Terrorists could go nuclear: IAEA
VIENNA: UN atomic energy agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei said on Friday that successful terrorist attacks such as the train bombings in Spain heighten concern that one day terrorists could go nuclear.
“There’s obviously a high level of sophistication in the terrorist community,” Mr ElBaradei told reporters while flying back to Vienna, where the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is based, from a trip to Washington.
“That heightens the sense of concern that they (terrorists) might get their hands on any nuclear device or nuclear material,” Mr ElBaradei said in answer to a question about the implications of the March 11 Madrid bombings that killed 202 people.
The IAEA has repeatedly warned about the danger from terrorists possibly making so-called dirty bombs, conventional explosives laced with nuclear material that would not cause a chain reaction but would spread radiation and cause panic once they exploded. Mr ElBaradei had Wednesday urged in a meeting with US President George W Bush for dangerous nuclear material such as highly enriched uranium used in civilian programs to be recycled or disposed of. “I think any nuclear material that could be used in pure form or in crude form is dangerous enough,” he said.
“One of the first priorities that I put to President Bush and he fully agreed is that we need to clean up all the nuclear materials that lie around, either in highly enriched uranium in research reactors or in fabrication facilities,” Mr ElBaradei said.
“I would like to see a civilian cycle completely free from weapons-useable material if possible,” he said.
Mr ElBaradei said he had found in his meetings in Washington this week, which also included national security advisor Condoleezza Rice and Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham,” a commitment in the United States at all levels to work in partnership with the agency (IAEA), meaning with the international community, to fight this new menace which we are facing, which is (an international nuclear materials) black market and the interests of terrorists to get their hands on nuclear technology.” —AFP