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Could Terrorists Set Off a Nuke in the USA? Yes. Easily.

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posted on Feb, 18 2005 @ 10:33 AM
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This is an article everyone should read.

www.popsci.com...

However, for those either too lazy to read the article, or too paranoid about the media tracking your IP address, here's a summation:


...Intent isn’t the same as capability, of course. But of more than a dozen nuclear-arms experts I interviewed, almost all agreed that assembling a crude nuclear bomb, though extremely difficult, is by no means impossible...


According to the article, the steps involved, in order:

  1. Acquiring Raw Materials - This would most likely be highly enriched uranium from a research reactor, as such fuel pellets are small, not too hot to handle, and light enough to carry several in a backpack. Uranium is Research reactors have extremely light security and account for about 22 tons, worldwide.

    A later GAO report, published last year, found that “the fence surrounding the [unnamed foreign research reactor] facility was in poor condition, security guards at the front gate were unarmed, and there were no guards at the reactor building, which we entered without escort.”


  2. Extracting Uranium from the Raw Materials - The knowledge on how to do this is not classified. In fact, the neccesary formulas are even available in many gradulate-school textbooks. The neccesary chemicals, such as nitric acid, or tributyl phosphate, both of which are easy to obtain, and not tracked in most countries. Manpower needed would not be great; it could be done with 2 people. The total time involved would be a few weeks, and due to the low radioactivity, could be performed in a warehouse, using little more than a basin, lab coats, and goggles.


    A study done by the federal Office of Technology Assessment in 1977 concluded that such a project could be done with “at a minimum, one person capable of researching the literature in several fields, and a jack- of-all-trades technician.”


  3. Assembling the Bomb - The type most likely to be used is known as a "gun bomb", where one piece of enriched uranium is slammed into another. Effectively all that is needed is to modify or create a cannon to do this. The more highly enriched the uranium is, the less powerful the cannon would need to be. The parts needed to build and detonate the device would be as easy to obtain as machine-tooling equipment and a cell phone.


    Last year Senator Joseph Biden asked scientists at three national laboratories to see if they could assemble the mechanical components of a gun-style bomb with commercially available equipment alone. A few months later, they reported back that they had done it.


  4. Deliver the Bomb - A crude nuke would weigh between half a ton, and a few tons. It would easily fit within a cargo-shipping container, of which only 5% are inspected, per year. After that, a truck or plane capable of moving that weight would be sufficient to get it to any non-secured destination. Most currently used radiation scanners have a very limited range, and are ineffective at picking up lead-shielded uranium.


    Even efficacious scanners might overlook nuclear materials that were smuggled into the U.S. in small amounts and then assembled into a weapon in the very city that the terrorists had targeted. That’s why most experts strongly agree that the best strategy is to stop terrorists at step one, by preventing nuclear material from being stolen in the first place.



Does this bother anyone else but me? I mean, it's really trivial in the face of all the apparent fears of the Masons, Illuminati, Chupacabra, Aliens, and Nordic Vampires from Atlantis, but still, for some reason, this strikes me as at least a slightly valid thing to be concerned about.




posted on Feb, 18 2005 @ 10:39 AM
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Careful, this could be construed as "How to make a Nuke 101"



posted on Feb, 18 2005 @ 11:12 AM
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Could Terrorists Set Off a Nuke in the USA? Yes. Easily.

Could terrorists set off a nuke anywhere is this world? Yes, easily.

The article gives possibilities and then prevention methods.


It’s the ultimate nightmare: a nuclear attack in the U.S. masterminded by terrorists. Here’s how that could happen— and how we can prevent it.


An indepth article and is a topic that has been discussed extensively since pre-Clinton era. The significance of this article today is that what it implies is more relevant today then when it was simply a notion/thought/possibility of terrorist groups or organizations acquiring and then entering any country and detonating a nuclear device. Instead of a percieved conceptual threat, after the events of 9/11, it is now percieved as a realistic threat.




seekerof

[edit on 18-2-2005 by Seekerof]



posted on Feb, 18 2005 @ 11:24 AM
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Who doubts it?

I for one, dont. I dont know anyone who does. Anything is possible and given the fact that we're trying to run the world this is now a much more possible scenario than ever.



posted on Feb, 18 2005 @ 12:42 PM
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I don't doubt it. It is definitely possible.



posted on Feb, 18 2005 @ 12:50 PM
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hmm. it sounds possible, definately not easy.

also, they say you can set off a nuke with "red mercury" and they (allegedly) found a bunch of that in iraq a few weeks back.



posted on Feb, 18 2005 @ 12:56 PM
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What I don't understand is why they are saying the bomb could weigh between a ton to five tons. This is a lot of weight to be transporting around undetected. Artillery fired nukes only weigh 150-200 lbs.

The terrorists would also need some type of neutron generator to cause the reaction. Placing a bunch of uranium rings on top of each other won't work. They need that catalyst; the neutrons to "get the ball rolling".

I am still highly skeptical about terrorists being able to produce and detonate a high yield nuclear device. Too much science involved.

I could definitely see some type of 'dirty bomb', but even still, it will be of low 'yield'.

Just my opinion



posted on Feb, 18 2005 @ 01:00 PM
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how much did that weigh?? a fatboy atomic bomd weighed only 400 pounds.... but it seems like its a definite possibility



posted on Feb, 18 2005 @ 01:41 PM
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Originally posted by nathraq
What I don't understand is why they are saying the bomb could weigh between a ton to five tons. This is a lot of weight to be transporting around undetected. Artillery fired nukes only weigh 150-200 lbs.



Yes, and they have made computer proccessors the size of finger nails, when you try to make something from scrach, with assorted commercial parts, it tends to be a little larger



posted on Feb, 18 2005 @ 02:01 PM
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That's not just a little difference, that's a large difference.

So much so, that if someone was to place something as huge as 5 tons in a conspicous place, it will be noticed.

On the other hand, a small device, comparable to the U.S. SADM, which is about the size of a small backpack, could be hidden rather easily.

That is why I am doubting that anyone will be ever to detonate a 5 ton nuke.

By the way... any 1000-3000lb bomb, as stated in the article, would hurt a city by the high explosives themselves. No need for any nuclear capabilities in a device that large.



posted on Feb, 18 2005 @ 02:13 PM
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Originally posted by nathraq
What I don't understand is why they are saying the bomb could weigh between a ton to five tons. This is a lot of weight to be transporting around undetected. Artillery fired nukes only weigh 150-200 lbs.


A standard 2-ton pickup truck could haul it around. Failing that, a $50 rented Ryder van, fully covered, with room for the lead-lining. Also, different type of bomb. A military-quality artilliary nuke is going to be much more efficient and precise design, using a different detonation technique. A relatively low-tech bomb, on the other hand, would probably be at least the size of a soda machine, because it has to contain a different type of mechanism.


Originally posted by nathraq
The terrorists would also need some type of neutron generator to cause the reaction. Placing a bunch of uranium rings on top of each other won't work. They need that catalyst; the neutrons to "get the ball rolling".


Not in a "gun bomb". A gun bomb only needs to be precisely crafted on the inside, and slam
one bit of enriched uranium against another, like a gun.


Originally posted by nathraq
I am still highly skeptical about terrorists being able to produce and detonate a high yield nuclear device. Too much science involved.

I could definitely see some type of 'dirty bomb', but even still, it will be of low 'yield'.


High yield, yeah. This is true. This is the sort of capability that the government worries about when they talk about places like Iran. Something that has high-yield, high-death toll, and has the ability to cross thousands of miles, if not the globe, before detonation.

But consider the implications of a low-yield. They address this in the article. 1 kiloton is enough to take out a city block, and irradiate for several blocks around. A 1-kiloton explosion "dud" of a nuke, detonated in a key spot, of a major city, could kill many many thousands of people in a high-density area, at the right time of day. Considering that most city blocks are built in squares, if your radiation would cause lethal effects for only 2 block in any direction, you've got a 25-block radius of people dying from the explosion and eventual deaths from radiation poisoning or cancer.

Now consider the panic that would ensue immediately afterward... Between the savagery of people attempting to flee the city on choked roads, the looting while the cops were busy, the panick buying-and-hoarding, and the refusal of people to go to work, shutting down the infrastructure and commerce of the city, the fear impact to one city would be absolutely devastating. This doesn't even count the land rendered useless for years afterward, and the fact that no one would ever want to live in a city where a nuke went off. Property values would plummet. It could literally turn a metropolis into a ghost town within a month.

Now imagine the chain-reaction of other cities, suddenly dealing with a loss of almost all business ties to that city. In some cases, that city may have been a vital part of the infrastructure, or the source of, power, water, tourism, etc... The surrounding cities would be less harshly affected, but certainly it would cause some short and long term problems.

Now bring it up to the state level. How bad would it be for a state if, say, it's capital, or a major industrial or commercial town were suddenly be rendered useless, and the surrounding towns were now at a loss for power, water, jobs, medical attention, and so forth? Think of the crisis California faced recently, and that was only due to mismanagement. Multiply that by about 10 times, with panic and the fact that a new governor won't bring all those people back from the dead, or make the city any more habitable in the public eye.

Now how many states do we have that are major concentrated centers of Commerce and Industry? New York, Michigan, Texas, California. Those are the big 4. Imagine what might happen, if even one of those states were affected. It could affect the Nation's GDP by as much as 10-25%. Imagine the impact on the economy, nationwide, that it would have. And while some of you might cheer that "The Man" loses some money, remember that you live in a nation that is largely irrevocably dependant on "The Man".

You don't need a high-yield nuke in today's world to cripple a country. All you need is a well-placed one.



posted on Feb, 18 2005 @ 02:33 PM
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Originally posted by thelibra

Not in a "gun bomb". A gun bomb only needs to be precisely crafted on the inside, and slam
one bit of enriched uranium against another, like a gun.


Slamming uranium rings against each other is only half of the reaction process. A person can slam uranium rings together, and all you get is alot of blue sparks.

They would have to find a way to 'charge' the atoms that are zipping around in the chamber. That is where neutrons come in. They split the atoms, causing the reaction. Every nuclear type device has them. I am not saying it is impossible, but highly unlikely.



posted on Feb, 18 2005 @ 07:57 PM
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Dont be fooled. This threat is a very real one. I read that article in PopSci and subsequently bought the book "Nuclear Terrorism The ultimate preventable catastrophe". It has some great info about how insecure the worlds nuclear stockpiles/research reactors are. Furthermore, NK and Iran are on the virge being able to pump out nukes, if not are already there. Iran hates our guts and for the right amount of cash would gladly sell a bomb or two to a terrorist group and get a two for one deal. Once they have the bomb, getting it into the country is as easy as cake. I believe it was 60 min that sent some shielded depleted uranium from (forgot exactly where, but it was a place known for terrorist activity indonesia maybe?) all the way to the US without the shipping container being opened once for inspection. There are serious flaws in our deterrence against nuclear terrorism, if left unchecked we are going to be very sorry. In the event of such a catastrophe, Ossama would have us by the bawlls, because there is nothing reasonable and equal that we could do to strike back. I think even if we tighten up our ports and points of entry to this country, a determined terrorist will be able to sneak what ever they want in. Even if we stop Iran and NK from going nuclear, a determined terrorist can obtain nuclear material. The solution? Exterminate the determined terrorist as fast as possible. Also we should think about revising our foreign policy that got is in this world of sh*t in the first place...

Curious to know what everyone thinkgs about the following question:

What would you all do if you were the US president and a major US city got struck with a high yeild nuclear bomb by terrorists?? Who would you strike, how would you strike and would you use nukes?

[edit on 18-2-2005 by RealisticPatriot]



posted on Feb, 18 2005 @ 08:10 PM
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what blows my mind is that the economy sucks right now, but as mentioned in the previous post 60 minutes (?) sent some depleted uranium via parcel. Im sure there are thousands of unemployed people around that would want the job of inspecting packages, and other security functions.

just seems like a no brainer fix to me...



posted on Feb, 18 2005 @ 08:13 PM
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True enough however due to the extremely large volume of incoming cargo containers from all the ports, to inspect a healthy percentage of them would totally cripple throughput of the ports.

Know how before 9/11 we always were concernd with terrorism but never really put it up there on the to do list... well the same thing is going to happen with nuclear terrorism...Godforbid it does....we thought 9/11 changed the world... this will totally f things up...


Originally posted by jprophet420
what blows my mind is that the economy sucks right now, but as mentioned in the previous post 60 minutes (?) sent some depleted uranium via parcel. Im sure there are thousands of unemployed people around that would want the job of inspecting packages, and other security functions.

just seems like a no brainer fix to me...


[edit on 18-2-2005 by RealisticPatriot]







 
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