Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


UN nuclear chief warns of dirty bombs

02 July 2013, 10:11

Vienna - More action is needed to stop militants acquiring plutonium or highly-enriched uranium that could be used for atomic bombs, nuclear experts and government officials said on Monday.

Speaking at a meeting in Vienna, Yukiya Amano, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), warned against a "false sense of security" over the danger of nuclear terrorism.

Amano, holding up a small lead container that was used to try to traffic highly enriched uranium in the former Soviet republic of Moldova two years ago, said it showed a "worrying level of knowledge on the part of the smugglers".

"This case ended well," he said. "Unfortunately, we cannot be sure if such cases are just the tip of the iceberg."

Analysts say radical groups could theoretically build a crude but deadly nuclear bomb if they have the money, technical knowledge and the amount of fissile material needed.

Many states have taken steps to prevent malicious acts such as nuclear theft and sabotage, Amano told the delegates.

"Partly as a result of these efforts, there has not been a terrorist attack involving nuclear or other radioactive material," Amano said. "But this must not lull us into a false sense of security."

Obtaining weapons-grade fissile material - highly enriched uranium or plutonium - poses the biggest challenge for militant groups, so keeping it secure is vital, both at civilian and military facilities, experts say.

An apple-sized amount of plutonium in a nuclear device and detonated in a highly populated area could instantly kill or wound hundreds of thousands of people, according to the Nuclear Security Governance Experts Group (NSGEG)lobby group.

Unauthorised activities

Because radioactive material is seen as less hard to find and the device easier to manufacture, experts say a so-called "dirty bomb" is a more likely threat than a nuclear bomb.

In a dirty bomb, conventional explosives are used to disperse radiation from a radioactive source, which can be found in hospitals or other places not very well protected.

US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz repeated Washington's assertion that al-Qaeda had been trying for years to obtain nuclear material for a weapon.

"Despite the strides we have made in dismantling core al-Qaeda we should expect its adherents...to continue trying to achieve their nuclear ambitions," he said.

More than a hundred incidents of thefts and other unauthorised activities involving nuclear and radioactive material are reported to the IAEA every year, Amano said.

"Some material goes missing and is never found," he said.

- Reuters


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...