The nuclear summit at the Washington DC convention center lead to some alarming remarks, not so much just from president Obama, but from Joe Cirincione , of the Ploughshares Fund, summary article here . The CNN story has many videos and includes Obama’s remarks.
News reports discusses security breaches at Belgium’s nuclear power plants and spying on employees, possibly one murder. There are conflicting reports on the reported death and whether papers or material from the person could have been stolen.
Furthermore, early Saturday, coalition forces struck a chemical lab in Mosul at a university thought to have radioactive weapons.
Experts say that a dirty bomb is relatively “easy” to build, although some say that most people would run great personal risk of fatal personal exposure in doing so. Some experts at the convention said they are surprised it hasn’t happened already, at least in Europe. A dirty bomb going off in a major city could make a square mile or so unusable for years, and make real estate in an area worthless, sending many leveraged people into bankruptcy and homelessness and undermine the stability of the financial system. Smugness and insularity about these sorts of possibilities turn into moral issues.
It’s unclear how much practical risk there is with lower risk items, like isotopes used in hospitals for radiation therapy, or how well secured they are. Are materials like this kept in less secure outpatient buildings? Recent cyber-attacks on hospitals don’t inspire confidence in their preparedness.