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NCJ Number: 62844 Find in a Library
Title: NUCLEAR THEFT - RISKS AND SAFEGUARDS (FROM STUDIES IN NUCLEAR TERRORISM, 1979, BY AUGUSTUS R NORTON AND MARTIN H GREENBERG - SEE NCJ-62842)
Author(s): M WILLRICH; T B TAYLOR
Corporate Author: G K Hall
United States of America
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 26
Sponsoring Agency: G K Hall
Boston, MA 02111
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THE TECHNOLOGY AND MATERIALS THAT WOULD ENABLE A SMALL GROUP OR AN INDIVIDUAL TO CONSTRUCT AN ATOMIC BOMB OR RADIOLOGICAL WEAPON ARE DISCUSSED WITH EMPHASIS ON THE HAZARDS OF RADIOACTIVE SUBSTANCES TO USERS AND VICTIMS.
Abstract: NONGOVERNMENT GROUPS OR INDIVIDUALS COULD MAKE AN ATOMIC BOMB IF THEY HAD ACCESS TO THE RIGHT INFORMATION AND TO NUCLEAR FUEL FROM THE POWER INDUSTRY. A CONSIDERABLE AMOUNT OF FORMERLY SECRET NUCLEAR WEAPONS INFORMATION WAS RELEASED BY THE U.S. GOVERNMENT DURING THE 1950'S AS PART OF THE 'ATOMS FOR PEACE' PROGRAM. SUBSEQUENT DATA COLLECTIONS AND ENCYCLOPEDIA ARTICLES DETAIL THE PROPERTIES OF PLUTONIUM AND URANIUM, AND THEY DISCUSS THE VARIOUS EQUIPMENT USED TO DETONATE NUCLEAR EXPLOSIONS. THE MATHEMATICS AND PHYSICS REQUIRED FOR BOMB ASSEMBLY MAY BE ACQUIRED FROM TECHNICAL LITERATURE ON NUCLEAR REACTOR ENGINEERING AND CHEMICAL EXPLOSIVES TECHNOLOGY. MOREOVER, NUCLEAR MATERIAL DOES NOT HAVE TO EXPLODE TO CAUSE WIDESPREAD DAMAGE; THIS CAN BE CAUSED BY THE SPREAD OF RADIOACTIVITY. WEAPONS WHICH DISPERSE FISSION PRODUCTS HAVE BEEN SERIOUSLY CONSIDERED FOR MILITARY USE, AND SUCH DEVICES AS PLUTONIUM AEROSOLS COULD BE USED BY TERRORISTS. UNLIKE NATIONAL GOVERNMENTS, A CLANDESTINE BOMBMAKER MIGHT NOT CARE IF HIS WEAPON IS HEAVY AND UNPREDICTABLE. TERRORISTS COULD CONSTRUCT WEAPONS WHICH REQUIRE MINIMAL TIME AND RESOURCES TO PRODUCE AND DELIVER; ALTHOUGH PLUTONIUM AND URANIUM ARE DIFFICULT TO HANDLE, INEXPENSIVE LABORATORIES CAN ADAPT THEM TO WEAPONS APPLICATIONS. EVEN A NUCLEAR EXPLOSION 100 TIMES SMALLER THAN THE HIROSHIMA BOMB COULD KILL THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE IN AN URBAN AREA. ONE FOOTNOTE IS PROVIDED. (TWK)
Index Term(s): Bombs; Nuclear energy; Nuclear terrorism; Radioactive material
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=62844

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