What is a dirty bomb?
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) defines a dirty bomb as a device that “combines conventional explosives, such as dynamite, with radioactive material.” Its detonation would result in a “regular” explosion, with the added effect of dispersing radioactive material.
But the consequences might not be as dire as some fear. “This wouldn’t be like a nuclear bomb,” says David Albright, the first nongovernmental inspector of Iraq’s nuclear program in 1996, and a frequent testifier on nuclear issues before Congress. “It’s important for people to understand that it can be dangerous, but the risk isn’t what the public often imagines – making a city uninhabitable, causing hundreds or thousands of deaths.”
What are the safeguards surrounding radioactive materials in the United States?
The NRC is responsible for ensuring the safe use of radioactive sources for civilian uses. The group works with other agencies, both domestic and international, to track and control all nuclear material designated for peaceful purposes. “We as a country have spent billions making sure these materials can’t be smuggled in,” but those efforts would be for naught if a “bad actor” could simply acquire them from within, says David Trimble, who heads the department in the Government Accountability Office (GAO) that conducted the recent investigation.
A set of regulations, based upon International Atomic Energy Agency designations, governs the distribution of radioactive sources in the US. Category 1 materials are the most dangerous, and Category 5 the least.
Why did the GAO conduct its investigation?
In 2007, the agency carried out an operation almost identical to the recent effort – with sobering results. It set up fictitious companies and was able to obtain an NRC license for Category 3 materials. And by altering that license, it entered into agreements with multiple suppliers, giving it access to dangerous quantities.
Now, almost a decade later, the GAO aimed to assess what had changed. After the last investigation, for example, mandatory site visits were introduced; previously, the whole process had taken place over the phone.
This time, the GAO team created fake websites to serve as refer-ences, giving their fake businesses glowing reviews. It set up spaces for the nonexistent companies but left them vacant, doing nothing to make them appear legitimate.
Twice, inspectors refused to grant licenses – one uncovering the fake references, the other demanding that the site be more developed. The third, however, was content with assurances that the site would be further developed, and granted the license. Again, the operatives altered the license and were able to place orders with two suppliers.
What can be done?
“NRC staff are already considering the GAO recommendations,” says Maureen Conley, an NRC spokeswoman. “All of that will then be rolled into a paper and presented to the commission. They will decide how to proceed.”
The commission is led by five politically appointed commissioners.
In 2009, after the GAO’s first covert operation, the commission rejected a proposal to include Category 3 materials in the nascent National Source Tracking System. The argument was that the NSTS was experiencing too many teething troubles to be expanded beyond Categories 1 and 2. As soon as the GAO’s new report was published in July, Jeff Baran, one of the NRC commissioners, stated in a memorandum that it was “time to revisit the question of whether and how to track Category 3 sources.”
“The NRC appears to be taking our work seriously and is already implementing corrective actions,” says Mr. Trimble of the GAO. “Of course we can’t be sure they’ll get them all done, but they’re on the right track.”
Is it a good idea to publicize this kind of information?
Some may question the wisdom of sharing publicly how an undercover investigation obtained materials for a dirty bomb. But Trimble says the only way the shortcomings will be addressed is if they “see the light of day.”
“The point is that these things can be fixed,” he says. “If we had uncovered things that couldn’t be fixed, we would have considered that very sensitively.” There certainly are occasions, he says, when issues are handled “through other channels.”
Mr. Albright, who is also founder and president of the Institute for Science and International Security in Washington, agrees. First, he says, it acts as an alert for people to show “due diligence” in controlling the hazardous materials. Second, it provides an opportunity to put things in perspective, to remind people that while a dirty bomb is dangerous, the imagined horrors tend to exceed reality.
ISIS planning ‘dirty bomb’ terror attack on European city claims nuclear expert
17:45, 9 JUN 2016 UPDATED 18:03, 9 JUN 2016 BY CHRIS HUGHES
The group attacked rebels and government forces in Iraq and Syria and militants linked to both the Paris and Brussels attacks are thought to have studied a Belgian nuclear power plant.
Moshe Kantor, head of the Luxembourg Forum on Preventing Nuclear Catastrophe, warned: “ISIS has already carried out numerous chemical weapons attacks in Syria . We know it wants to go further by carrying out a nuclear attack in the heart of Europe.
Khalid El Bakraoui planned attack on nuclear site in Belgium
He warned the US and Russia to co-operate on using their technological resources to monitor the illegal transportation of radioactive materials.
Brussels suicide bomber brothers Khalid and Ibrahim El Bakraoui had originally planned an attack on a nuclear site in Belgium and had filmed the routine of the head of Belgium’s nuclear research and development programme.
Peshmerga General Akram Mohammed Abdulrahman said that while ISIS has previously used both chemical weapons and suicide bombings separately, they are now looking to combine them, training brainwashed teenage insurgents to carry out suicide bombings using munitions containing harmful chemicals.
Nuke cops face cuts
Chairman of the Defence Police Federation Eamon Keating spoke out as the civilian Ministry of Defence Police (MDP) faces a potential further reduction of 15% in its workforce.
Read more: Paris attacks suspect had papers about nuclear research base hidden in flat
He said: “There is the potential for a substantial skills gap that would affect the security of our most important defensive asset. Not only this, but service personnel used for guarding duties could not then be deployed for any other duties – even in the event of a crisis.
“The loss of officers will put defence assets at greater risk, and that is not a decision that should be taken to cut costs.”
There are currently around 2,600 MDP officers and the workforce was reduced by a third due to Coalition budget cuts in 2010.
The gravest threat would come if IS were able to get its hands on nuclear materials. The greatest danger comes from the most unstable countries with the largest amounts of documented radical activity: Pakistan, Russia, and India — with Pakistan at the top of the list.
Islamic State’s crimes are horrific enough with its present capabilities, but a question increasingly asked among politicians and military officials is: What if IS were to acquire the unthinkable — a weapon of mass destruction (WMD)?
Earlier this month I attended the International Luxembourg Forum on Preventing Nuclear Catastrophe in Amsterdam, an NGO set up to tackle exactly this type of problem. And what emerged is that the danger of IS acquiring its most fearsome weapon yet is now a significant one.
According to an expert who participated in the forum, the danger is twofold. The gravest threat would come if IS were able to get its hands on nuclear materials. These would mean, for example, the type of enriched uranium Iran uses in its nuclear program — from which IS could theoretically make a small nuclear bomb with further enrichment — or existing weapons-grade plutonium, from which it could do the same.
But the probability of IS being able to do this is slim. The requisite materials are located in only 24 countries and are in highly guarded facilities. Set against this fact, however, have been several lapses in security. In 2012 an 82-year-old nun and peace activist, Megan Rice, broke into the Oakridge nuclear reservation in Tennessee. Rice never got near any nuclear material but a lot of systems had to fail for her to get as close as she did. Likewise, according to a British Ministry of Defense report, guards at one of the U.K.’s nuclear facilities were caught sleeping on the job. And then there is the problem of poor levels of security at a host of nuclear research centers in the former Soviet Union.
The probability of IS taking advantage of these lapses in security is low, but not insignificant. The greatest danger comes from the most unstable countries with the largest amounts of documented radical activity: Pakistan, Russia, and India — with Pakistan at the top of the list.
Moreover, as retired Major General Vladimir Dvorkin, a chief researcher at the Center for International Security at the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of World Economy and International Relations, told me: “there is a lot of illegal activity, trafficking in illegal natural material…so [IS] could either pull off a purchase for a significant amount of money or intercept illegal trafficking. Plus, they seem to have enough money to recruit scientists to build a rudimentary nuclear device. Not a nuclear warhead, but an explosive nuclear device; it may, in fact, only weigh a few tons but it’s still something you could assemble close to an urban area, or on a vessel that could then be brought to U.S. or European shores.”
Many Ways To Dirty Bomb
Another problem would be a conventional weapons attack on a nuclear facility, which could conceivably cause a Chernobyl-like disaster or worse. It remains nearly impossible to attack a nuclear power plant, as they have substantial protection, but attacking nuclear-research facilities that have reactors filled with nuclear materials is far easier, and a lot of cities have these. According to Dvorkin even bombing a nuclear-storage facility with a relatively small bomb would mean the destruction of buildings within a 3-4-kilometer radius and fallout covering a much larger area and creating a lasting effect.
The second and far more immediate threat is that of attack with a radiological device. The materials for this are located in over a 100 countries and, critically found not just in specialized facilitates but in hospitals and research centers used, for example, in treating cancer — places that, unlike major nuclear facilities, don’t have gates, guards, and guns. The expert who attended the forum warned me that IS has many such facilities within the land it already controls and that is where the “dirty bomb” (a radiological as opposed to nuclear bomb) threat is now unequivocally real.
One can easily use conventional resources to make a dirty bomb, use agents to plant it in a major urban center, then simply watch it ignite and cause billions of dollars of damage. The loss of life would likely be modest — only those in its immediate vicinity would die. But the psychological element would be huge; as a nuclear specialist told me, the public hears “radiological” and immediately panics. Then there would be the cost of demolishing and rebuilding the buildings that had been contaminated in a far wider area.
While nothing is certain when dealing with what is clearly a fanatical organization, it is clear that IS is organized and thinks strategically. As Dvorkin points out, the chances of IS using even a rudimentary nuclear device are accordingly slim. First, it would risk alienating even Sunni Muslim communities across the Middle East that might presently have some sympathy with its aims. Second, what is now a fractious coalition fighting against IS would almost certainly unite and bring its combined weight to utterly annihilate the organization.
Nonetheless, as The New York Times reported in February, a man linked to the November 13 Paris attackers was found in possession of surveillance footage of a high-ranking Belgian nuclear official. With IS any horror is possible, even if it is not probable.
The question more realistically facing us is not whether IS can employ a dirty bomb — most likely in Europe or the United States — but will it? And experts fear the worst. According to Dr. Moshe Kantor, president of the Luxembourg Forum, “the threat of a terrorist group, such as Islamic State, staging a nuclear bomb attack on a major European city, such as London, is ‘high.’”
Given that IS has already carried out numerous chemical-weapons attacks in Syria, its willingness to use a WMD of some kind is clearly present. As Kantor continued “the threat of a so-called ‘dirty bomb’ attack is at its highest level since the end of the Cold War.”
Poor U.S.-Russia relations increase risk of dirty bomb in Europe – experts
(Corrects this June 7 story to remove reference in paragraph 6 to Swedish diplomat Hans Blix and IAEA chief Yukiya Amano, who did not attend the conference.)
By Toby Sterling
(Reuters) – Tension between Russia and the West may be distracting them from cooperating to prevent an accidental nuclear confrontation or a dirty bomb attack by militants, nuclear policy experts said on Tuesday.
Former U.S. Secretary of Defence William Perry said he regretted the current lack of communication between the United States and Russia, which went into a deep freeze after Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea.
“We are about to recreate the conditions that nearly brought us to the brink of nuclear war” during the Cold War, Perry said.
Anatoly Adamishin, a former Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, argued that the U.S. has focused on a policy of “strangling Russia” and hoping for the departure of Russian President Vladimir Putin, which has the effect of putting Russia at the forefront of a list of U.S. enemies.
“The U.S. simply has to rethink its own policy: what should be in focus is nuclear reductions,” he said. “Russia and the U.S. are not inherent enemies.”
They made their comments at a conference organised by the the Luxembourg Forum on Preventing Nuclear Catastrophe.
The forum’s head, Moshe Kantor, said the threat of a ‘dirty bomb’ attack on a European city was at its highest level since the end of the Cold War.
Security experts have raised concerns since the attacks in Paris and Brussels by Islamist militants that poorly guarded European nuclear facilities pose a risk.
Kantor cited chemical weapons attacks carried out by Islamic State in Iraq, their stated desire to carry out more attacks in Europe, and evidence militants linked to the attacks in Paris had also been studying a Belgian nuclear power plant.
“This, combined with poor levels of security at a host of nuclear research centres in the former Soviet Union mean the threat of a possible ‘dirty-bomb’ attack on a Western capital is high,” Kantor said.
He urged the United States and Russia, both nuclear powers, to cooperate on using their technological resources to monitor the illegal transportation of radioactive materials.
Gorbachev, appearing by satellite link, said he was alarmed by the increasing readiness of many nations to use military force to resolve conflict rather than negotiation.
“I note that these have not solved the problems, but they have served to undermine international law and weaken international relations,” he said.
The threat of a NUCLEAR terror attack is at its highest since the Cold War, as ISIS continues to try and obtain materials for a dirty bomb, warns international think-tank
- Threat of a nuclear attack on Europe at its highest level since Cold War
- ISIS continues to try to obtain nuclears and threat attack on the West
- Paris and Brussels terrorists had studied Belgian nuclear power plant
June 20, 2016 5:00 am
The federal program responsible for detecting and deterring the international smuggling of nuclear and radiological materials cannot measure its progress, a government watchdog says.
The Nuclear Smuggling Detection and Deterrence program, or NSDD, is a key prong of the federal government’s effort to ensure that terrorists do not get ahold of nuclear or radiological materials to create weapons of mass destruction. The program has spent $1 billion over five years to provide equipment and training to other countries to counter nuclear smuggling. It plans to spend $809 million over the next five years.
But the Government Accountability Office concluded in a report released Friday that the program “cannot measure its progress toward completing key activities” because its current goals are not measurable and do not address all tasks relevant to the program, in addition to other shortcomings.
“NSDD cannot measure its progress toward completing key activities and achieving these goals,” the report explains.
“NSDD’s goals are not all measurable, some describe actions rather than outcomes, and they do not fully address all of the program’s key activities,” the report continues. “In addition, its performance measures are not aligned with these goals, and its program plan does not detail how it will complete key program activities or achieve its goals.”
Without being able to measure progress, the program’s officials may not be able to recognize when their mission is accomplished. They also risk “continuing to deploy equipment past the point of diminishing returns,” the auditors said.
The counter-smuggling effort is housed within the National Nuclear Security Administration, a semi-autonomous agency operating within the Department of Energy that promotes national security through the military application of nuclear science. The administration, established nearly two decades ago, protects the U.S. stockpile of nuclear weapons and also works to prevent terrorists, rogue nations, and other adversaries from obtaining nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction.
The NSDD partners with 59 countries to provide tools and training in order to detect and counter nuclear smuggling. Program officials install radiation detection systems at locations of interest worldwide, including airports, seaports, and border checkpoints.
Established as the Office of the Second Line of Defense in 1998, the NSDD at first only provided equipment and technical support to sites in Russia. The program’s work was expanded to nations formerly part of the Soviet Union and in Eastern Europe following the domestic terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
While NSDD has selected four five-year goals to guide its efforts, the goals are not all easily measurable and do not cover all program tasks, the GAO report concludes.
For instance, the NSDD seeks to “prepare partner countries to take full responsibility” of the radiation detection equipment and other tools they receive. GAO auditors concluded this specified goal is not measurable because it describes an action, not an outcome. The NSDD’s program plan does not specify the number of countries expected to take over full operation of equipment and does not provide a deadline for when this should occur.
The program plan also does not address what goals need to be met after countries assume full operation of the equipment they are provided.
GAO auditors noted that NSDD faces “unusual” challenges carrying out its work because of fluctuating conditions in partner countries. For example, more than two-dozen detection systems installed by program contractors in Ukraine have been destroyed as a result of the ongoing conflict between the Ukrainian government and Russian-backed separatists, which began in 2014
“NSDD officials do not know whether the program will be able to fix or replace them and, if so, when,” the report says. “To mitigate this challenge, NSDD plans to deploy additional radiation detection equipment at key locations outside the conflict area.”
The status of equipment sites in Russia—representing roughly 45 percent of program sites—is also unknown given Russia’s decision in 2014 to stop cooperating with the U.S. government on most matters related to nuclear nonproliferation.
The international smuggling of nuclear and radiological materials poses a significant national security threat, with terror groups like ISIS pursuing weapons capabilities. The Wall Street Journal reported in April that ISIS had hijacked a university chemistry lab in Mosul, Iraq, to create new explosive devices, including chemical weapons. Experts worry that ISIS has sought nuclear material to make a dirty bomb.
An Associated Press investigation published last October revealed that arms smugglers with Russian ties attempted to sell radioactive material to ISIS and other extremist groups, though the attempts were thwarted by the FBI.
Small quantities of highly enriched uranium can be used to fashion an improvised nuclear device, and radiological materials can also be combined with conventional explosives to create a dirty bomb.
There have been roughly 2,900 confirmed cases of illicit trafficking of nuclear and radiological materials as of 2015, according to an International Atomic Energy Agency database. Those cases come only from countries that volunteer the information.
Despite NSDD’s shortcomings, the program has provided equipment to other countries that helped detect and deter illicit nuclear smuggling. Officials in one unnamed partner country told GAO auditors that NSDD equipment and training had helped detect and interdict radiological material 15 times since 2009. Tools provided by NSDD to another country were used to seize weapons-grade highly enriched uranium, according to officials.
Jack Caravelli, a former National Nuclear Security Administration senior official, told the Washington Free Beacon that the GAO report points to chronic problems with the NSDD that have been ignored by leaders in the Department of Energy.
“For nearly 20 years DOE’s program management problems have been routinely singled out as a major flaw in the department’s ability to implement critical national security programs. Moreover, the problems cited by the GAO go to the fundamental quality of the program and raise questions about its integrity,” Caravelli said.
“Unfortunately, senior DOE management seems incapable of learning or addressing the lessons of the past that keep recurring—and continue to be pointed out. That these same issues surface repeatedly by an independent investigatory body and are routinely ignored attest to either the department’s willful refusal to fix chronic problems or inability to do so,” Caravelli said.
“In either case, the program is important and deserves to be better managed, perhaps outside DOE control.”
Two of the Brussels bombers filmed the routine of the head of the country’s nuclear programme
ISIS nuclear attack in Europe is a real threat, say experts
Kim Sengupta | The Independent | 8 hours ago
LONDON: The threat of a terrorist attack using nuclear material is the highest since the end of the Cold War, with ISIS actively trying to acquire weapons of mass destruction, according to a leading international think-tank on proliferation.
“ISIS has already carried out numerous chemical weapons attacks in Syria; we know it wants to go further by carrying out a nuclear attack in the heart of Europe. This, combined with poor levels of security at a host of nuclear research centres in the former Soviet Union mean the threat of a possible ‘dirty-bomb’ attack on a Western capital is high,” said Moshe Kantor, the president of the International Luxembourg Forum.
The warning from the organisation, whose members include former government ministers and senior officials from Russia and the West, comes amid deep apprehension that jihadists will attempt to carry out atrocities during the impending Euro 2016 football championship in France. The forum is not suggesting that a terrorist nuclear attack is likely to take place during the tournament, but Dr Kantor pointed out that the Islamist cell which carried out the Brussels attacks two months ago were believed to be monitoring workers and security arrangements at a Belgian nuclear facility.
“Their previous documented attempts to gain access to a nuclear power station in Belgium are evidence of their intent,” he stated at an international conference in Amsterdam. “The terrorists don’t necessarily have to use a ‘dirty bomb’. We are not just talking about stolen nuclear material, using conventional explosives in a nuclear plant, such as smuggling in a bomb, would have catastrophic consequences.”
Former British defence secretary Des Browne, a member of the forum and vice-chairman of the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), said the threat of nuclear terrorism was a highly significant and complex issue which needed a unified international response. “It shouldn’t be a surprise that if terrorists get hold of nuclear material they will try to use it, we also know that they are seeking such material, there were reports, for example, of ISIS getting hold of uranium when they captured Mosul,” he said.
“It isn’t that hard to build a ‘dirty bomb’. They may not kill that many people with such a bomb, but the effect on the environment, the infrastructure and the psychological impact on people would be devastating. They can also use cyber warfare to target a nuclear facility.”
The meeting in Amsterdam marks the 30th anniversary of the Reykjavik summit between US President Ronald Regan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev which paved the way for a historic missile treaty between the US and the Soviet Union. It comes after a nuclear conference hosted by President Barack Obama in Washington earlier this year which focused on the threat of a terrorist attack using nuclear material by ISIS and other extremist groups following the Paris and Brussels attacks.
The President’s deputy national security adviser, Ben Rhodes, said: “We know that terrorist organisations have the desire to get access to these raw materials and to have a nuclear device.”
Around 2,000 metric tons of highly enriched uranium and separated plutonium, that is being used internationally in civilian and military programmes, could be turned into a nuclear bomb if stolen or diverted, said the White House. But fewer than half of the 50 countries attending the summit had even agreed to secure their sources of radiological material.
President Vladimir Putin refused to attend the Washington meeting with the Kremlin claiming it was an American attempt to take over the system of securing radioactive material. It was revealed last autumn that four attempts by Russian-linked gangs in Moldova, a former Soviet state, to sell nuclear material to terrorists, including ISIS, has been foiled. Evidence laid before the courts by Moldovan authorities showed that the smugglers had tried to exploit a breakdown in cooperation between Russia and the West on security issues.
Pakistani President Nawaz Sharif also cancelled his Washington visit after an Islamist terrorist bombing killed 72 people. His country, which has a nuclear arsenal, and figures in the military and security establishment that may be sympathetic to jihadists, is viewed by analyst as a prime source for a terrorist device.
President Obama had repeatedly stressed the danger of nuclear terrorism and his emphasis on nuclear disarmament was an important factor in him winning the Nobel peace prize. Months into his presidency, he said in a much publicised speech in Prague that nuclear weapons were “the most dangerous legacy of the Cold War”.
But in Amsterdam yesterday, Dr Kantor held that the current impasse on nuclear arms control was due to the stance of Washington. “The United States’ refusal to discuss limits for its missile defence programme is a bottleneck for talks, which impedes the entire process of controlling nuclear weapons and heightens the threat of a nuclear incident. If we take the matter seriously, there should be no ‘sacred cows’ either among defensive or offensive weapons,” he argued.
In a video message to the conference, Mr Gorbachev, said: “We cannot be satisfied with the current situation, the window to a nuclear-free world first opened in Reykjavik, is being shut and locked before our eyes…The danger of nuclear weapons proliferation has grown to a large extent for this reason.”
On Thursday the Islamic State again targeted the Iraqi capital of Baghdad.
The Jihadist terror organization staged two suicide bombings that took the lives of at least 31 people.
The deadliest attack targeted the market of a Shiite neighborhood, the favorite target of ISIS in Baghdad. Nineteen people died, and another 46 were wounded when a suicide bomber detonated his explosive device in a crowd of people.
Another 12 people were murdered and 32 were injured when a suicide bomber drove his car bomb into an Army checkpoint north of Baghdad.
Ján Kubiš, the U.N. special envoy to Iraq said in a statement the attacks were “cowardly acts that not only aim at inflicting a heavy toll on the civilian population but also seek to weaken the country’s unity and destroy its social fabric.”
He added that the “Islamic State should not be allowed to succeed.”
The increase in terror attacks in Iraq could be only the beginning of a much larger terror campaign now that ISIS is facing mounting battle losses in Syria, Iraq and Libya where government forces have now reportedly entered the Islamic State’s stronghold, Sirte.
The Forum says that the threat of a nuclear attack is the highest since the Cold War.
“ISIS has already carried out numerous chemical weapons attacks in Syria; we know it wants to go further by carrying out a nuclear attack in the heart of Europe. This, combined with poor levels of security at a host of nuclear research centers in the former Soviet Union mean the threat of a possible ‘dirty-bomb’ attack on a Western capital is high,” Viatcheslav Kantor, the President of the Luxembourg Forum, told the Independent.
Kantor told a conference in Amsterdam on Thursday that the terrorists who carried out the attack on Zaventem International Airport in Brussels, Belgium at the end of March had been monitoring a Belgian nuclear facility.
“Their previous documented attempts to gain access to a nuclear power station in Belgium are evidence of their intent. The terrorists don’t necessarily have to use a ‘dirty bomb.’ We are not just talking about stolen nuclear material, using conventional explosives in a nuclear plant, such as smuggling in a bomb, would have catastrophic consequences,” Kantor told the attendants of the conference.
Des Browne, who is a former British Defense Secretary and is now the vice-chairman of the Nuclear Threat Initiative and a member of the Luxembourg Forum, said that ISIS could be working on a dirty bomb. He also said the Islamic State has seized uranium isotopes during the conquest of Mosul in Iraq.
“It isn’t that hard to build a ‘dirty bomb.’ They may not kill that many people with such a bomb, but the effect on the environment, the infrastructure and the psychological impact on people would be devastating. They can also use cyber warfare to target a nuclear facility,” Browne told the conference.
It was the second time in less than a year that experts warned ISIS is likely working on a dirty bomb.
Western Journalism reported in June 2015 that according to Australian intelligence, the Islamic State was in the possession of enough radioactive material to build a large and devastating dirty bomb.
The nuclear material needed for the bomb was likely obtained in Iraq and in Syria where eyewitnesses reported that ISIS was digging at the site that once housed the Syrian nuclear reactor in Deir a-Zur. This secret Syrian nuclear reactor at Al-Kibar in Deir a-Zur was destroyed in 2007 by the Israeli Air Force in a spectacular raid called Mivtza Bustan.
At the end of last year it was revealed that smugglers with ties to the Russian mafia in Moldova had intended to sell nuclear material to terrorist groups, including the Islamic State. The attempts were foiled after the Moldovan authorities revealed they had discovered that the criminals exploited “a breakdown in cooperation between Russia and the West on security issues.”
The alarming news about ISIS’ attempts to obtain a nuclear weapon or to launch a bomb attack on a nuclear facility came the same day the Federal Criminal Office in Germany warned for an impending ISIS WMD attack on crowds at the Euro 2016 soccer tournament that will start Friday.
The German FBI warned that ISIS could use flying drone bombs packed with chemical agents to wreak havoc during the tournament. The threat has already resulted in the establishment of no-fly zones in the vicinity of French stadiums where the matches will take place.
The Mirror reported, “In the past two years there have been dozens of illegal drone flyovers at sensitive nuclear and military plants in France.” It remains unclear who carried out the drone flights but it could be that they were related to ISIS’ plans to carry out a mega terrorist attack in Europe.