The second nuclear nonproliferation conference sponsored by the Nuclear Threat Initiative and the Russian Academy of Sciences was held in Moscow, March 18-20, 2009. The first was held Oct. 23-25, 2002, a year after the 9/11 attacks. Much of the global security focus at that time was, understandably, on terrorism. In fact, the tragic Dubrovka Theater siege took place during the conference. A principal message of the first conference was not to forget the dangers of nuclear proliferation while the world responded to the growing potential of nuclear terrorism. The proceedings of the first conference are available on request from firstname.lastname@example.org.
Since 2002, the Libyan nuclear program and the AQ Khan network have been exposed; the Iranian covert uranium enrichment program has been discovered and found to have made significant technical progress; North Korea has withdrawn from the NPT and tested a nuclear device; and Syria has built a plutonium-producing reactor.
March 2009 was a propitious time to hold the second conference. US-Russian relations have deteriorated in recent years, reaching their nadir in August of 2008 with the invasion of Georgia. Now a new American administration is determined to "reset" relations between the two former superpowers. There are some reasons for cautious optimism leading toward a possible turning point in US-Russian relations. Cooperation on nuclear matters is crucial in this context and the events of the past seven years have demonstrated that such partnerships are necessary to make the world a safer place.