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And What About Nuclear and Radiological Terrorism

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In the context of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear terrorism, so-called CBRN terrorism, radiological and nuclear terrorism is widely considered as a major if not the ultimate terrorist threat for modem societies. Highly industrialized countries could be extremely sensitive to terrorist aggressions of this kind. This assertion nevertheless needs to be scrutinized. Furthermore the reasons have to be assessed why up to now there has been no record of any credible blackmail or similar acts, threatening man and environment. This paper considers some possible answers, focusing on an analysis of the technical feasibility of nuclear and radiological terrorism and address further the question of the actors and their motives. Nuclear terrorism is often associated with nuclear proliferation. Strictly speaking, nuclear proliferation deals with the spread of nuclear weapons into states which doesnt possess them. But proliferation can also be understood as the spread of radioactive material or even nuclear explosives into the hands of non-state organizations, such as sub national terrorist or criminal organizations as well as any kind of extremist groups for sabotage, blackmail or any other destabilization or destruction purposes. This is one aspect of nuclear terrorism the other one deals with terrorist actions against nuclear facilities or transport of nuclear material. The US spent about 10 billion dollars in the FY 2000 to fight terrorism and, of this, about one billion alone to counter terrorism with WMD, that means Chemical, Biological and Nuclear Terrorism. Is this unprecedented effort related to an imminent and real threat This survey on nuclear terrorism should help to clarify this question.

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  • Nuclear Warfare

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