AUTHORColl, Steve
TITLEThe Unthinkable: Can the United States be Made Safe from Nuclear Terrorism
PERIODICAL TITLEThe New Yorker
DATE PUBLISHED2007
VOLUME NUMBERn/a
ISSUE NUMBERMarch 12
PAGE NUMBERS48-57
ISSN0028-792X
Web Access
Available online from The New Yorker


This article focuses on issues associated with the United States' efforts to prevent the use of nuclear weapons and “dirty bombs” by terrorists in the era following the attacks of September 11, 2001. It discusses the activities of the Nuclear Emergency Support Team (NEST) in investigating suspected terrorist attempts to bring nuclear materials into the U.S. The author concludes that while the detonation of a nuclear device would have a larger impact, it is much less likely than an event involving a dirty bomb. The article describes the abundance of radioactive materials that could be used in a dirty bomb and problems in controlling those materials. It also describes efforts to develop and deploy detectors for both nuclear and dirty bomb materials as well as problems associated with their use.


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