Thursday in Washington D.C. leaders from around the world will gather for the Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) to discuss a nightmare scenario: terrorists getting their hands on a nuclear weapon.
These fears have been made more real by a recent report issued by Harvard researcher Matthew Bunn, who warns that ISIS is evolving and may be armed with nuclear material.
The concerns are three-fold: The detonating of a nuclear bomb, the sabotage of a nuclear facility or the detonation of a dirty bomb – radioactive material strapped to a traditional explosive.
The detonation of a nuclear bomb would be the worst case scenario and sabotage is a real threat following the Brussels bombers leaving evidence that they were tracking a Belgian nuclear official, while another was found dead with his access key missing.
“The radiation from a dirty bomb, by contrast, might not kill anyone—at least in the near term—but could impose billions of dollars in economic disruption and cleanup costs… The effects of sabotage of a nuclear facility would depend heavily on the specific nature of the attack, but would likely range between the other two types of attack in severity… The difficulty of achieving a successful sabotage is also intermediate between the other two…Making a crude nuclear bomb would not be easy, but is potentially within the capabilities of a technically sophisticated terrorist group, as numerous government studies have confirmed.”
These threats are making this nuclear summit so important. World leaders are scrambling to unearth these extensive terror networks before they wreck even more havoc and terror.
The event, hosted by Barack Obama, comes in the wake of last week’s Brussels massacre.
ISIS fanatics linked to those bombings are thought to have been plotting an attack on one of Belgium’s nuclear power plants after police found lengthy video footage revealing the country’s top nuclear official was being surveilled.
Western nations have been scrambling to improve their security procedures since the rise of rogue organisations such as ISIS, which has expressed an ambition to obtain a dirty bomb.
The UK and United States will also take part in a joint exercise later this year to prepare for an online attack against nuclear power plants and waste storage facilities.
A Government source insisted there was no “credible evidence” that terrorists were targeting British sites, but the exercise will ensure that both governments and their civil nuclear industries are prepared for a future attack.
The source said: “You saw just last week in Belgium concerns that were raised around the security of civil nuclear sites and therefore, in the world in which we currently live, we think it’s the right thing to do.”
Britain has also committed to plough £10million into improving nuclear security this year.