Fears raise of Thames-based WMD attack on London

Fears have arisen that terrorists could potentially transport an improvised nuclear device or dirty bomb up the Thames to detonate it in the heart of London, Telegraph.co.uk has reported.

Other potential targets according to the Telegraph are Bristol, Liverpool, Newcastle, Glasgow and Belfast, which are also believed to be vulnerable to such an attack.

Security Minister Lord West raised the possibility of terrorists, in a method similar to the 2008 Mumbai attack that killed more than 150 people, could use small craft to enter ports and launch an attack.

To counter such an event, the government has set up a command center with a goal of tracking suspicious boats. Additionally, the terrorism threat level for the nation has been raised from "substantial" to "severe."

The maritime center is tasked with receiving intelligence from security services and combine the response of the Navy, Coast Guard, police and fisheries vessels in the event of an attack.

Eighteen sites have already been set up by the government with officers assigned to coordinate the emergency services in the event of a CBRN attack.

The revelation of the water-based means of attack follows three separate reviews released simultaneously of the nation's ability to prevent a major terrorist attack.

One report noted a "significant increase in the illicit trafficking of radiological materials, the availability of chemical, biological radiological and nuclear related technologies over the Internet and the increased use of CBRN material for legitimate purposes," the Telegraph reported.

Another report, according to the Telegraph, said that security surrounding decommissioned CBRN material was "variable and sometimes inadequate, leaving materials vulnerable to theft by insiders and criminal and terrorist organizations," and that legitimate uses for the materials "significantly increases the risk that they may be diverted and exploited by terrorist organizations."