Thursday, May 21, 2009

FUTURE SHOCKS

"The number of potential nuclear weapons states could more than double in the next few years unless major powers take radical steps toward disarmament, the head of the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog was quoted saying on Friday. Mohamed ElBaradei said the threat of proliferation was particularly great in the Middle East and the international regime designed to limit the spread of nuclear weapons was at risk of falling apart, the Guardian newspaper reported. "Any regime ... has to have a sense of fairness and equity and it is not there," ElBaradei, director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said in an interview with the paper. He predicted the next wave of proliferation would involve "virtual nuclear states" which could produce plutonium or highly enriched uranium and would have the know-how to make warheads, but would stop just short of assembling a weapon. Such states would remain technically compliant with the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT) while being within a couple of months of deploying and using a weapon, he said." (Yahoo News, 12 May) RD

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