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Nuclear states doubling: IAEA

world Updated: May 15, 2009 23:23 IST
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The number of potential nuclear weapons states could more than double in the next few years unless major powers take radical steps toward disarmament, the head of the UN's nuclear watchdog was quoted saying on Friday.

Director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Mohamed ElBaradei said the threat of proliferation was particularly great in the Middle East and the international regime designed to limit the spread of nuclear weapons was at risk of falling apart, the Guardian newspaper reported.

He predicted the next wave of proliferation would involve "virtual nuclear states" which could produce highly enriched uranium and would have the knowhow to make warheads.