Las nuevas armas nucleares que andan sueltas

LOS ÁNGELES – Nadie cuestionaría el peligro inherente de poseer activos nucleares. Pero ese peligro se torna mucho más agudo en una zona de combate, donde los materiales y las armas nucleares corren el riesgo de ser robados, y donde los reactores pueden convertirse en blancos de los bombardeos. Esos riesgos -más aparentes en Oriente Medio hoy, una región sumergida en el caos- plantean interrogantes perturbadores sobre la seguridad de los activos nucleares en países volátiles en todo el mundo.

Dos episodios recientes demuestran lo que está en juego. El 9 de julio, el grupo militante hoy conocido como Estado Islámico capturó 40 kilos (88 libras) de compuestos de uranio en la Universidad de Mosul en Irak. El uranio capturado no era de grado de armamento; los inspectores internacionales retiraron todo el material sensible de Irak luego de la Guerra del Golfo de 1991 (razón por la cual no se encontró nada cuando los Estados Unidos invadieron el país en 2003). ¿Pero qué respuesta internacional se habría generado, si es que se generaba alguna, si las provisiones escondidas hubieran estado altamente enriquecidas?

El mismo día, Hamas lanzó tres poderosos cohetes diseñados por Irán desde Gaza contra el reactor Dimona de Israel. Afortunadamente, dos de ellos erraron el blanco e Israel logró interceptar el tercero. Pero el episodio representó una seria escalada de las hostilidades y sirvió como un recordatorio importante de la vulnerabilidad de los reactores nucleares en las zonas de guerra.

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