Nuclear threat: Theft of radioactive materials increased across the world, is this a big alarm bell?

Ananya Shroff
3 Min Read

New Delhi: At least 168 worrying incidents of theft or loss of nuclear and radioactive materials were reported in 31 countries around the world last year. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has expressed serious concern about six of these incidents. The number of suspicious cases registered in the last 30 years has been increasing, which include smuggling, loss or theft of nuclear and radioactive materials. Of these cases registered since 1993, 350 may be related to serious smuggling or misuse, which can have devastating consequences. These radioactive materials can be used to make bombs, which are made by mixing radioactive materials with explosives and can cause large-scale environmental pollution. Terrorist groups or other non-state weapons groups can also use these materials to make destructive nuclear weapons.

This makes a dirty bomb.

The IAEA fears that the stolen uranium can be used to make bombs which can cause radio pollution. Let us tell you that 5.6 weapons worth of uranium can be made from one ton of natural uranium. America used an atom bomb containing 64 kg of uranium in Hiroshima.

India's position

In June 2021, seven people were arrested with 6.4 kg of uranium in Jharkhand. In May 2021, people were arrested for trying to sell 7 kg of natural uranium. In February 2022, eight people, including two Indians, were caught selling uranium-like substance in Nepal.

Major cyber attacks
Who Am I Know Nuclear Power hacked a Korean nuclear plant in 2014. North Korea's Lazarus group inserted gallware into an Indian nuclear plant in 2019. In 2003, the Slammer group infected a nuclear plant's computer.

capabilities of terrorists

In 2016, 15 countries planned a nuclear attack on Britain and Europe. Before that, in 2014, ISIS captured nuclear material from Mosul University. North Caucasus terrorists also tried to capture a nuclear submarine and a Japanese group tried to acquire nuclear weapons. At the fourth International Nuclear Security Conference held in Vienna last week, it was revealed that only 145 countries report theft of radioactive material. Generative AI can now create fake pictures of the effects of radiation. Theft and sabotage of nuclear material is a major threat. Therefore, new security programs are needed to fight cyber attacks. Let us tell you that according to Russia's nuclear energy chief Alexei Likhachev, Russia will supply next generation nuclear fuel to India next month.

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