Thesis Title

The Threat Of Nuclear Terrorism From Non-State Actors

Date of Graduation

Spring 2001


Master of Science in Defense and Strategic Studies


Defense and Strategic Studies

Committee Chair

William Van Cleave

Subject Categories

Defense and Security Studies


Present day terrorists enjoy the advantage of access to information and technologies that could introduce a new dimension to terrorism. One disturbing possibility is that terrorists may soon acquire the means to threaten nuclear violence with nuclear explosive weapons or devices for dispersal of radioactive nuclear materials. If clandestinely acquired from nuclear weapons states, these weapons could be quite sophisticated. Since the collapse of the former Soviet Union, the opportunities for nuclear proliferation presented to non-state actors have increased significantly. Terrorism involving nuclear weapons or nuclear material may pose a significant threat to U.S. security interests in the near future. This thesis examines the feasibility and possibility of terrorists gaining access to and using nuclear weapons or nuclear material for terrorism within the United States. Additionally, this thesis evaluates current U.S. prevention and defensive measures and concludes with recommendations for dealing with the threat of nuclear terrorism.


© Bradley Harrington