Chapter 6: The Threat of Nuclear Terrorism: How to Make the World Proliferation Resistant
LOOSE NUKES AND ILLICIT NETWORKS Loose Nukes 1. 1.1 After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the question that started to preoccupy the international community was what to do with ‘loose nukes.’ The number of nuclear reactors, nuclear weapon facilities and radioactive waste sites spread all over the former Soviet Union’s territory seemed staggering. It was unclear whether the new states could develop institutional responses to ensure that such material would not become global security risks. To install radiation detection equipment at the borders of countries that were formerly part of the Soviet Union was a ‘first-aid’ response to the threat of loose nukes. Untrustworthy border security officials, technical limitations of equipment, lax security procedures and lack of maintenance compromised the effectiveness of such equipment, though. Even today many border posts have yet to receive training and the equipment necessary to prevent nuclear smuggling.1 Safeguarding nuclear materials in the United States has not been free of mishaps either.2 All over the world, there are substantiated fears that 1 See, e.g., Brian D. Finlay, ‘Russian Roulette: Canada’s Role in the Race to Secure Loose Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Weapons,’ 61 International Journal 411, at 420–25 (2006). See also United States General Accounting Office (GAO), ‘Combating Nuclear Smuggling: Challenges Facing the US Efforts to Deploy Radiation Equipment in other Countries and in the United States’ (2006). 2 The United States Defense Department mistakenly shipped secret nuclear missile fuses to Taiwan in 2006 and did not learn that the items were...
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