Negligence was involved in all 73 incidents last year in which radioactive substances reported went missing, concludes a new expert report on nuclear trafficking.
The report finding by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies could suggest there is much work yet to be done in international efforts to improve security around radiological substances that might be seized by terrorists and used to construct a so-called “dirty bomb.” This type of device could combine radiological materials and explosives to contaminate populated areas.
The study, published on Wednesday, examined incidents in which both atomic and non-nuclear radioactive materials went unaccounted for. Of the 153 documented incidents last year, 92 percent involved non-nuclear radioactive substances utilized in the medical and industrial fields, according to a summary of the report’s findings.
“Few incidents involved the most dangerous materials, and none were reported to have involved material that was nuclear weapons-usable in form or quantity,” the summary states.
To reduce the prospects of future incidents stemming from negligence, the report recommends “improved training in nuclear materials security and enhanced end-user accountability.”
Leaders from 53 nations are gathering in The Hague, Netherlands, on Monday and Tuesday to review the current status of global efforts to better lock down vulnerable radioactive and nuclear materials. Some experts have criticized the biennial Nuclear Security Summit process — which began with President Obama hosting the first such gathering in 2010 — for focusing too much on atomic substances at the expense radiological sources.
While a nuclear terrorism attack could result in a much greater loss of life than a radiological strike, most analysts agree it would be easier for extremists to acquire the ingredients they need to build a radiological dirty bomb than get a hold of a nuclear weapon.
The Center for Nonproliferation Studies analysis relied on a database it built that collected information drawn from foreign regulatory agencies, specialized Internet search engines and international news reports. It is separate from a database kept by the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency, which also tracks incidents of lost or stolen plutonium, uranium and other radiological sources.
The U.N. nuclear watchdog documented roughly 140 incidents last year of lost or unauthorized utilization of atomic and radioactive substances, Reuters reported on Friday. It is not clear if the IAEA database and the CNS database were using different methodology for collecting or assessing information.
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With three days until the first debate, the polls are coming fast and furious. The latest round:
- An Associated Press/Gfk poll of registered voters found very few voters committed, with Clinton leading Trump, 37% to 29%, and Gary Johnson at 7%.
- A McClatchy-Marist poll gave Clinton a six-point edge, 45% to 39%, in a four-way ballot test. Johnson pulls 10% support, with Jill Stein at 4%.
- Rasmussen, which has drawn criticism for continually showing Donald Trump doing much better than he does in other polls, is at it again. A new survey gives Trump a five-point lead, 44%-39%.
In contrast to Hillary Clinton's meticulous debate practice sessions, Donald Trump "is largely shunning traditional debate preparations, but has been watching video of…Clinton’s best and worst debate moments, looking for her vulnerabilities.” Trump “has paid only cursory attention to briefing materials. He has refused to use lecterns in mock debate sessions despite the urging of his advisers. He prefers spitballing ideas with his team rather than honing them into crisp, two-minute answers.”
Donald Trump "is on the precipice of becoming the only major-party presidential candidate this century not to reach out to millions of American voters whose dominant, first or just preferred language is Spanish. Trump has not only failed to buy any Spanish-language television or radio ads, he so far has avoided even offering a translation of his website into Spanish, breaking with two decades of bipartisan tradition."
Bill and Hillary Clinton have purchased the home next door to their primary residence in tony Chappaqua, New York, for $1.16 million. "By purchasing the new home, the Clinton's now own the entire cul-de-sac at the end of the road in the leafy New York suburb. The purchase makes it easier for the United States Secret Service to protect the former president and possible future commander in chief."