The UN’s nuclear watchdog has warned that terrorists may employ nuclear materials to carry out attacks around the world.
“Terrorism is spreading and the possibility of using nuclear material cannot be excluded,” Yukiya Amano, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said.
“It is now an old technology and nowadays terrorists have the means, the knowledge and the information,” he said in reference to the nuclear technology.
It is “not impossible” that extremists manage to make a “primitive” explosive device, he speculated.
“[IAEA] member states need to have sustained interest in strengthening nuclear security,” he warned.
Nuclear facilities across the international community reportedly contain enough plutonium and highly-enriched uranium to make 20,000 weapons with the destructive power of the bomb used against the Japanese city of Hiroshima in 1945.
The IAEA has recorded nearly 2,800 instances of illicit trafficking, “unauthorized possession” or loss of nuclear materials since the mid-1990s.
Amano, meanwhile, warned that terrorists are more likely to make “dirty bombs” by integrating radioactive materials other than uranium or plutonium into conventional weapons. “Dirty bombs will be enough to (drive) any big city in the world into panic… And the psychological, economic and political implications would be enormous.”
Terrorism is exacting its heaviest toll in years upon the Middle East, where Israel is widely known to be the only possessor of nuclear weapons, and the supporter of militant groups in the region.
While the Tel Aviv regime pursues a policy of so-called deliberate ambiguity about its nuclear bombs, it is estimated to have 200 to 400 nuclear warheads in its arsenal. The regime has refused to allow inspections of its military nuclear facilities or to sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
The United States — Israel’s main supporter — has been the only country that has ever used nuclear bombs — against Hiroshima and Nagasaki, another Japanese city, at the end of World War II. The country is currently reported to be in possession of some 2,000 atomic weapons ready to launch at a moment’s notice.