Global Security Newswire
Daily News on Nuclear, Biological & Chemical Weapons, Terrorism and Related Issues
Canadian Radioactive Substance Thefts Drop Off
Cases involving missing or misappropriated radioactive materials in Canada have notably decreased in recent years, reducing worries of terrorists acquiring enough material in the country to build a radiological "dirty bomb," the Ottawa Citizen reported on Saturday (see GSN, Feb. 9, 2009).
A dirty bomb would use conventional explosives to disperse radioactive material across a wide area, most probably producing panic and economic trouble rather than a large number of deaths. Their potential use by terrorists has gained new international attention with the recent release of U.S. diplomatic dispatches detailing efforts to contain the proliferation of nuclear material around the world (see GSN, Feb. 11).
The Canadian Security Intelligence Service wrote in a declassified 2007 brief that "it is quite surprising that the world has not yet witnessed such an attack. It appears that we are positively overdue for one."
Radioactive sources are employed for industrial, medical and other purposes. Only five such objects were reported missing or pilfered in both 2009 and 2010 in Canada. Comparatively, 15 radioactive sources were reported missing or stolen annually on average from 2005 to 2008, according to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.
Following calls for the Nuclear Safety Commission to deepen its oversight over atomic substances, the organization in 2006 broke new ground by creating a national database and monitoring system for the nuclear systems held by thousands of firms and organizations.
"Licensees have become more aware of the importance of maintaining accurate inventories, and understand CNSC expectations and the level of importance placed on safety and security of all sealed sources," according to a commission statement released on Friday.
In excess of 1,400 inspections are conducted yearly at locations with high- and medium-risk nuclear objects.
Six radioactive sources lost in 2009 and 2010 have yet to be accounted for, though they are all judged to represent a low to very low danger to public health.
In standard incidents of radioactive source theft, the sources are indirectly pilfered by thieves looking for construction vehicles or scrap metal to sell, according to commission experts (Ian Macleod, Ottawa Citizen, Feb. 12).
March 20, 2013
This report is part of a collection examining implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540, which requires all states to implement measures aimed at preventing non-state actors from acquiring NBC weapons, related materials, and their means of delivery. It details implementation efforts in Central America, South America and the Caribbean to-date.
March 12, 2013
The UNSCR 1540 Resource Collection examines implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540, which requires all states to implement measures aimed at preventing non-state actors from acquiring NBC weapons, related materials, and their means of delivery. It details implementation efforts in all of the regions and countries of the world to-date.
This article provides an overview of Canada’s historical and current policies relating to nuclear, chemical, biological and missile proliferation.