Nuclear terrorism top of IAEA conference agenda

1 July 2013
By Tereza Pultarova
Mobile version
Share |
Lebanese customs officers practice radiation detection techniques during a training session

Lebanese customs officers practice radiation detection techniques during a training session [Credit: Lebanese Customs Administration]

The International Conference on Nuclear Security is underway in Vienna, with experts maintaining that more action is needed to prevent militant groups from acquiring nuclear material.

Speaking during the event, Yukiya Amano, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said illegal trafficking of enriched uranium is a serious threat and the cases intercepted by the international authorities are likely to be the tip of the iceberg.

"Some material goes missing and is never found," Amano said, adding that over 100 incidences of thefts and other unauthorised activities involving nuclear and radioactive material are reported to the IAEA every year.

The experts have warned that despite the fact that there has as yet been no terrorist attack involving a nuclear bomb, some radical groups could be able to build crude but dangerous nuclear bombs if they have enough technical knowledge, the necessary amount of fissile material and sufficient budget.

"Taking action now to help prevent an incident occurring, and to limit the consequences if an incident were to happen, is clearly a necessary and a very worthwhile investment,” Amano said. “I believe that this conference will help in our continuing efforts to ensure that no terrorist attack ever succeeds."

The possibility of a so called ‘dirty bomb’ being created by some terrorist groups was discussed as the most likely scenario. Dirty bombs use radioactive material combined with conventional explosives that serve as a means to disperse radiation into the environment.

The amount of nuclear material required to construct a dirty bomb is small compared with the conventional nuclear weapon and it doesn’t require such advanced technical skills.

The results of the conference, attended by 1,300 participants from 123 states and 21 non-governmental institutions, will also serve as a basis for the preparation of the IAEA's next Nuclear Security Plan, outlining security measures regarding storage, transport and use of nuclear material for military and civilian purposes.

Latest Issue

E&T cover image 1605

"We visit Barcelona, one of the smartest cities in the world, to find out what makes it so special. What does it look like and what is the future?"

E&T jobs

  • Senior Development Engineer, Electronics

    Premium job

    Helmet Integrated Systems / Gentex Corporation
    • Letchworth Garden City, Hertfordshire
    • Competitive

    We are an innovative, robust and fast growing business, whose main focus is to deliver continues improvement to existing products and offer new sol..

    • Recruiter: Helmet Integrated Systems / Gentex Corporation

    Apply for this job

  • Smart Grid Research Engineer

    Premium job

    University of Strathclyde
    • Cumbernauld, Glasgow
    • Grade: 6/7* £26,537 - £37,768*

    Work as part of a growing dynamic team on a wide range of technical projects with particular emphasis on experimental validation and testing

    • Recruiter: University of Strathclyde

    Apply for this job

  • Electrical Asset Specialist

    Affinity Water
    • Hatfield, Hertfordshire

    Responsible for updating and writing electrical engineering standards, approved codes of practice and safe systems of work

    • Recruiter: Affinity Water

    Apply for this job

  • Senior Electronics Engineer

    York Instruments
    • York, North Yorkshire

    Senior electronics engineer to work as part of a team developing an MEG imaging system; working with the engineering team and external contractors.

    • Recruiter: York Instruments

    Apply for this job

  • Manufacturing Engineer - Circuit Card Assembly

    • Lostock Junction
    • Competitive Salary & Benefits

    What’s the opportunity?   Manufacturing UK is an integral part of the Operations Directorate whose principal mission is to ensure that MBDA’s deliverable commitments are met...

    • Recruiter: MBDA

    Apply for this job

  • High Voltage Engineer

    Premium job

    Essex X-Ray & Medical Equipment
    • Great Dunmow, Essex

    This High Voltage Engineer will provide design leadership for high voltage cable assemblies up to one megavolt.

    • Recruiter: Essex X-Ray & Medical Equipment

    Apply for this job

  • Team Leader - Flank Arrays

    BAE Systems
    • Barrow-In-Furness, Cumbria, England
    • Negotiable

    Team Leader - Flank Arrays Would you like to work in a unique role within the construction of the Astute Class submarines? We currently have a vacancy for a Team Leader - Flank Arrays at our site in Barrow-in-Furness. As a Team Leader - Flank Arrays, you

    • Recruiter: BAE Systems

    Apply for this job

  • Electronics and Software Engineer

    Copley Scientific Ltd
    • Nottingham
    • circa £35,000 per annum + bonus

    Develop new test equipment for the pharmaceutical industry. Good opportunities to grow and develop. Successful family-owned and managed business.

    • Recruiter: Copley Scientific Ltd

    Apply for this job

  • Intelligent Transport Systems Engineer - Highways Technology

    Premium job

    Mott MacDonald
    • Birmingham, West Midlands

    Our transport technology team in Birmingham is currently growing a highly skilled and customer-focused team to...

    • Recruiter: Mott MacDonald

    Apply for this job

  • Analogue Electronics Engineer

    Premium job

    Swedish Institute of Space Physics (IRF)
    • Uppsala (Stad) (SE)

    The Swedish Institute of Space Institute (IRF) in Uppsala search for an analogue electronics engineer.

    • Recruiter: Swedish Institute of Space Physics (IRF)

    Apply for this job

More jobs ▶


Choose the way you would like to access the latest news and developments in your field.

Subscribe to E&T