New Security Organization Will Try To Prevent Nuclear Theft

New Security Organization Will Try To Prevent Nuclear Theft
September 29th, 2008  
Team Infidel

Topic: New Security Organization Will Try To Prevent Nuclear Theft

New Security Organization Will Try To Prevent Nuclear Theft
New York Times
September 29, 2008
Pg. 8

By William J. Broad
A new organization is being unveiled Monday in Vienna that seeks to bolster security at thousands of nuclear sites around the world in an effort to block atomic theft and terrorism. Its aim is to promote the best security practices, eliminate weak links in the global security chain and, ultimately, keep terrorists from getting the bomb.
No single organization now does that for the world’s expanding maze of nuclear sites — private and public, civilian and military.
“The stakes are very high,” Sam Nunn, a former United States Democratic senator from Georgia and the force behind the new organization, said in an interview. “There’s no doubt that terrorist groups are trying to get this material.”
An atom bomb that could raze Lower Manhattan requires a ball of nuclear fuel no larger than a grapefruit.
The Nuclear Threat Initiative, a private group in Washington led by Mr. Nunn, is setting up the new organization, known as the World Institute for Nuclear Security, or WINS. The institute is starting with $6 million in donations and plans to expand in the next two years to an annual budget of perhaps $8 million and a staff in Vienna of a dozen or so nuclear specialists.
The institute intends to provide a forum where nuclear security professionals can meet and share information about how to keep dangerous materials out of unfriendly hands. Its focus will be less on locks and cameras than on such management issues as how to keep guards alert and how to foil sophisticated attackers.
“These are common concerns,” said Corey Hinderstein of the Nuclear Threat Initiative. “But, until now, these professionals have had no way to talk to their peers about how to handle these kinds of challenges.”
The institute’s first director is to be Roger Howsley, who until recently was director of security for British Nuclear Fuels, which employs about 10,000 people.
The institute is being set up in Vienna mainly because of its proximity to the headquarters of the International Atomic Energy Agency, which provides some nuclear security advice to United Nations member states. Mohamed ElBaradei, the agency’s director, is expected to be at the unveiling on Monday and has strongly endorsed the institute.
“I am confident,” he wrote to Mr. Nunn, that the new forum will help establish “a global nuclear security regime.”
The public announcement of the institute’s founding is to take place on Monday afternoon at the Austria Center as part of the I.A.E.A.’s annual meeting.
The atomic energy agency, an arm of the United Nations whose principal job is to make sure that member countries use their atomic facilities for peaceful ends, also tracks atomic theft and smuggling. It reports that 18 cases of illicit trafficking have involved relatively small amounts of atom bomb fuel. Experts worry that some of the seizures have involved what amount to samples on the global nuclear black market.
Initially, the World Institute for Nuclear Security plans to work with sites handling materials that can fuel an atom bomb, which number in the hundreds. It then expects to expand its agenda to include sites that use a wider array of radioactive materials, which number in the thousands.
The institute is modeled on the World Association of Nuclear Operators, an organization founded in London after the 1986 Chernobyl disaster to promote global atomic safety.
Mr. Nunn said that he got the idea for the security institute after working for the operator association and finding that its agenda gave little attention to preventing nuclear theft.
“The world cannot afford what I call a security Chernobyl,” he said. “That would set back the whole effort to use the atom for positive purposes,” like diminishing the global addiction to fossil fuels. “So I think this effort is enormously important, beyond preventing the human tragedy that would come from any kind of security disaster.”

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