IAEA head Yukiya Amano says world leaders must do more to ensure extremists cannot get hands on material for atomic weapons
By Simon Sturdee and AFP|The Times of Israel
A day before world leaders were set to convene for a summit to discuss the security of nuclear materials, the head of the UN atomic watchdog warned that terrorists possess “the means, the knowledge and the information” to produce or acquire a nuclear bomb.
“Terrorism is spreading and the possibility of using nuclear material cannot be excluded,” International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Yukiya Amano told AFP in an interview late Thursday.
“Member states need to have sustained interest in strengthening nuclear security,” he said. “The countries which do not recognize the danger of nuclear terrorism is the biggest problem.”
Amano’s comments came before a summit of around 50 leaders in Washington from March 31 to April 1 on ensuring that nuclear material in the world’s roughly 1,000 atomic facilities are secured.
Highlighting the risks, in December Belgian police investigating the November 13 Paris terror attacks found 10 hours of video of the comings and goings of a senior Belgian nuclear official.
The material, filmed by a camera in bushes outside the official’s home, was reportedly found at the property of Mohamed Bakkali, incarcerated in Belgium for his links to the Paris attackers.