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House Committee on Armed Services Nuclear Proliferation ... - IDIA

House Committee on Armed Services Nuclear Proliferation ... - IDIA

R u t g e r s Mo d e l C

R u t g e r s Mo d e l C o n g r e s s 5 crashing into a power plant. 18 The effects of such an attack would be a nuclear meltdown comparable to Chernobyl. The lack in security included a minimal amount of security guards and failed security exercises. 19 “For 15 years, [we] have been warning the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that its quarter-century-old security regulations...are woefully inadequate and outdated,” said nuclear safety expert Daniel Hirsch. 20 The outdated security protocols and the inadequate security at power plants make this a possible cause for a nuclear terrorist incident. Once terrorists have acquired a nuclear weapon, smuggling in a nuclear device into the United States is not as difficult as one might imagine. U.S. Customs since 9/11 has taken multiple measures in the security of our borders and entryways by setting many radiation detectors and multiple guards, though radiation-shielding devices are readily available. Yet, security at borders and entryways is still lacking. According to analysts Matthew Bunn and Anthony Wier, “the physics of nuclear material and nuclear weapons, the geography of the huge and complex American borders and the economics of the global flow of people and goods conspire to make the terrorist’s job easy and the defenders’ very difficult.” 21 The size of the United States is a liability when it comes to deterring importation of nuclear material. In addition, nuclear arms can be smuggled in objects as small as a suitcase or in a van. 22 Comparison of Causes Lack of security in developing states, increased hostility from terrorist organizations and lack of secure entryways and power plant security all make increase the threat of nuclear terrorism. The lack of security in developing states is one of the most important factors in the United States’ threat of nuclear terrorism because it depends on 18 CNN, “Nuclear Plants possible targets Memo warns,” CNN, February 1, 2002. 02.htm. 19 Leventhal, Paul, “Nuclear Power Reactors are inadequately protected against terrorist attack, A Review of Security Issues at Nuclear Power Plants. ong>Houseong> ong>Committeeong> on Energy and Commerce, 5 December 2001. 20 Daniel Hirsch, “Urgent Action Needed to Protect U.S. Nuclear Plants from Terrorist Attack,” ong>Committeeong> To Bridge the Gap,, accessed December 30, 2008. 21 Matthew Bunn and Anthony Wier, “The Seven Myths of Nuclear Terrorism,” Current History, April 2005. 22 Ibid.

R u t g e r s Mo d e l C o n g r e s s 6 the other states to make sure that their security is tight. It also depends on developing states to not sell nuclear materials to terrorist organizations and prevent them from smuggling nuclear arms out. The increased hostility from terrorist organizations leaves the United States on constant watch of any attack as well as lack of security on the borders and power plants. Chronology July 1968: The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty signed by 189 states called for an end to the production and the disarmament of nuclear arms and advocated peaceful uses of nuclear technology. 23 However, the states that did not sign the NNPT included India, Pakistan, and North Korea. Not all of these states chose to sign the treaty because they were still developing their nuclear programs. However, the three states have secretive nuclear programs and lack regimented security measures, which makes them sources from which terrorists might obtain nuclear materials. 24 10 March 1978: The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Act Passed by Congress In keeping with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the U.S. Congress passed legislation, which solidified the United States’ position and stance on the proliferation of nuclear arms. 25 The Act was intended to ensure the security and the safety of all tactical nuclear arms within the United States. It however did not ensure the security of tactical nuclear arms in foreign states. The lack of secure tactical nuclear material in foreign 23 Simpson, John, “Nuclear Non-Proliferation in the Post-Cold War Era,” International Affairs, Vol. 70, No. 1, January 1994. pp. 17-39. 24 Center for Defense Information, “What if Terrorists go Nuclear?” Center for Defense Information, October 1, 2001. (accessed October 21. 2008). 25 The American Presidency Project, “Nuclear Non-Proliferation Act of 1978 Statement on Signing H.R. 8638 into Law, The American Presidency Project,, (accessed November 11, 2008).

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