice: Existential Risk and the Future of Humanity, London: Bloomsbury Publishing, p. 278