Nuclear Terrorism.

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As pointed out by several speakers, the level of violence and destruction in terrorist attacks has increased significantly during the past decade. Fortunately, few have involved weapons of mass destruction, and none have achieved mass casualties. The Aum Shinrikyo release of lethal nerve agent, sarin, in the Tokyo subway on March 20, 1995 clearly broke new ground by crossing the threshold in attempting mass casualties with chemical weapons. However, of all weapons of mass destruction, nuclear weapons still represent the most frightening threat to humankind. Nuclear weapons possess an enormous destructive force. The immediacy and scale of destruction are unmatched. ... continued below

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8 p.

Creation Information

Hecker, Siegfried S. January 1, 2001.

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Description

As pointed out by several speakers, the level of violence and destruction in terrorist attacks has increased significantly during the past decade. Fortunately, few have involved weapons of mass destruction, and none have achieved mass casualties. The Aum Shinrikyo release of lethal nerve agent, sarin, in the Tokyo subway on March 20, 1995 clearly broke new ground by crossing the threshold in attempting mass casualties with chemical weapons. However, of all weapons of mass destruction, nuclear weapons still represent the most frightening threat to humankind. Nuclear weapons possess an enormous destructive force. The immediacy and scale of destruction are unmatched. In addition to destruction, terrorism also aims to create fear among the public and governments. Here also, nuclear weapons are unmatched. The public's fear of nuclear weapons or, for that matter, of all radioactivity is intense. To some extent, this fear arises from a sense of unlimited vulnerability. That is, radioactivity is seen as unbounded in three dimensions - distance, it is viewed as having unlimited reach; quantity, it is viewed as having deadly consequences in the smallest doses (the public is often told - incorrectly, of course - that one atom of plutonium will kill); and time, if it does not kill you immediately, then it will cause cancer decades hence.

Physical Description

8 p.

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  • Submitted for publication in the Proceedings of the Workshop on "Terrorism in a High-Tech Society and Modern Methods for Prevention and Response." To be published by the National Research Council.

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  • Report No.: LA-UR-01-6335
  • Grant Number: none
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 975867
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc928890

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) is the Department of Energy (DOE) office that collects, preserves, and disseminates DOE-sponsored research and development (R&D) results that are the outcomes of R&D projects or other funded activities at DOE labs and facilities nationwide and grantees at universities and other institutions.

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Creation Date

  • January 1, 2001

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Nov. 13, 2016, 7:26 p.m.

Description Last Updated

  • Dec. 12, 2016, 4:30 p.m.

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Hecker, Siegfried S. Nuclear Terrorism., article, January 1, 2001; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc928890/: accessed June 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.