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Weak Nuclear Controls Could Allow Dirty Bomb

Nuclear waste - easy to access?
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Jul 25, 2007
US investigators with a fake company got a license to buy enough nuclear material to build a radioactive bomb without a background check, said a report to Congress recently. In four weeks, investigators working for Congress obtained the license from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to purchase enough nuclear material to build a so-called "dirty" bomb, which uses conventional explosives to spread radioactive material.

"Given that terrorists have expressed an interest in obtaining nuclear material, the Congress and the American people expect licensing programs for these materials to be secure," Gregory Kutz reported to lawmakers.

Kutz was one of the authors of the report for the Government Accountability Office, which mounted the sting operation at the request of Republican Senator Norm Coleman.

The investigators obtained the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) license and ordered the fissile material without leaving their desks, Kutz said.

"The NRC has a pre 9-11 mindset in a post 9-11 world, focusing just on preventing another Chernobyl," Coleman said.

"The economic and psychological effects of a dirty bomb detonating on American soil would be devastating," he said.

Investigators obtained the permission by fax and telephone calls, without appearing in person or allowing the regulatory commission to visit their premises.

The investigators posed as representatives of a company that used radioactive isotopes americium-241 and cesium-137 to measure soil density in construction.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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Pakistan Builds Third Nuclear Reactor For Bombs
Islamabad (AFP) Jun 22, 2007
Pakistan appears to be building a third plutonium nuclear reactor to significantly boost its production of atomic bombs, a US research group said Friday. Satellite images show work progressing rapidly at Khusab, 100 kilometres (60 miles) from Islamabad, where the other two reactors are sited, the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) said in a report.

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