- There is a 70 percent risk of an attack somewhere in the world with a
weapon of mass destruction in the next decade, arms experts predicted
in a survey released on Tuesday.
They also said up to five more countries are likely to acquire nuclear weapons within the next 10 years.
survey, conducted by U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman
Richard Lugar, describes a threat that is “real and increasing over
time” and endorses vastly increased funding for non-proliferation
“Even if we succeed spectacularly
at building democracy around the world, bringing stability to failed
states and spreading economic opportunity broadly, we will not be
secure from the actions of small, disaffected groups that acquire
weapons of mass destruction,” the Indiana Republican said in a preface
to the survey.
“Everything is at risk if we fail in this area,” he said.
survey records the views of 85, mostly American, experts, including the
Bush administration’s top non-proliferation official, Robert Joseph,
and such former Republican and Democratic officials as John Wolf, James
Woolsey, William Burns, Donald Gregg, Strobe Talbott and Robert Einhorn.
experts estimated the risk of a nuclear attack to be 16.4 percent over
the next five years and 29.2 percent over the next decade.
to consider the possibility of a nuclear, biological, chemical or
radiological (dirty bomb) attack on any nation, they concluded the
chance of one of the four to be 50 percent over five years and 70
percent over 10 years.
A Lugar aide who oversaw the survey told Reuters 70 percent is “a very conservative estimate.”
attack with a dirty bomb, combining a conventional explosive like
dynamite with radioactive material, is seen as most likely, with a risk
of 40 percent over the next decade.
survey report also said “there was a broad agreement within the
(experts’) group that nuclear weapons will proliferate to new countries
in the coming years.”
judged that one or two more nations would acquire nuclear weapons
during the next five years and two to five would acquire them during
the next decade.
Currently, there are five
declared nuclear states -- the United States, Russia, Britain, France
and China. Three others -- India, Pakistan and Israel -- are understood
to have nuclear arms. North Korea recently announced it has nuclear
Iran is pursuing a nuclear program
that the United States and other nations believe is aimed at producing
nuclear weapons. Iran insists its program is peaceful.
former Democratic Sen. Sam Nunn, Lugar is the main force behind the
Nunn-Lugar program, which has spent millions of dollars since 1991 to
destroy 6,624 nuclear warheads and dismantle hundreds of bombers,
missiles and submarines of the former Soviet Union.
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