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How feasible is a "real Terrorist" attack involving Nuclear weapons?

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posted on Sep, 21 2006 @ 05:25 PM
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I find this topic very frustrating as even though I cannot/will not discount it I find it so hard to believe a terrorist group such as Al Qaeda (ANYKIND) could possibly build a Nuke, Whats everything been about recently on the news (PRE-Chavez-Speech) ? it was all about Iran and its Nuclear weapons capabilities, we then find out it would take from estimates 5-8 years to build one, so do you still really think that a "Terrorist" group is still capable of detonating a Nuke in the US?

The US is the safest country in the world with the latest technology generally beating any other armies forces hands down, as long as their Government doesnt see any need for war or has some unreasonable plan then the American and worldwide public usually continue to be alot safer.




The Iranian government asserts that the programme's only goal is to develop the capacity for peaceful nuclear power generation, and plans to generate 6000MW of electricity with nuclear power plants by 2010


here it states they hope to have nuclear power by 2010, a while off yet.


Iran Nuclear Programme

[edit on 21-9-2006 by marcopolo]




posted on Sep, 21 2006 @ 05:36 PM
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Pretty feasible, even with high tech equipment the U.S. govt. agencies have, it does not guarantee that U.S. would not be nuked from within by a terrorist group. Its based on how the terrorists can execute such plan and how we respond to such threat. Also intelligence is important to prevent such horrible act.



posted on Sep, 21 2006 @ 05:52 PM
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marcoplo,

I think there are Many scenarios under which Many feel the US could be "attacked" by a nuclear weapon. Although, I would have to qualify that with the supposition that the least "detectable" means would be either pre-existing devices [post-cold war "unnaccountables"] or that which could have been brought in by way of the Mexican/US border. Hell, Canada, too, for that matter.

As for a stated time-period prior to which So-and-So are able to attain supposed capabilities, well, I'd have to respond by saying science may be science, but, unfortuantely and once again, money is money.

Brief and somewhat allusive, yea, but it's just my $.02



posted on Sep, 22 2006 @ 09:42 AM
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...to do real economic/social/political devistation in this country.

I'm one of those who does feel that Al Qaeda, particularly with the PR victories they've been achieving throughout the world, could -- if not have already -- get their hands on a low-yield nuclear device (the much-hyped suitcase nuke) and detonate it in the U.S.

For the most part, procurement would be the easiest method. The difficulty would be finding the expertise to refurbish (very carefully:roll
recalibrate and install into a new disguised devise and then placed somewhere clandestinely on U.S. soil.

But, in truth, Al Qaeda wouldn't even need nukes to do real damage to the U.S. A coordinated, simultaneous strike using high-powered conventional explosives in say a handful of top cities in high-trafficked areas could equal the foundation shaking we here in America feel would happen with just one or two nuke explosions.



posted on Sep, 22 2006 @ 10:02 AM
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But, in truth, Al Qaeda wouldn't even need nukes to do real damage to the U.S. A coordinated, simultaneous strike using high-powered conventional explosives in say a handful of top cities in high-trafficked areas could equal the foundation shaking we here in America feel would happen with just one or two nuke explosions


Good point I believe it is more likely that they would do that, it would kill alot of innocent people, so why go through all the trouble of waiting so long 5 years on just to Nuke the place when they could have followed up with alot of simultaneous "truck or car bombs" which would do the same thing and probably be alot cheaper. I personally believe it just doesnt make sense to for a terrorist organisation to nuke some random American city, It is all just IMO scaremongering by the Media and who controls the "media" the Government.

[edit on 22-9-2006 by marcopolo]



posted on Sep, 22 2006 @ 10:10 AM
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I think biologicals will be the weapon of choice. Exist in abundance, easy to transport, terror and debilitation factor on the infrastructure is much higher. Release it in a train station or airport, and we do the rest of the work. The question is when.



posted on Sep, 22 2006 @ 10:15 AM
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marco...

A nuke would be far more spectaular than car/truck bombs. In the US, no matter what they do will initiate a huge crackdown making any follow-on act much more difficult. If they really want to do something terrifying they'll have one shot at it. A nuke is certainly the biggest spectacle. I agree with behindthescenes that a well designed biological attack would be more devastating. A chemical attack would be harder to do in a large scale manner.

Terrorists wouldn't need suitcase nukes. They would be a bad choice for the reasons already cited (they're old and would require some significant re-engineering at this point in time). More practical would be to acquire one or more warheads from the former USSR arsenal. They don't need nor would they want the entire reentry vehicle (the missile section that carries the nuclear payload) --- just the nuclear payload itself. It's not suitcase-sized by any means but isn't huge and could easily be transported. Manufacturing one themselves would be far more difficult, would yield a smaller weapon (yield-wise) and a larger weapon (size-wise). Also, reliability is an important consideration. The USSR (and the US) developed the sophisticated engineering and manufacturing processes to build reliable, small and serviceable nuclear warheads. My guess is with the poor security and economic chaos following the collapse of the USSR that was their opportunity to lay handson some of these.



posted on Sep, 22 2006 @ 10:40 AM
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I'm fairly skeptical that Al Qaeda has been able to get it's hands on a nuke - if they had, they would have used it already. No reason to keep a hot potato sitting around when you can use it to kill your enemy NOW.

I am also skeptical that the world's black markets are awash in ex-Russian "loose nukes" for much the same reason - we would have seen one go off by now.

IMHO if terrorists are going to get a nuke, it will come from Pakistan, where many in the national security sector are sympathetic to Al Quadea and it's goals, and where the power of the national government to control it's agencies is in doubt.



posted on Sep, 22 2006 @ 10:50 AM
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Originally posted by hogtie
I think biologicals will be the weapon of choice. Exist in abundance, easy to transport, terror and debilitation factor on the infrastructure is much higher. Release it in a train station or airport, and we do the rest of the work. The question is when.


I'm actually skeptical that Al Qaeda would see value in a bio attack.

Most Islamic terrorists (and terrorists in general throughout modern history) are about the spectacular. The shock value that an explosion has. The sort of slow burn that a bio attack would have, I think, engenders less value to Al Qaeda that a well-placed explosion.

Think about it: Why was the WTC such a high-value target? Because it's an American symbol. Just as the Pentagon. Sometimes I think for terrorists with targets on America -- it's less about body count and more about hitting high profile targets.



posted on Sep, 22 2006 @ 11:00 AM
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al qaida probably can't build a serious nuke, since they have no place to phsyically do this.

Oh wait, Pakistan signed a peace treaty with them and now they can set up shop in waziristan unmolested. (and yet today bush praises this collaborator, idiots).

But even so, seems that working on bio agents and even just regular mustard gas would be a better investment of time.

I do recall that there was a kid a few years ago who collected lots of smoke detectors, and was able to extract and concentrate the Americium used in them. He created a pretty dangerous source of radioactivity. Clearly, anyone could at least do the same, mix it with some explosives, set it off in a city, and watch that city shut down in paroxysms of terror.



posted on Sep, 22 2006 @ 06:23 PM
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al qaida probably cant'td a serious nuke, since they have no place to phsyically do this



I agree even if they got their hands on material I dont think that they would be able to build it well enough to be reliable




A nuke would be far more spectaular than car/truck bombs.


I do realise that my point is it would be alot easier to do, they could do alot more, and would be more provoking as if it happened people would be alot more weary of average passing cars/trucks (especially with Mideastern-looking drivers), they could fill it with explosives to the hilt and it would be very devastating, add some Bio-Chemical agents and you have the public running scared.



posted on Sep, 22 2006 @ 06:44 PM
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Originally posted by marcopolo
I find this topic very frustrating as even though I cannot/will not discount it I find it so hard to believe a terrorist group such as Al Qaeda (ANYKIND) could possibly build a Nuke


The following is something I wrote over a year and a half ago. Let's see if it answers your question:

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

 



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.

 



(That was a year and a half ago... I still wonder the same thing today.)




[edit on 9/22/2006 by thelibra]



posted on Sep, 22 2006 @ 06:58 PM
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thelibra thanks for your very detailed post I will have a look at your link shortly,
but I still believe the "threat" from nukes was the same kindof scaremongering tactics used to start the, WOT, their wont be any Nuclear explosions form "Real" terrorists, possibly "government-related" terrorsit yes.



posted on Sep, 22 2006 @ 07:10 PM
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Originally posted by marcopolo
thelibra thanks for your very detailed post I will have a look at your link shortly,
but I still believe the "threat" from nukes was the same kindof scaremongering tactics...


I appreciate your skepticism, as I am one myself. And while it might or might not be fear mongering, it is, I assure you, completely and utterly possbile. This happened years and years ago, but I suggest you read The Radioactive Boy Scout: (The Frightening True Story of a Whiz Kid and His Homemade Nuclear Reactor)
by Ken Silverstein. I believe I first read about it in Reader's or Harper's, but there's actually a whole book about the kid now. In essence, this Boy Scout made a breeder reactor in his back yard.

So, while you can still be free to wonder if there are people out there who would actually want to detonate a nuke (personally, I'm pretty sure the answer is yes), but an informed mind should have zero illusions about the ease with which one could create a dirty bomb.

But meh... (shrug)... I'm sure that speculation is probably more reliable than fact.



posted on Sep, 22 2006 @ 10:35 PM
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Originally posted by marcopolo
I find this topic very frustrating as even though I cannot/will not discount it I find it so hard to believe a terrorist group such as Al Qaeda (ANYKIND) could possibly build a Nuke, Whats everything been about recently on the news (PRE-Chavez-Speech) ? it was all about Iran and its Nuclear weapons capabilities, we then find out it would take from estimates 5-8 years to build one, so do you still really think that a "Terrorist" group is still capable of detonating a Nuke in the US?

The US is the safest country in the world with the latest technology generally beating any other armies forces hands down, as long as their Government doesnt see any need for war or has some unreasonable plan then the American and worldwide public usually continue to be alot safer.




The Iranian government asserts that the programme's only goal is to develop the capacity for peaceful nuclear power generation, and plans to generate 6000MW of electricity with nuclear power plants by 2010


here it states they hope to have nuclear power by 2010, a while off yet.


Iran Nuclear Programme

[edit on 21-9-2006 by marcopolo]



US is not the safest country in the world, does not neccessarily have the latest tech, and definetley can't beat every army (especially Russia's) hands down.

A nuke would be devastating, but chemical weapons are devastating too. Terrorists can do horrors without nukes, as they have been doing since the beginning of time.



posted on Sep, 23 2006 @ 08:25 AM
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the BBC made a chilling programe a couple of years ago highlighlting the affects a radiolgical dirty bomb would have on London and made it quite clear how devastating and easily this could be achieved, www.bbc.co.uk...



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