Summit raises alarm over ‘dirty bomb’

The Nuclear Security Summit, which concluded on Friday in Washington, did not rule out catastrophic nuclear attacks. It was a global forum that gathered the world leaders to find ways to avert such apocalyptic scenarios. The timing of the summit was important as it came in the wake of attacks in Paris and Brussels that have killed dozens and exposed Europe’s inability to thwart destabilizing attacks or track IS operatives returning from Iraq and Syria.
In no uncertain terms, world leaders pledged to keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of extremists on Friday but warned that the threat is “constantly evolving,” unless preemptive measures are taken.
“More work remains to be done to prevent non-state actors from obtaining nuclear and other radioactive materials, which could be used for malicious purposes,” the leaders said in a joint statement.
With nuclear security gaps that could be exploited by terrorists to inflict harm on international community, they discussed action plans to secure nuclear fuel stockpiles and radioactive material that could be used in a nuclear device or a dirty bomb. “We reaffirm our commitment to our shared goals of nuclear disarmament, nuclear non-proliferation and peaceful use of nuclear energy,” the statement said.
US President Barack Obama, who started his term with the initiative to secure the nuclear installations and materials, sought to conclude his final term with the same theme amid increasing terrorist threats to obtain nuclear materials to unleash nuclear attacks on the world.
To nudge world active players to prevent militants from getting hold of nuclear weapons or material for a “dirty bomb,” Obama painted a grim picture of the impact of a nuclear terror attack that would not spare anyone.
Obama used the summit to take concerted technical measures that could safeguard fissile materials and limit the civilian use of the most dangerous uranium and plutonium.
He made it loud and clear that the threat is real. “IS has already used chemical weapons, including mustard gas, in Syria and Iraq. There is no doubt that if these madmen ever got their hands on a nuclear bomb or nuclear material, they most certainly would use it to continue to kill as many innocent people as possible.”
Sadly, about 2,000 tons of nuclear materials are stored around the world at civilian and military facilities, but some of them are not properly secured.
It is chilling prospect that current terrorists include highly western-educated elements that could wreak greater havoc. The threat is increasing amid revelations that the IS group carried out video surveillance on a top Belgian nuclear scientist. This attempt has sent shocking waves across the world that terrorists are getting closer to obtain nuclear secrets and codes.
Having this in mind, Obama painted a nightmare scenario depicting terrorists flying drones to spread highly radioactive material over a civilian area. Of course, this has been a theme of science fiction films for years. But it has now become real and debated by world leaders to seek better ways of controlling nuclear materials.
Indeed, the world is far from secure. Building a traditional nuclear weapon requires a great deal of technical expertise, but a “dirty bomb,” in which conventional explosives are used to scatter radioactive material over a wide area, would need little skill.
At least 130 countries have radiological material, stored at places such as universities, hospitals, companies and research centres, which could be used in a dirty bomb.
Worst still, there is a possibility of radioactive material being sold in marketplaces on the dark Web, which doesn’t show up on Internet search engines and where users can buy and sell illegal products and services, from child pornography to stolen credit-card information.
To spare the world from potential nuclear terror attacks, international stability could be a guard against claims being perpetuated by the terrorists to destablise the world.

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