The murder of a security guard at a Belgian nuclear facility just two days after the Brussels attacks, coupled with evidence that Islamic State operatives had been watching researchers there, has re-ignited fears about ISIS and nuclear terrorism. Some experts, including ones cited by the New York Times and others, dismiss the possibility that ISIS could make even a crude nuclear bomb. Yet Project on Managing the Atom at Harvard’s Belfer Center, says that the threat is quite real.
A recent report from the Nuclear Threat Initiative, which notes that the material to make a dirty bomb exists in “tens of thousands of radiological sources located in more than 100 countries around the world.”
In 2013 and 2014, there were 325 incidents of radioactive materials being lost, stolen, or in some way unregulated or uncontrolled, according to the report, which cites estimates from the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation.
What if a dirty bomb isn't the goal? Perhaps those cats are instead looking to do a China Syndrome and create a meltdown at a nuclear power plant instead.