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"Reducing Nuclear and Radiological Terrorism Threats"

"Reducing Nuclear and Radiological Terrorism Threats"

Institute for Nuclear Materials Management 48th Annual Meeting, Tucson, Arizona, 8-12 July 2007

Conference Paper, Institute for Nuclear Materials Management

July 2007

Authors: Matthew Bunn, Professor of Practice; Co-Principal Investigator, Project on Managing the Atom, Tom Bielefeld, Former Associate, Project on Managing the Atom (MTA), September 2011–June 2014; Former Research Fellow, MTA, 2008–2011; Former Research Fellow, International Security Program/MTA, 2006–2008

Belfer Center Programs or Projects: International Security; Managing the Atom; Science, Technology, and Public Policy



Urgent actions are needed to prevent a nuclear or radiological 9/11.  Terrorists are actively seeking nuclear weapons and Radiological Dispersal Devices (RDDs) and the materials to make them.  There are scores of sites where the essential ingredients of nuclear weapons exist, in dozens of countries worldwide.  There are thousands of sites worldwide where radiological materials exist.  Many of these sites are not sufficiently secured to defeat the kinds of threats that terrorists and criminals have demonstrated they can pose.  A dangerous gap remains between the urgency of the threat of nuclear and radiological terrorism and the scope and pace of the U.S. and world response.  While the gap has narrowed significantly in recent years, much more needs to be done.  This paper describes the nuclear and radiological terrorism threats, analyzes the actions taken so far to address these threats, and recommends further actions going forward.


For more information about this publication please contact the MTA Program Assistant at 617-495-4219.

For Academic Citation:

Bunn, Matthew and Tom Bielefeld. "Reducing Nuclear and Radiological Terrorism Threats." Paper presented at the Institute for Nuclear Materials Management 48th Annual Meeting, Tucson, AZ, July 2007.

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