JOURNAL OF DEFENCE STUDIES

Nuclear Terrorism: Inevitable But Preventable?

Col. Raj Shukla was Research Fellow at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi. Click here for detailed profile
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  • January 2013
    Volume: 
    7
    Issue: 
    1
    Focus

    The phenomenon of nuclear terrorism has been the subject of intense debate as also much hype. This article seeks to cut through the hype and examine the real portents of the threat in terms of event possibilities. In doing so, it calls for sobriety and balance in discussion, emphasizes the need to guard against ignoring numerous scientific facts and real difficulties along the way, and cautions against embracing unduly alarmist overtones. It further emphasizes the need to be resolute with regard to incident occurrence because the potential consequences of a nuclear terrorist attack are so devastating as to outweigh the very low probability of event occurrence.

    If current approaches towards eliminating the threat of nuclear terrorism are not replaced with a sense of urgency and resolve, the question will become not if, but when, and on what scale the first act of nuclear terrorism occurs.
    —Extracted from the US–Russia Joint Threat Assessment on Nuclear Terrorism, May 2011

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