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Sunday, April 11, 2010

Securing world's nuclear materials goal of U.S. summit

Source: McClatchy News Service
Early on Nov. 8, 2007, armed men penetrated a 10,000-volt security fence, disabled intrusion detectors and scaled a ladder into the emergency control center of the Pelindaba nuclear facility, the repository of highly enriched uranium removed from the six bombs of South Africa's defunct nuclear arsenal.

The gang, which shot and wounded a security officer during the 45 minutes they spent inside the center, left empty-handed. Its members have never been captured or identified, however, and their ability to penetrate what was supposedly one of South Africa's most heavily guarded installations highlights what experts warn is growing danger that terrorists or criminals will obtain small amounts of highly enriched uranium and build a crude nuclear weapon.

Securing the world's stocks of highly enriched uranium, also known as HEU, and weapons-grade plutonium is the goal of a two-day nuclear summit involving leaders from 46 countries that begins Monday in Washington. President Barack Obama hopes that the attendees will acknowledge the threat and will begin a concerted effort to ``lock down'' all HEU and plutonium stocks vulnerable to theft within four years.

The summit -- the largest gathering of international leaders in the U.S. in more than 60 years -- is the next step in Obama's plan to rid the world of nuclear weapons eventually. In addition to the treaty with Russia, Obama last week announced a new U.S. nuclear strategy that embraced further cuts in the U.S. arsenal, ruled out the development of new warheads and excluded most of the world's countries from U.S. nuclear attack. LinkHere


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