Washington, June 18 : A top intelligence official of the IAEA has reportedly said that that the US administration must buy uranium and plutonium from the black market to keep nuclear weapons away from terrorists, criminals and rogue states.
Speaking at the Washington Institute, IAEA Intelligence Director Rolf Mowatt-Larssen said that the US government was not doing enough to buy uranium and plutonium on the black market to keep weapons away from terrorists' reach.
He said the US government assumes that terrorists or developing countries can obtain or develop a warhead on their own. "We must take urgent action to scoop up any nuclear material outside state control before terrorists do," the Daily Times quoted him as saying.
According to IAEA, the UN's nuclear watchdog, nearly 1300 nuclear-smuggling related incidents had been recorded since 1993. It said that only a few kgs of plutonium is required to make a primitive nuclear weapon, and such material is hard to detect in transit because it emits low levels of radiation.
The amount of nuclear material US agents already buy on the black market is classified.
The father of Pakistan's nuclear prgramme Dr AQ Khan allegedly headed a network that secretly sold nuclear technology to Iran and Libya on the black market. In that investigation, Swiss officials seized computers and files from three brothers accused of smuggling for the network. By 2006, the files had been deciphered and among them was a detailed design for an advanced but small nuclear warhead.
Former UN arms inspector David Albright said that the design goes far beyond the schematics and information about nuclear weapons available on the Internet. "There is very little information of this quality out there outside of the nuclear weapons states," he added.