Publication Laka-library:
The threat of nuclear terrorism: from analysis to precautionary measures

AuthorMycle Schneider, WISE Paris
DateDecember 2001

From the publication:

                The threat of nuclear terrorism:
            from analysis to precautionary measures
                       Contribution by Mr Mycle Schneider, Director, WISE-Paris

              Democracies Faced with Mass Terrorism Meeting
      An international meeting organised by Mr Pierre Lellouche, Member of Parliament, Paris,
                     held at the French National Assembly, 10 December 2001.

“Today, it can be said that the risks of nuclear terrorism are
increasing. The large-scale production and use of plutonium in
the form of MOX will lead to plutonium being spread over a
large number of facilities. This requires numerous shipments to
link the different stages of the process. In parallel, we are
facing an appalling radicalisation and an astounding
sophistication of certain terrorist groups. The facilities and
transportation of plutonium materials will constitute obvious
potential targets. The mere fact of not speaking about the
dangers will not eradicate them.”
                                              Dr Frank Barnaby1 (nuclear physicist) at a press
                                              conference organised by WISE-Paris on 21 November
                                              1997 (See Annex 1), on the occasion of the publication
                                              of an analysis report on the plutonium and MOX

What has changed since 11 September 2001
For many years, there have been voices attempting to warn of the extraordinary risk that nuclear
terrorism represents for humanity. The nuclear sector, like other risk sectors, has always argued that
the risk would be acceptable, by means of a simple formula: a potentially very great danger multiplied
by a very low probability of occurrence equals an acceptable risk. On 11 September 2001, the world
lost the re-assuring factor of low probability. The probability of acts of