Exclusive: Stopping Loose Nukes

Bob Orr is a correspondent for CBS News based in Washington.
Since 9/11 the US has spent billions to defend ports, cities and border crossings from terrorists looking to set off a dirty bomb, or worse yet, a nuclear weapon. The radiation-related activities of the Department of Homeland Security have been well documented.

But, at the same time, there's been a little-noticed effort inside the Department of Energy to attack the nuke threat at the source. Teams of scientists have been dispatched to dozens of countries around the world to secure highly-enriched uranium and transport the material to safe storage facilities.

Most recently one team, working at a poorly secured reactor in the Czech Republic, recovered enough highly-enriched uranium to build three nuclear bombs. Tonight on the CBS Evening News we will give you an exclusive look inside that Czech reactor. You'll see US scientists securing the nuclear material and preparing it for safe shipment to a well-guarded facility inside Russia.

Over the past three years, US officials have recovered enough highly-enriched uranium to produce 34 nuclear weapons, and they have also secured enough raw radiological material to make 8,500 so-called dirty bombs.

It is a sobering and fascinating story about the FIRST line of defense: US officials working at the source to stop the flow of loose nukes to the black market.