In a survey released Tuesday, 85 experts, mostly from the U.S., predict that one to two nuclear nations would be added during the next five years and that two to five countries would be added during the next decade.
Presently, there are five declared nuclear states — the United States, Russia, Britain, France and China. Three others — India, Pakistan and Israel — are understood to have nuclear arms. North Korea recently announced it has nuclear weapons, and Iran is pursuing a nuclear program that the United States and other nations charge is aimed at producing nuclear weapons.
"As part of the global war against terrorism, the United States and its allies must establish a worldwide system of accountability for nuclear, biological and chemical weapons," the survey said. "In such a system, every nation that has weapons and materials of mass destruction must account for what it has, safely secure what it has, and demonstrate that no other nation or cell will be allowed access."
The survey, conducted by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard Lugar, describes a "real and increasing" threat and recommends more spending for non-proliferation programs.
Almost four-fifths of the experts surveyed said that their country was not spending enough on nonproliferation objectives. None of the experts believed that their country was spending enough on non-proliferation. More than half of the experts recommended an increase of 50 percent or more in their nation's non-proliferation budget.
The experts estimated the risk of a nuclear attack to be 16.4 percent over the next five years and 29.2 percent over the next decade.
The experts concluded the chance of a nuclear, biological, chemical or radiological (dirty bomb) attack on any nation to be 50 percent over five years and 70 percent over 10 years.