Gaps in Nuclear Security Faulted by Private Panel
The Navy’s failure to equip its nuclear weapons with devices to prevent unauthorized detonation is one of many security gaps that could be exploited by a potential new breed of terrorists, a private panel contended Wednesday.
Other concerns cited by the International Task Force on the Prevention of Nuclear Terrorism were lax security at civilian nuclear facilities and the growing technical sophistication of terrorists.
“The probability of nuclear terrorism is increasing,” the task force said in a 30-page report issued after a year of study.
The most immediate risks are from bluffs, panel members said at a news conference.
Longer-term threats are posed by terrorists who might steal atomic weapons, take nuclear fuel from civilian facilities and build bombs or receive such weapons from states that sponsor terrorism, task force members said.
The report said the danger of nuclear terrorism rises from “a confluence of factors,” including the support of terrorism by governments and an increasing number of targets, such as nuclear reactors.
In addition to equipping all nuclear weapons with devices to prevent their use by terrorists, the panel recommended installing electronic devices in weapons and fuel containers to allow them to be tracked if stolen. It also recommended tightening security at civilian nuclear reactors.