UN Nuclear Agency Calls For Fight Against Nuclear Terrorism

The United Nations atomic agency called for greater international cooperation in the face of potential terrorist attacks using nuclear or radiological weapons.

The 137-nation International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) adopted a resolution calling for joint efforts to improve border security in order to prevent the illegal trafficking of nuclear materials.

The text called on "all member states to continue to provide political, financial and technical support... to improve nuclear and radiological security and prevent nuclear and radiological terrorism".

It came in response to growing fears that extremist groups could use nuclear materials to build a "dirty bomb" -- a device that would spew radioactive debris over a city, making parts of it uninhabitable for years.

IAEA records point to a dramatic rise in the smuggling of radiological substances, the raw material for a dirty bomb, and the United States claims that the Al-Qaeda extremist network is seeking to acquire such weapons.

The IAEA resolution urged member states to provide the agency's nuclear security fund with the necessary political and financial support.

It also welcomed the agency's initiative to assist states in planning future nuclear security activities and encouraged it to prepare an annual report charting progress in the field.

The resolution, passed shortly before the end of an IAEA conference in Vienna, follows others adopted by the agency since the September 11 attacks against the United States in 2001.