AUTHORLangewiesche, William
TITLEHow to Get a Nuclear Bomb
PERIODICAL TITLEAtlantic Monthly
DATE PUBLISHEDDecember 2006
VOLUME NUMBER298
ISSUE NUMBER5
PAGE NUMBERS80-99
ISSN0160-6506
Web Access
Available online from The Atlantic Monthly


This article describes the possibility of terrorists obtaining an intact nuclear weapon or acquiring the requisite materials and constructing a crude nuclear bomb. Interviews with Russian security personnel, a nuclear physicist, U.S. intelligence agents, and smugglers indicate some of the difficulties that would be involved. The author also reports on his visits to the Ozersk nuclear facilities in Russia; to checkpoints on the borders between Georgia and Azerbaijan, a likely route for smuggling highly enriched uranium (HEU) obtained from Russian facilities; and to Bascale in the mountains of eastern Turkey, home to many groups of smugglers. He concludes that acquiring a nuclear weapon would not be easy but it would not be impossible.


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