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IAEA warns of disatrous consequences of nuclear terrorism

Incidents of illicit trafficking of radioactive, fissile materials is increasing

Sanjay Jog  |  Mumbai 

Taking a serious note of growing danger of nuclear terrorism across the globe largely due to increasing incidents of illicit trafficking of radioactive and fissile materials, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has for the first time convened a ministerial meeting on July 1 to discuss the gravity of the issue and an action plan. This was informed by IAEA director general Yukiya Amano during his interaction with a select group of journalists here today.

"IAEA has a data of 2,000 cases of illicit transfer of radioactive and fissile materials through containers. This is a matter of serious concern as it will further lead to nuclear terrorism," Amano opined. Therefore, he said the nuclear security will be the focus of the ensuing ministerial meeting slated for July.

Amano on Monday reiterated that the recent nuclear tests conducted by North Korea were in contravention with the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution and it will have a serious impact on the regionalm security. He said that North Korea would need to abide by the UNSC resolution and go for the disarmament of nuclear facilities. Amano said IAEA is prepared to the peaceful resolution of the north Korean nuclear issue by resuming its nuclear verification activities as soons as the political agreement is reached among countries concerned.

Amano recalled that prior to the February nuclear tests IAEA team had visited nuclear facilities in north Korea but the verification has been possible only after it receives necessary invitation. He made it clear that IAEA has not powers to initiate any punitive action against north Korea. He however added that UN can consider imposition of sanctions.

As fas as Iran's nuclear programme is concerned, Amano that Iran has put its 19 nuclear facilities under verification. Iran will have to abide by the UNited Nation Security Council resolution and thereby the country should not divert nuclear material for other purposes.

First Published: Mon, March 11 2013. 19:44 IST