A new report says the world still faces a serious risk that terrorists could obtain a nuclear bomb and urges President-elect Barack Obama to make reducing that risk a top priority of U.S. security policy and diplomacy. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel has details from Washington.
The new report, called “Securing the Bomb 2008,” says major progress has been made to reduce the danger of nuclear terrorism.
The report warns, however, there are still major gaps in these efforts and says the risk of terrorists acquiring a nuclear weapon remains unacceptably high.
The author of the report, Harvard professor Matthew Bunn, says the potential for a disastrous attack is very real.
“That would incinerate the heart of a major city,” he said. “It could turn the center of Washington, D.C. or the center of Manhattan into a smoking, radioactive ruin that would be unusable for decades to come. That would have profound and catastrophic affects on our society, really reverberating around the world.”
The study is the seventh annual report from Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and was commissioned by the Nuclear Threat Initiative, a nonproliferation group based in Washington, D.C.
The report details a series of events around the world in recent years it says highlights the risk of poor security at nuclear installations.
These include an armed break-in at a South African site with hundreds of kilograms of highly enriched uranium, the arrest of a Russian colonel for soliciting bribes to overlook violations of nuclear security rules and the increasing terrorist threats amid the ongoing strife in Pakistan.