Questions

1. How much highly enriched uranium is necessary to build a simple nuclear bomb?

2. Were drawings of crude nuclear devices found by CNN in Kabul, Afghanistan in 2001?

3. In describing a nuclear terrorist attack, who said: "It will happen. It's inevitable. I don't see any way that it won't happen?"

4. Have complete instructions on how to make a thermonuclear device ever been published?

5. Where could someone get the material needed to create a portable nuclear weapon?

6. How much highly enriched uranium is there in the world that could be used for creating small portable nuclear weapons?

7. What are the odds a nuclear device will be used with terrorist intent in the U.S. in the next five years?

8. If terrorists transported a simple nuclear device in a van and detonated it, how much destruction would there be in a major city?

Answers

1. To build a simple portable weapon, only 15 to 55 pounds of highly enriched uranium is needed. 15 pounds of highly enriched uranium would fit into a coffee cup.
See: ABC Investigative Unit 10/6/05, The ABC News Nuclear Smuggling Experiment 9/02.

2. Drawings of crude nuclear devices were found in Kabul homes, including the home of an al-Qaeda leader.
See: CNN Breaking News, "CNN Discovers al Qaeda's Blueprints for Bombs", 06/10/2002.

3. Warren Buffet, a well-known successful investor and philanthropist.
See: 2002 guardian Award Winner Predicts the Future, http://lifeboat.com/ex/guardian2002.

4. A "how-to" article was published in 1979 in a US magazine. It's now on the internet. James Schlesinger, the Secretary of Energy at that time, requested the federal court to suppress the publication because the Defense Department would classify it as "Top Secret". His request was denied.
See: Graham Allison. "Nuclear Terrorism: The Ultimate Preventable Catastrophe", 2004, www.nuclearterror.org.

5. Raw materials to make a small portable nuclear weapon could be obtained from research reactors, medical isotope reactors and propulsion reactors.
See: NTI, Nuclear Terrorism Tutorial.

6. There are over 4,078,000 pounds of HEU in the world, which is enough to build tens of thousands of small portable nuclear weapons.
See: Mohamed ElBaradei and Jonas Gahr Store. "How the World can Combat Nuclear Terrorism." International Atomic Energy Agency. Bulletin 48/1, 2006.

7. A 2005 survey of national security analysts, as reported in USA Today, set the odds at 50% that an attack will occur in the next five years.
See: USA Today, "Study: 50% Chance of a Major Attack in Next 5 years", 6/22/05.

8. Detonation of a small portable nuclear weapon in a major city could result in an explosion equal to that of Hiroshima. For example, if detonated in the heart of New York City, all of lower Manhattan would be obliterated and hundreds of thousands of people would be killed. With Wall Street vaporized, the economic infrastructure of the world would collapse. Utilities and communications systems would be non-existent, transportation would be impossible, and rescue efforts insurmountable.
See: Council on Foreign Relations. "Responding to Nuclear Attacks", 1/13/06, www.cfr.org; Graham Allison. "Nuclear Terrorism: The Ultimate Preventable Catastrophe", 2004, www.nuclearterror.org.

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