Working Paper, NUPI

Crude Nukes on the Loose? : Preventing Nuclear Terrorism by Means of Optimum Nuclear Husbandry, Transparency, and Non-Intrusive Fissile Material Verification

Published: 28 Jun 2016
Summary:

This thesis assesses the threat of nuclear terrorism and identifies strategies for diminishing the risk of such incidents. Never before have the material, the technology, the know-how, and, perhaps, the motivations needed to perform acts of nuclear terrorism been more exploitable. Building on eight research papers, the thesis sets out to answer three principal questions: 1) “Can terrorists possibly perform acts of terror by means of crude nuclear explosive devices based on highly enriched uranium? What are the main barriers to the production of crude nuclear explosives?” 2) “Is there an optimum way of protecting fissile material from falling into terrorist hands? What role – if any – do transparency and nonintrusive verification play in this regard?” 3) “Within legitimate security constraints, what kind of measures could be put in place to enhance the transparency and non-intrusive verification of stocks of sensitive fissile material?”