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Fact Sheet: Countering "Dirty Bomb" Threat

June 02, 2003

Presidential Action

Today, President Bush and the other G-8 Leaders endorsed a plan to reduce the threat of "dirty bombs" by preventing terrorist access to radioactive sources.

The "Dirty Bomb" Threat: There is growing concern that terrorists or the states which support them could acquire radioactive sources to construct "dirty bombs." Detonation of a "dirty bomb" could harm civilians and result in severe economic costs. Reducing the vulnerability of radioactive sources requires enhanced efforts to track and secure national inventories, as well as expanded international cooperation to identify, manage, and safeguard sources world-wide.

G-8 Action on Radioactive Source Security: G-8 Leaders launched today a new initiative to increase the security of radioactive sources. They are major holders and exporters of these sources, and must work to ensure their security and prevent misuse.

The G-8 will:

  • Recommend practices and standards for national measures to track and recover sources, control exports, and penalize theft or misuse of sources;
  • Encourage international activities to locate, recover, and secure high-risk radioactive sources;
  • Promote adherence to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources; and
  • Consider assistance and technical support to the IAEA and other countries.

U.S. Additional Actions: The United States has intensified efforts to respond to the "dirty bomb" threat. Priorities include assisting former Soviet states to locate and protect high-risk sources, upgrading U.S. national controls, and raising awareness of this issue at a March 2003 international conference jointly sponsored by the United States, Russia and the IAEA.

George W. Bush, Fact Sheet: Countering "Dirty Bomb" Threat Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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