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Nuclear terrorism threatens the entire world
The first ever international summit on nuclear security has
begun in Washington D.C. US President Barack Obama has invited
representatives of 44 states to this summit held in the capital
of the USA; in most cases the heads of state or government will
be attending. The conference aims to forge a strong alliance
in order to prevent weapons-grade nuclear materials falling into
the hands of terrorists.
Obama declared that nuclear terrorism
is today the greatest threat for the security of the United States
and indeed the entire world. "We know that organisations
like al Qaeda are in the process of trying to procure a nuclear weapon," said
the President. Once terrorists have weapons like this in their hands they will
not hesitate to use them. "If there was ever a detonation in New York City,
or London, or Johannesburg, the ramifications economically, politically, and
from a security perspective would be devastating," warned President Obama.
In Washington D.C. the politicians agreed that the threat of nuclear terrorism
is the prime hazard of the 21st century. The states represented now aim to
work together to launch a process that will afford protection. The process
is to lead to effective standards to protect the world's stockpiles of nuclear
Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke of a remarkable event, and an impressive signal.
Never before have high-ranking representatives from around the world met in
Campaigning for security systems
Under the point on the agenda "Defining the threat" Angela Merkel went into the problem of "dirty bombs" as they are known. Even a conventional weapon that has "only" been modified to include radioactive materials could have a disastrous impact, she pointed out.
The problem is that there are no international standards for handling slightly
enriched uranium in laboratories, hospitals or universities. In Washington
D.C. Angela Merkel advocated introducing regulations to cover this, such as
those that already exist in Germany under the strict provisions of the Atomic
Law. Firstly we need to take stock and identify how the individual states deal
with materials of this sort, proposed the Chancellor.
Keeping an eye on all nuclear materials
Germany believes that the final declaration of the summit should not be limited
to preventing terrorists getting their hands on a nuclear bomb. Joint international
efforts must also bear in mind the hazards posed by radioactive waste from
The German government would like to see the International Atomic Energy Agency
(IAEA) play a major part in organising security precautions. Only one international
institution can effectively monitor international standards. Last year Germany
contributed 10 million euros to support the work of the IAEA.
Although the danger is less acute, the existing stockpiles of nuclear weapons
are still a danger to the human race. Twenty years after the end of the Cold
War, the USA and Russia still possess more than 90 per cent of the global nuclear
The most recent disarmament activities of the USA and Russia, with the New
Start (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) are a reflection of the efforts to
retain a balance at a lower level. The recently published new nuclear strategy
of the USA pledges that no new nuclear weapons will be developed.
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