Nuclear Terrorism – book published

Nuclear Terrorism: Countering the Threat

Edited by Brecht Volders and Tom Sauer

Routledge, 262 pages

About the Book

This volume aims to improve understanding of nuclear security and the prevention of nuclear terrorism.nuclear terrorism

Nuclear terrorism is perceived as one of the most immediate and extreme threats to global security today. While the international community has made important progress in securing fissile material, there are still important steps to be made with nearly 2,000 metric tons of weapons-usable nuclear material spread around the globe. The volume addresses this complex phenomenon through an interdisciplinary approach: legal, criminal, technical, diplomatic, cultural, economic, and political. Despite this cross-disciplinary approach, however, the chapters are all linked by the overarching aim of enhancing knowledge of nuclear security and the prevention of nuclear terrorism. The volume aims to do this by investigating the different types of nuclear terrorism, and subsequently discussing the potential means to prevent these malicious acts. In addition, there is a discussion of the nuclear security regime, in general, and an important examination of both its strengths and weaknesses. In summary, the book aims to extend the societal and political debate about the threat of nuclear terrorism.

This book will be of much interest to students of nuclear proliferation, nuclear governance, terrorism studies, international organizations, and security studies in general.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction, Brecht Volders and Tom Sauer

2. The nuclear threat: a two-level analytical framework to assess the likelihood of nuclear terrorism, Brecht Volders

3. Internal dynamics of a terrorist entity acquiring biological and chemical weapons, Jean Pascal Zanders

PART I: Preventing Radiological Terrorism

4. Promoting alternatives to high-risk radiological sources, Miles Pomper and Aaron Gluck

5. Time for a convention on radiological security?, Sylvain Fanielle and Piotr Andrzejewski

6. The threat of a self-sustained chain reaction device, Ivan Andryushin, Eugeny Varseev and Gennady Pshakin

PART II: Preventing Attacks on Nuclear Facilities

7. Attacking nuclear facilities: hype or genuine threat?, Gary Ackerman and James Halverson

8. Nuclear security in Belgium: evolution and prospects, Rony Dresselaers and Sylvain Fanielle

PART III: Preventing the Detonation of a Crude Nuclear Device

9. Searching for the nuclear silk road, Steve Sin and Marcus Boyd

10. Securing Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal: the threat from within, Pervez Hoodbhoy and Zia Mian

PART IV: Nuclear Security Governance and Culture

11. Nuclear security culture: from concept to practice, Igor Khripunov

12. Nuclear security commitment making: results of the summit process, Michelle Cann

13. Nuclear security diplomacy beyond summitry, Trevor Findlay

14. Conclusion, Tom Sauer and Brecht Volders


More of the Same: The Ministerial Declaration of the International Conference on Nuclear Security

The International Atomic Energy Agency convened the International Conference on Nuclear Security in Vienna from July 1-5, 2013. Noting that “the risk that nuclear or other radioactive material could be used in malicious acts remains high and is regarded as a serious threat to international peace and security,” the IAEA held the Conference “to review the international community’s experience and achievements to date in strengthening nuclear security, to enhance understanding of current approaches to nuclear security worldwide and identify trends, and to provide a global forum for ministers, policymakers and senior officials to formulate views on the future directions and priorities for nuclear security.”

The Ministerial Declaration from the Conference was negotiated before it began and was disseminated on the first day of the Conference. The Ministerial Declaration indicates that IAEA member states are not willing, at present, to move beyond the existing approach of primarily focusing on national-level responsibilities and efforts to improve the security of nuclear material to prevent nuclear or radiological terrorism and other malicious acts. The Ministerial Declaration invited states to become parties to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (1980) and its 2005 Amendment and to the International Convention on the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (201). But, arguments for developing more and better international rules to enhance nuclear security globally did not find fertile ground in this IAEA effort. As Global Newswire reported on this point:

As expected, the joint document . . . did not embrace the creation of any formal new rules that would bind participating countries. At the top of a list of 24 principles that signatories support is “that the responsibility for nuclear security within a state rests entirely with that state.” Nuclear watchdogs expressed disappointment over the scope of the document . . . . “I would say that this declaration does not give a lot of hope that IAEA ministerial meetings are the way to move forward the nuclear security agenda–it’s pretty boilerplate,” said Miles Pomper, a senior research associate with the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies.