Nuclear security is regressing in countries and areas with the greatest responsibility for preventing nuclear theft and sabotage—those with nuclear materials and facilities. This destabilizing development occurs as risks are increasing and evolving.
- The median overall score of countries with weapons-usable nuclear materials declined by 2.5 points. This is the first time in the history of the NTI Index that this average has decreased. (See Figure 1.)
- France, India, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, and the United Kingdom increased their existing stockpiles of weapons-usable nuclear materials over the past 3 years.
- 11 countries with weapons-usable nuclear materials scored lower on the International Assurances indicator than they did in the 2020 NTI Index, meaning they regressed in implementation of confidence-building measures. Only Belarus and the United Kingdom improved their scores on this indicator, by hosting peer reviews of nuclear security arrangements.
- Risk environments worsened in 12 of the 22 countries with weapons-usable nuclear materials, largely due to worsening political instability and rising illicit activity by non-state actors. This is a notable change from the 2020 NTI Index, in which Risk Environment scores worsened in only 5 countries.
- Governments should make a concerted effort to address the reversal of progress made on nuclear security since 2020.