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Can Terrorists Build a Nuclear Bomb?

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the the-lack-of-shrill-is-appreciated dept.

Politics 737

kjh1 writes "Popular Science is just chock full of good articles this month. One in-depth article addresses the question many are afraid to acknowledge is a possibility - can terrorists acquire the raw materials and then deliver a nuclear bomb? A good read that explains the difficulty in doing all of the above, while pointing out calmly that it is still possible." From the article: "Most experts with whom I spoke said that a nuclear terror attack is plausible but not inevitable, and that there's no way to precisely gauge the odds. 'I don't think the public ought to lose a lot of sleep over the issue,' says nuclear physicist Tom Cochran of the Natural Resources Defense Council. "

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Well.... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11711660)

With the help of Google, anything is possible! How to build a nuclear bomb [google.com] Complete with book search!

Re:Well.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11711766)

I think Yahoo's results a tad better: http://search.yahoo.com/search?p=how+to+build+a+nu clear+bomb [yahoo.com]

Re:Well.... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11711823)

Actually the Whitehouse [whitehouse.com] has an official statement about this.

Nice troll :) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11711850)

This is whitehouse.COM, the pron mag.

whitehouse.GOV, is the presidents site.

Re:Well.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11711783)

If they (Americans) could do it in the 1940's then why not now :)

Re:Well.... (4, Funny)

N Monkey (313423) | more than 9 years ago | (#11711808)

With the help of Google, anything is possible! How to build a nuclear bomb Complete with book search!

Don't panic!

Apparently U2's instructions [amazon.co.uk] to dismantle one should you find one are selling like hotcakes all over the world. :)

Echelon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11711921)

Kids, don't click this link if you don't want to appear in CIA/NSA/.. files !

The curve of binding energy (4, Informative)

2.7182 (819680) | more than 9 years ago | (#11711662)

I highly recommend this book by John McPhee from 30 years ago. He even discusses the destruction of the world trade center.

Re:The curve of binding energy (5, Informative)

Feminist-Mom (816033) | more than 9 years ago | (#11711720)

Yeah, this book is mostly about Ted Talyor who used to build really small bombs for the US government and then quit. He was really into these issues years ago and no one listened to him, although McPhee had the insight to write a book about him. His point about the WTC is that a really small nuclear bomb could knock one of them over. I guess we found out that it was easier than having a nuclear bomb.

Re:The curve of binding energy (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11711882)

Why is the parent modded down ? Because of her name ? That's so messed up.

Even easier if (1)

wiredog (43288) | more than 9 years ago | (#11711761)

you have enriched uranium. Then you don't have to worry about precise detonators, imploding shells, etc. Just slap two pieces together fast enough by, say, firing a near critical slug of U down a barrel through a ring of near critical U. That's how we did it over Hiroshima.

Re:Even easier if (2, Informative)

iggymanz (596061) | more than 9 years ago | (#11711930)

hah, no, those WW II devices were quite complicated and did have precision detonators, initiators, precision machined components, etc. there's some old interesting books on the construction of them that you can find in university libraries. Even in this day & age, it would take the resources of a government to duplicate the effort. Just getting enough u235 in one place only gets you alot of contamination, heat, radiation, etc.

Only if (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11711669)

Their name is MuhammadGyver.

Re:Only if (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11711692)

You stole my porn name!

Only the incredibly naive... (4, Insightful)

rah1420 (234198) | more than 9 years ago | (#11711672)

... would think that the possibility of a terrorist WMD is far-fetched.

Lose sleep? No. Sleep with one eye open? Damn right.

Re:Only the incredibly naive... (4, Insightful)

JossiRossi (840900) | more than 9 years ago | (#11711707)

Why sleep with an eye open? It's not like you'll catch the guy planting the bomb in your bedroom. The honest truth is that the average person will have no oppourtunities to prevent an attack like this, it's up to our governements almost soley. The best you can do is take note and report really wierd suspicious behavior. Other than that sleep well, might be your last.

Re:Only the incredibly naive... (3, Insightful)

tuckerteeth (560608) | more than 9 years ago | (#11711757)

And while we all get distracted by Iran's domestic nuclear program Korea is chugging nukes out! C'mon Neo-Cons where's yer balls for a REAL fight?

Re:Only the incredibly naive... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11711770)

Lose sleep? No. Sleep with one eye open? Damn right.

And what are you going to be able to do about it?

IMHO, if you're not in the Department of Homeland Security or a similar position where your influence could make a difference, it's not worth spending any cycles on at all. This goes for the "Threat Level" as well.

Of course, I live near Washington D.C., so maybe I'm just deluding myself.

Re:Only the incredibly naive... (5, Funny)

fireboy1919 (257783) | more than 9 years ago | (#11711810)

No, 'cause your average terrorist is not terribly bright. It is likely that they steal some weapons-grade plutonium, and then pay a scientist to build a nuclear bomb.

Then the scientist will inevitably give them a bomb casing made of old pinball machine parts, and uses the plutonium to build a time machine.

It's a classic scenario. What we really have to worry about is going back in time and accidentally doing something that makes us cease to exist.

Re:Only the incredibly naive... (0)

DenDave (700621) | more than 9 years ago | (#11711940)

Terroist: You make big bomb for Mullah Hashish!
Scientist: Sure thing buddy.. lets see what we got here...
Scientist pulls a wookie out of his sleeve...



wait a minute here!!! this is ridiculous!! Presentators voice: Yep...

Re:Only the incredibly naive... (1)

seti (74097) | more than 9 years ago | (#11711956)

No, 'cause your average terrorist is not terribly bright.

Underestimating an enemy is guaranteed downfall.

Re:Only the incredibly naive... (1, Funny)

Nuffsaid (855987) | more than 9 years ago | (#11711923)

At least, you'll save the other eye from the blast!

I agree (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11711679)

With nuclear weapons the sleeping isn't the problem, its the waking up.

Join the GNAA! Nuc'em! (-1, Offtopic)

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Good Question... (1)

gowen (141411) | more than 9 years ago | (#11711683)

That seems like a good question.
a nuclear terror attack is plausible but not inevitable, and that there's no way to precisely gauge the odds.
However, if the answer you come up with is this one -- i.e. "erm, maybe, we don't really know" -- it's likely that it wasn't as good a question as it first appeared.

dirty bombs (4, Insightful)

stubear (130454) | more than 9 years ago | (#11711685)

I think people are far more worried about the radiological and economic effects of a dirty bomb than a mushroom cloud vaporizing New York or San Francisco. The article should have discussed how easy it is to build a dirty bomb and the effects it will have on the area it's detonated in.

Re:dirty bombs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11711724)

Do we even know what happens when a dirty bomb goes off? Yes, I know it's a normal explosive device laced with nuclear material, but what does that mean in terms of harmfulness?

Re:dirty bombs (3, Informative)

brianlawson (675334) | more than 9 years ago | (#11711805)

I get the magazine and did read TFA, and it had a sidebar section about dirty bombs. If you click on the link in the post, scroll down and take a look at the "Dirty Destruction" link.

Re:dirty bombs (4, Informative)

stubear (130454) | more than 9 years ago | (#11711948)

Well, there you go. Here's the article for the rest of us to read:

Dirty Destruction
A dirty bomb produces no nuclear chain reaction, no mushroom cloud. Yet its aftereffects could be devastating

By Michael Crowley

Although experts debate the ease of building a crude nuclear bomb, no one disputes that it is far easier to build a simpler weapon known as a dirty bomb--a conventional bomb that scatters radioactive material. A dirty bomb produces no nuclear chain reaction, no mushroom cloud. Yet its aftereffects could be devastating. In a 2002 computer simulation run by the Federation of American Scientists, a single foot-long piece of radioactive cobalt of the type commonly used in food-irradiation plants was blown up with TNT in lower Manhattan. The simulation found that a 300-square-block area would become as contaminated as the permanently closed zone around the Chernobyl nuclear plant, and that cancer caused by residual radiation could be expected to kill one in 10 residents over the next 40 years. Under current U.S. safety standards, the entire island would have to be evacuated.

Unlike a nuclear bomb, a dirty bomb can be made from radioactive materials such as cesium, strontium and iridium, commonly found in hospitals and construction sites. Experts fret about security at such sites, but the Nuclear Regulatory Commission says that because these materials decay quickly and only negligible amounts have been lost or stolen in the U.S., it's doubtful that terrorists could have accumulated enough to make even a single dirty bomb.

Dangerous amounts of material have gone missing elsewhere, however, and the U.S. is working with the International Atomic Energy Agency to inventory existing sources and, when possible, remove or lock them up. It's a monumental task, but the possibility of Manhattan becoming another Chernobyl makes it essential.

Re:dirty bombs (2, Interesting)

b-baggins (610215) | more than 9 years ago | (#11711822)

The terror factor would be through the roof. The actual damage would very minor. Chernobyl was a incredibly HUGE dirty bomb. It killed a few hundred in the immediate vicinity, and may kill a few hundred more in twenty years from cancer. But the hysteria it produced was off the scale. People in Italy, thousands of miles away were in a panic because a radioactive cloud about as powerful as solar radiation in Denver on a sunny day was heading for them.

Hysteria? (3, Informative)

Angstroem (692547) | more than 9 years ago | (#11711973)

But the hysteria it produced was off the scale. People in Italy, thousands of miles away were in a panic because a radioactive cloud about as powerful as solar radiation in Denver on a sunny day was heading for them.
You, of course, are aware that there's a difference between solar radiation and radioactive material which settles down and takes decades to decay.

After the cloud arrived, there were areas in Germany (esp. Bavaria) where you shouldn't eat (wild) mushrooms and venison anymore because of the radiation. And even today, almost 19 years after, it is not wise to eat too much of certain mushroom types. The joys of half-life.

If that's what you call hysteria, I'd like to get your definition of severity.

Clean up costs are an issue. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11711985)

The cost of cleaning up, say lower Manhattan, would be prohibative, so they basicall changed the allowable residual radiation. It's now allowed to be something like 1000 dental x-rays a year. 1/3 of exposed people will get cancer within 20 years. But we're talking about lower Manhattan, the financial district, Wall Street brokers. It's a risk I can live with.

Scared (2, Funny)

teiresias (101481) | more than 9 years ago | (#11711688)

'I don't think the public ought to lose a lot of sleep over the issue,' says nuclear physicist Tom Cochran of the Natural Resources Defense Council. "

Sleep! No time for that now after that article. Thanks a fucking bunch Popsci. As if my dreams weren't f'd up enough.

Re:Scared (1)

Capt James McCarthy (860294) | more than 9 years ago | (#11711821)

Tom Cochran doesn't lose sleep. He lives in a target rich area of Arizona.

Do they need to? (5, Interesting)

vonoech (605198) | more than 9 years ago | (#11711702)

If a terrorist group is able to build a dirty bomb that causes mass casualties why would they want a nuke?

Re:Do they need to? (2, Insightful)

WoodieR (860635) | more than 9 years ago | (#11711795)

correct - easier and cheaper, and gets better results - from THEIR perspective ...

Re:Do they need to? (2, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 9 years ago | (#11711797)

You can get discarded radioactive materials from places like junkyards. There are even incidents of people PLAYING with radioactive materials they find in old medical equipment.

This article completely glosses over all of that.

Re:Do they need to? (2, Insightful)

KyleJacobson (788441) | more than 9 years ago | (#11711831)

So they can say "We have a nuke" More people are scared of nukes because they are nukes...

It's like me saying "I overclocked my 4 gig processor to 5" Do I need it? no, it's just to say it and sound special

Re:Do they need to? (4, Insightful)

Aardpig (622459) | more than 9 years ago | (#11711868)

If a terrorist group is able to build a dirty bomb that causes mass casualties why would they want a nuke?

Because dirty bombs aren't designed to cause mass casualties. Their main effect is fear; with the popular in terror of anything 'nuclear', they are ideal for cowing a whole population. Hell, you don't even need to detonate one; just the thought of a dirty bomb is good enough to terrorize people. The current mindset in the USA is ample evidence of this.

They can also render an (albeit-small) area of real estate uninhabitable for a lengthy period of time. This of course can lead to a significant amount of economic fallout.

Re:Do they need to? (1)

plaiddragon (20154) | more than 9 years ago | (#11711883)

If a terrorist group is able to build a dirty bomb that causes mass casualties why would they want a nuke?


Do you think a terrorist group would rather say "We dirty bombed the Americans" or "We NUKED the Americans!!!"

Re:Do they need to? (1)

DenDave (700621) | more than 9 years ago | (#11711988)

I don't think anyone would be left would be saying that.
I think 60 seconds after detonation the US would be in snapcount and about 33 minutes after that 45 MIRV's would do to the arabs what I just did to my neighbours windows XP system...

Re:Do they need to? (1)

j0shwalk3r (782780) | more than 9 years ago | (#11711922)

I'm not exactly sure where you get your info from. A dirty bomb is not nearly as bad as it sounds. First of all, it isn't easy getting a hold of radioactive material. And even if someone could build one of these, they still need an excellent target to get maximum dispersal without dilluting it so much that it is not effective.

Also, radiation exposure is not lethal, it causes radiation poisoning. If severe enough and gone untreated, then people could die. However, there are drugs to give to victims of radiaton poisoning (I believe families that live near nuke plants are given these as a precaution). The sickness itself doesn't come from the radiation, but the body trying to filter all the cells that have been killed as a result of radiation (particularly gamma radiation).

Now, being exposed would also put people at a higher risk of cancer in the future. But I don't think there are terrorists out there plotting "I will release fire on the Great Satan... then a small percentage of the infidels will eventually die from cancer resulting from mutated cells! Mwahahahahahaha!"

Remember (1)

CDOS_CDOS run (669823) | more than 9 years ago | (#11711704)

Knowing how and being able to obtain materials, supplies and equipment, and follow the procedures correctly are much different beasts.

Well... (3, Funny)

supmylO (773375) | more than 9 years ago | (#11711705)

If 30 kilos of Plutonium is enough to build one, I'd say they have a strong case...

I think it would be possible to build (1)

dmouritsendk (321667) | more than 9 years ago | (#11711709)

But I think they would have big problems deploying it.

Re:I think it would be possible to build (1)

jeff4747 (256583) | more than 9 years ago | (#11711767)

But I think they would have big problems deploying it.

Not so difficult when you've got a large cadre of people willing to blow themselves up for the cause.

Re:I think it would be possible to build (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11711814)

"Someone set us up the bomb!!!"

Right... (1)

lbmouse (473316) | more than 9 years ago | (#11711738)

'I don't think the public ought to lose a lot of sleep over the issue,' says nuclear physicist Tom Cochran of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Because if it goes off in your neighborhood there is very little [hps.org] you can do about it anyway.

Can terrorists build a nuclear bomb? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11711740)

Does the pope shit in the woods?

Nut Job States (Iran) (1, Flamebait)

wheelbarrow (811145) | more than 9 years ago | (#11711742)

There is a blurring line between 'terrorists' and the countries run by lunatics who actively enable terrorists. The most likely short term scenario is that Iran will provide the infrastructure and financing necessary to build an atomic weapon and use it in the next 20 years. Iran may not hand it over to terrorists to use, but they will use it to accomplish goals they share with today's terrorists. Those goals are the establishment or protection of nation states built on criminal implementations of fundamental Islam and the destruction of the jewish state of Israel.

Re:Nut Job States (Iran) (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11712008)

It was a white (christians) which developed this technique, it was a white (christians) whom made lots of money selling the materials and know-how, and now you are saying some arabs are a danger to world safety????

You've been indoctrinated in a way the Nazi's would be proud of!

Go and build your Fourth Reich,
I'll be there to break it down:)

Have a nice day.

More likely to have one slip out (1)

johnny cashed (590023) | more than 9 years ago | (#11711744)

Wow, with so many countries producing nukes, I thinks the biggest threat is extra warheads being made with out the critical elements (the plutonium or enriched uranium) and these warhead "kits" getting loose. all it would take is plutonium made to critical dimensions, some HMX, maybe some RDX, and you have a nuke.

So far so good... (2, Insightful)

vlad_grigorescu (804005) | more than 9 years ago | (#11711745)

30 kilos of plutonium... check.... a nice book telling them what areas of their "alternative energy department" they need to improve... check....

mod parent up (1)

bach37 (602070) | more than 9 years ago | (#11711919)

No kidding. We already tell the bad guys how to pull something off in all our our US action movies. This is all we need now- tell them our weaknesses, publically. Good grief.

State sponsors? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11711747)

This asumes that China, or other powers at be are not helping the terrorest out.

Well... (0)

MrCobaltBlue (802735) | more than 9 years ago | (#11711748)

The terrorists already have nuclear bombs... I mean Hell, we have how many of them?

Ben Af-Hack the ultimate bomb builder. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11711751)

If Ben Af-Hack can build a Nuclear Bomb with the help of leftist holleywood type producers, it can be so hard to do with a handycam and snort of that good old tasteing wahabism.

Please dont sit on the nuclear weapon.

Hmmm (1)

jester22c (613967) | more than 9 years ago | (#11711752)

Simplistic nuclear balistic capabilities and advanced ICBM nuclear warheads are seperated by quite a large skill level in design and deployment.

My point being that I think they could get away with a small bomb, but if they were planning to launch one at us... KaBooooM right into the ocean. We have more sattelites than anyone :)

Re:Hmmm (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 9 years ago | (#11711924)

Simplistic nuclear balistic capabilities and advanced ICBM nuclear warheads are seperated by quite a large skill level in design and deployment.

Launching a missile at intercontinental distances, especially with any accuracy, is out of the question except for a very few countries. US/UK/Russia/France/maybe China in a few years. Shorter range (100-200 miles) is a different story.
And smuggling one into the country is quite another. How much of the drug trade from South America is intercepted? 10%?

My point being that I think they could get away with a small bomb, but if they were planning to launch one at us... KaBooooM right into the ocean. We have more sattelites than anyone :)

And we're going to intercept it with what? The ABM system that isn't tested or built yet?

The coral link (2, Informative)

Laurentiu (830504) | more than 9 years ago | (#11711764)

The original article is already sluggish, so there [nyud.net] .

Official Response from the Gerbil Liberation Front (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11711777)

As official spokesrodent (honorary) for the People's Gerbil Liberation Front, I wish to inform you that yes, we have nuclear weapons capability, thanks to this gloriously informative article. While not seeing ourselves as a 'terrorist' organisation, some of us are a bit partial to a spot of shock and awe.

So, we make the following demands. Either the world gives us (little finger to mouth) one treellion dollars, or we blow up the entirety of Belgium! Ha!

Yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11711785)

Can terrorists build a nuclear bomb? Yes, we [freespeech.org] can [wikipedia.org] . And as a patriot I say it with shame.

Que the "bomb them" jokes ... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11711790)

You Euro-peons and Canidiots (intentional mispellings) are so darn funny!

Cat amongst the kitchen (1, Insightful)

cL0h (624108) | more than 9 years ago | (#11711794)

Ex Soviet troops guarding stockpiles of nuclear arsenal when the Second Superpower collapsed chose to supplement their severance pay with government equipment. I was in China in November 2001 and reliably informed that I could go up to the Russian border and purchase plutoniom which was readily available on the black market. I visited the largest mosque in China during my time there and wondered what would happen if I put a small bomb together, blew up the mosque and claimed responsibility for the IRA in conjunction with ETA and Greenpeace. It just seems so easy for a single person or small group to alter the course of world history. Which is why personally I believe what's necessary when dealling with issues such as global terrorism like this is moral responsiblity and not shows of force.

yu0 Fai7 It (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11711800)

conversation and achievements that [samag.co8] in the look at the NIGGER community the rain..we can be o8 make loud noises everything else

Sure they could (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11711803)


they just need the A-team, a disused barn, welding equipment, and a selection of assorted scrap they "just have lying around", oh and it must be driveable by BA

Another Possibility (0, Flamebait)

Winkhorst (743546) | more than 9 years ago | (#11711815)

A much more practical possibility is that a current or future nuclear power would see an advantage in giving a group of terrorists a nuclear bomb, either because thay sympathized with their cause or, on the contrary, because they saw an advantage to having a much scarier enemy to hang their power hungry hats on. I could certainly see the current reactionary Israeli administration doing this to maintain their grip on power, and I could even see old George W, the man who "won the trifecta" when the WTC was hit, trying to maintain his own grip on power by nuclear-arming his favorite non-Christian boogie men.

Re:Another Possibility (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11711933)

Nuts?

And now, a message from our sponsors (0, Flamebait)

Stiletto (12066) | more than 9 years ago | (#11711819)

US Media to citizens:

"Not worried yet? Why not??? There is plenty to be afraid of, like tururists, nookular bombs, dirty bombs, Ay-rabs, tururists, environmentalists, communists, Eye-rackees, protesters... Oh, did we mention tururists yet?? There's a big, SCAAAARY world out there, filled with scary non-American people!"

"We in the US media wish to shield you from this world. We bring you only news stories from your own country, unless the story furthers the goal of making you even more freightened. Besides, who wants any real news about other countries? They don't even have NASCAR in those strange lands! Do you really care about what happens in a place without NASCAR, unless they are IMMINENTLY ready to attack! Like SHARKS, and ASBESTOS, and POWER LINES!!! News at 11!!!!!!"

Re:And now, a message from our sponsors (1)

Winkhorst (743546) | more than 9 years ago | (#11711849)

Somebody mod this up a few points. It is dead on true.

Presenting.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11711906)

The Power of Nightmares [informatio...house.info]

BBC TV [bbc.co.uk] run through some ideas, also check the Open University Reith lectures [open2.net] on "Exploring Fear"

Asking the wrong questions... (3, Insightful)

Jack Taylor (829836) | more than 9 years ago | (#11711826)

The real question isn't whether terrorists could build a nuclear bomb, but whether they would want to. As long as the US can threaten smaller countries with the "invade first and ask questions later" approach to foreign policy, the fear will breed opponents to the US. The stronger the fear is, the likelier it is to fool individuals into thinking they can solve things by killing US citizens. The most effective way to combat terrorism is to stop people from being afraid, not by rounding up terrorists that are already known. America is channeling all its energy into short-term solutions and forgetting the long-term ones.

Re:Asking the wrong questions... (1)

b-baggins (610215) | more than 9 years ago | (#11711887)

the fear will breed opponents to the US. The stronger the fear is, the likelier it is to fool individuals into thinking they can solve things by killing US citizens.

You win the prize for the greatest misunderstanding of human nature. Congratulations.

Re:Asking the wrong questions... (1)

Jack Taylor (829836) | more than 9 years ago | (#11711982)

Actually, no. Do contented people become terrorists? I think not. What is the ratio of terrorists in poor countries compared to those in rich countries? Very high. Which country do these people see as warmongering and hating all arabs/Islam? I'll give you a clue: it's not Finland.

Homer S. (1)

tommyth (848039) | more than 9 years ago | (#11711829)

Nuculer. It's pronounced nuculer.

U-235 (1)

buddhaunderthetree (318870) | more than 9 years ago | (#11711837)

Ok, one of you hard science types will have to check me on this one but isn't U-235 incredibly chemically toxic. So much so that Pu is easier to work with?

Tom Cochran the singer? (1)

jav1231 (539129) | more than 9 years ago | (#11711842)

'I don't think the public ought to lose a lot of sleep over the issue,' says nuclear physicist Tom Cochran of the Natural Resources Defense Council. Then he turned to the camera and said, "Lunatic Fringe! We all know you're out there!"

Creating a more distributed country (1)

G4from128k (686170) | more than 9 years ago | (#11711852)

Although terrorists might be able to build a bomb they can probably only build a, as in one, bomb. They are unlikely to be able to build and deploy many bombs. That is why one of the best defenses is to create a more distributed economic infrastructure.

I fear that NYC is a dangerous single-point-of-failure waiting to happen. Decentralizing the economic might of the country (reducing the number of company HQs in NYC and relocating financial networks to outlying areas) would reduce the magnitude of any event.

We already have most of the marketing executives in NYC, now if we could only convince the telephone sanitizers to move there.....

Re:Creating a more distributed country (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 9 years ago | (#11711993)

Decentralizing the economic might of the country (reducing the number of company HQs in NYC and relocating financial networks to outlying areas) would reduce the magnitude of any event.

The extreme centralization is an artifact of the pre-Internet days. It will eventually pass. Offshoring of support and SW tasks is just the first wave.

No Sleep (1)

gandell (827178) | more than 9 years ago | (#11711857)

'I don't think the public ought to lose a lot of sleep over the issue,' says nuclear physicist Tom Cochran of the Natural Resources Defense Council. "

Mr. Cochran then proceeded to run back into his armored bunker as he chuckled to himself "Would you like to play a game?".

Can they build nukes? (1, Flamebait)

generalleoff (760847) | more than 9 years ago | (#11711858)

If they are for you they are patriots. If they are aganst you they are terrorists.

So can they make nukes? All depends on what part of the world you live in and what side of the coin you picked.

Or is this question based on the stereotypical version of the word terrorist?

That depends (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11711878)

A civilian could build a bomb. It's not complicated and it's not "secret". However, getting the fuel for the bomb is an issue, safely handling it another. This shit ain't funny..

Furthermore one wonders whether a terrorist would really want to use as there is no way in hell he could move it around. A protable device is well out of the possibilities, unless there was a severly professional team of engineers involved and a shit load of money. So perhaps Bill Gates could muster the necessary folks to make a "warhead" but then still he would need to move it around without getting attention.

What worries me in this whole debate on terror and mass destruction is that it seems to lose the essence of terror, a terrorist is trying to scare you and me so we would scare our elected officials. If they simply eradicate you and me then their only future is that of retaliation. Surely that is nonsensical. In europe the current attitude towars the war on terror is one "not my backyard" and hence we don't get too involved, if however some fruitcake were to detonate a 1 KT device in, say, washington DC, I think public sentiment would quickly become a mass hysteria (uncontrolled emotion..) demanding the extermination of any and all potential threats. Surely no terrorist sees this as an option. Perhaps a madman would but a madman is not able to muster the necessary forces.. I mean even after 911 we haven't seen any significant threat in terms of mass destruction, why? Madmen can't muster? Or our security folks have whacked them all? I am more partial to the argument that mass destruction doesn't scare the population, it merely mobilizes them for the next genocidal police state. And yes, I consider this a warning to radicals and potential terrorists, don't even think about using WMD, what I have outlined will transpire and you will not see the dawn.

Terrorists? (2, Insightful)

fforw (116415) | more than 9 years ago | (#11711880)

Only terrorists can build a nuclear bomb.

What would you use such a powerfull bomb for?
To prepare occupation?

The only thing such a bomb is useful for is to create fear, terror in your enemies' hearts.

Re:Terrorists? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11711967)

Um...no, dipshit. The primary use for such a bomb is to blow the enemy to Timbuktu.

Re:Terrorists? (4, Insightful)

HeghmoH (13204) | more than 9 years ago | (#11712006)

The only two times a nuclear bomb was used in anger, they were both used to prepare the way for the surrender and occupation of the target. Until and unless some evidence presents itself to the contrary, I will have to say that you are wrong.

blah blah blah booga booga (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11711888)

blah blah terrorists blah blah communists blah blah osama blah blah mccarthy blah blah booga booga blah blah freedom blac blah liberty blah blah 9/11

ever get the notion that somebody somewhere wants you to be scared of terrorists and that threat of terrorism is actually coming from your own government (and also as a consequence of its actions) instead of any "terrorist"?

doesn't anyone realise that any increased "terrorist" threat is MAGNIFGIED by your actions as opposed to mitigated.

doesn't anyone realise that their government probably knows this

doesnt anyone realise that its not the "terrorists" that are causing you to have your "freedoms" removed, its actually the governments, in response to the increased threat as a result of their own fucking stupid actions?

jesus people, take a fucking lesson in risk management.

Build vs Buy (1)

prakslash (681585) | more than 9 years ago | (#11711898)


Most people in the Defense and Military sectors around the world say that terrorists or any small nation wanting nuclear capability will NOT build a nuclear bomb. It is much easier, cleaner and way cheaper to buy it from a willing seller.

Nuclear facilities attack more likely... (1)

locarecords.com (601843) | more than 9 years ago | (#11711905)

Assessing the risk of terrorist attacks on nuclear facilities In recent years there has been increased awareness of the risk of terrorist attacks on nuclear facilities, which could have widespread consequences for the environment and for public health.

This is an interesting 148 page report about the risk of terrorist attacks on nuclear facilities in the UK [parliament.uk]

Or the quick four page summary [parliament.uk] ;-)

Interesting the worries this report generated as politicians and commentators thought it might be a how-to guide for budding t3rrorists...

Who cares if they COULD (1)

vasqzr (619165) | more than 9 years ago | (#11711913)


I'd be more worried about them trying and then causing a huge radiation leak or something. I'd much rather be vaporized in a nuclear blast than die of cancer.

Why would they build one when they could BUY one. Could they? That's the real threat.

War on Terror v. War in Iraq (1)

d-rock (113041) | more than 9 years ago | (#11711920)

We're spending a whole lot of money in Iraq every day and have found no fissile material. How much better would we be doing in the war on terror if all of the money and resources were simply being used to ferret out terrorists and stopping them from obtaining the materials they need? I'm not saying Saddam wasn't a bad man who needed to be ousted, it justs seems like he should have been pretty far down the list of objectives.

Derek

I won't be losing any sleep (4, Insightful)

s7uar7 (746699) | more than 9 years ago | (#11711926)

There's a lot of things we know terrorists can do - blowing up trains, flying planes into buildings, releasing nerve gas on the underground - because they've already done it. And look how often that happens. The chances of dying in a terrorist attack are about 10,000 times smaller than dying in a car accident.

Best Defense: Westernization (1, Insightful)

reporter (666905) | more than 9 years ago | (#11711929)

Information cannot be stopped. Knowledge about how to build a nuclear bomb eventually will spread to even terrorists. Well funded terrorists with friends in oil-rich states in the Middle East also have money to acquire all the parts to build a weapon.

What is the defense against the use of a nuclear weapon by a terrorist? The answer is not a missile shield. Even if the shield is 80% effective, one successful nuclear bomb would be devastating.

The best defense is, in fact, to Westernize the globe so that everyone joins the Western world. For example, if Middle Easterners accept Western values, then they will value human rights, democracy, etc. If the most pressing issue of the day in Syrian become "Gay Marriage: Yes or No?" instead of "Suicide Bomber: Here We Go", then the world is safe. A Westernized Damascus itself would hunt down any nutcases trying to build a nuclear weapon.

I'm not trying to be a troll, but Western culture is the finest in the world. A Western acquaintance who adopted a Korean orphan is proof of the compassion and goodness of Western values. That Korean orphan, shunned and left to die in Korea, eventually attended MIT.

The women in the Middle East are even worse off. The brutal treatment of women in the Middle East speaks volumes about Middle Eastern culture.

how's your plutonium today (1)

ruxxell (819349) | more than 9 years ago | (#11711951)

i don't really know about this one. be prepared for this response to kind of go all over the place (as that's how my mind works)

i can remember in the wake of the 9-11 attacks, someone asked a similar question of the taliban. reporters found a guy willing to talk to them and asked them something along the lines of 'hey, you got any plans to make a nuclear weapon?' and the taliban guy replied "dood, we can't even make GLASS. nevermind a nuclear weapon". then he called him an infidel and made that high pitched warcry. haha just kidding.

but nuclear weapons. plans for it are all over the internet, am i right? you'd think that if someone were going to do it, they would have done it by now. if someone were going to light one off, they probably would have done it by now. the way i tend to deal with this fear is to just assume it will never happen. and if i am proven wrong, well, i won't have all that much time to lament my incorrect prediction, will i?

i can remember some shitty television version of "timecop" where some guy went back to try and get hitler the plans for the bomb, and it was on a laptop, and the timecops were like "oh snap, they've got plans for the bomb". i think it takes more than just a laptop and some plans to pull it together.

maybe if we are lucky doc brown will trade some terrorists a suitcase full of old pinball parts for delorean modifications. wooord.

----
when this baby hits 88 miles per hour, you're going to see some serious shit

Yes they can (2, Interesting)

pbaer (833011) | more than 9 years ago | (#11711959)

Interesting enough I'm doing a paper on this. What it basically comes down to is can they gain nuclear materials? They can thanks to the disarment of nuclear weapons. 80ish cases of soviet nukes gone missing. Quite a few scientists were stealing small amounts of nuclear materials and selling them. A few were caught but not all. Saddam Hussein has bought dud nukes from South Africa and another country (I think Russia or N. Korea). It's only a matter of time until he gets the real thing. A of couple of Russian hunters have ran into discarded nuclear batteries.

Unfortunately this is a preventable catastrophe but one we're not doing enough about (N. Korea). If you want to learn more I reccomend watching the PBS documentry "Avoiding Armageddon".

That should not be the question (1)

scenestar (828656) | more than 9 years ago | (#11711961)

The question should be WHEN wll they have built it and against WHO will it be used(america most likely)

America should stop medling in the middle east,They know nothing of the culture and religion there.

ANY attempt of bringing any form of ANGLO SAXON culture there is futile.

If for some odd reason Iran would takeover the USA you wouldnt like it if someone forced some weird culture on you, now do you

dont immidiatly label me as flamebait, but try to imagine it. Instead of seeing ourselves as cultural elitists we should take in account that we have sdifferent standards then others.

Building a NUKE (1)

manon (112081) | more than 9 years ago | (#11711976)

Building a nuclear bomb is pretty easy when you have the right stuff. The only thing that is hard to get is the Uranium-235. Once you have that, further building is a piece of cake (in a lab). You need two chunks of the uranium that fit together. Best way is a sphere, cut in half with on one half, in the middle, a topped piramid sticking out. On the other half the exact same piramid cut out, so the two pieces fit together. Behind one of the pieces you place some explosives so that piece will be lauched with great force into the other piece. Within 1*10E-12 seconds, induced fission will blast everything away. You'll feel the effect at about the same time :)
Do not try this at home kids, leave it to Donald Rumsfeld.

hey, US! want safety? THEN STOP PISSING PEOPLE OFF (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11711981)

jesus dammit. stop threatening and slaughtering people and they might just get to like you.
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