Nuclear Terrorism after 9/11  book cover
1st Edition

Nuclear Terrorism after 9/11

ISBN 9780415399920
Published March 16, 2006 by Routledge
144 Pages

USD $46.95

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Book Description

The very mention of nuclear terrorism is enough to rouse strong reactions, and understandably so, because it combines the most terrifying weapons and the most threatening of people in a single phrase. The possibility that terrorists could obtain and use nuclear weapons deserves careful analysis, but discussion has all too often been contaminated with exaggeration, even hysteria. For example, it has been claimed that nuclear terrorism poses an ‘existential threat’ to the United States.

This Adelphi Paper develops a more measured analysis of the risk of terrorists detonating a true fission device. The problem is attacked from two perspectives: the considerable, possibly insurmountable, technical challenges involved in obtaining a functional nuclear weapon, whether ‘home-made’ or begged, borrowed or stolen from a state arsenal; and the question of the strategic, political and psychological motivations to ‘go nuclear’. The conclusions are that nuclear terrorism is a less significant threat than is commonly believed, and that, among terrorists, Muslim extremists are not the most likely to use nuclear weapons.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction  2. Nuclear terrorism – an overview  3. Terrorist Nuclear Weapons  4. The Nuclear Black Market  5. Improvised Nuclear Devices (INDs)  6. Amateur and ‘Low End’ Weapons Design  7. The Nth Country Experiment  8. The Teenager’s 10kt Beachball  9. An Artistic Representation of the Fat Man  10. South Africa: Quick and Dirty Bombs?  11. An Unholy Bomb: the Aum Shinrikyo  12. ‘Loose’ Russian nuclear weapons  13. Terrorist Psychology, Motivation, and Strategy  14. Psycho Killer, Qu’est Que C’est?  15. Motivation and Constraints  16. Nationalists/Separatists  17. Social-Revolutionaries  18. Right-Wing Terrorism  19. Religious Terrorism  20. Single-issue terrorism  21. Terrorism and Nuclear Deterrence  22. Is Al Qa’ida a Nuclear Threat?  23. Al Qa’ida and Jihadist Strategy

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Robin M. Frost is an analyst with the Government of Canada. He holds degrees in political science, psychology, and journalism, and has published papers on nuclear terrorism, nuclear proliferation, and other subjects. He previously worked as an academic, as a broadcast news journalist, and in the software industry.