Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

December 7, 2006

Article: “How to Get a Nuclear Bomb”

Filed under: Radiological & Nuclear Threats — by Christian Beckner on December 7, 2006

William Langewiesche has a compelling story in the December 2006 issue of the Atlantic Monthly entitled “How to Get a Nuclear Bomb.” (The full article is only available online to subscribers.) It’s a compelling piece, looking at the challenges that a terrorist organization might face in terms of acquiring nuclear material, smuggling it, and building a nuclear device. It’s in some ways reassuring, playing down some of the threats that have received attention in the last few years, such as the ex-Soviet “suitcase nukes,” and depicting a gradually improved security situation at Russian nuclear facilities due to investments over the past 15 years. But on balance, it’s a disquieting story, in particular in terms of the remaining gaps at those facilities and the ongoing risks of insider theft of nuclear materials. Definitely worth reading if you’re interested in understanding the ground realities of non-proliferation programs at a richer level of detail.

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