# News Chance of a terrorist A-bomb detonating in a major city

1. Aug 25, 2005

### Loren Booda

What do you believe is the chance of a terrorist atomic bomb exploding in a Western metropolis, or even on a battlefield like Iraq's?

2. Aug 25, 2005

### Astronuc

Staff Emeritus
Sure it's possible, but depends on a critical factor - access to a pit of Pu-239 (~5-8 kg) and appropriate triggering device.

A western metropolis is a more likely target, than the Iraqi battlefield.

3. Aug 25, 2005

### Skyhunter

I think the possibility is remote, unless terrorists can get a nuke from an advanced nuclear power. It is my understanding that a nuclear device is very large and bulky. It would need to be an advanced device in order to be small enough to smuggle.

A western metropolis would be a much likelier target than the Iraqi battlefield.

It is far more likely, in my opinion, that the current administration will use battlefield nukes against Iran. :surprised

4. Aug 25, 2005

### Smurf

It's remote enough it's not worth considering.

5. Aug 25, 2005

### vanesch

Staff Emeritus
We should maybe considering how many physicists would be willing to work on a nuke for terrorists, against a lot of \$ ?

6. Aug 25, 2005

### Townsend

I have heard speculation that both the US and Russia developed suitcase bombs that could be used as tactical nukes if the need were to ever arise.

http://nuclearweaponarchive.org/News/DoSuitcaseNukesExist.html

7. Aug 25, 2005

### Townsend

I agree, I think perhaps we should...

8. Aug 25, 2005

### stoned

Exactly!, or maybe White house looking for pretext for attack on Iran will nuke US city and blame it on evil Iran.

9. Aug 25, 2005

### Burnsys

I think that is the most posible scenario...

10. Aug 25, 2005

### vanesch

Staff Emeritus
Now, if they would pick Washington...and forget to tell the boss... :tongue2:

11. Aug 25, 2005

### Burnsys

Well. you know, there isn't a very good comunication between the various agencies. :rofl: :rofl:

12. Aug 25, 2005

### BobG

Chance of an atomic bomb? Virtually none.

Chance of a bomb that will spread radioactive material exploding in a Western metropolis? Very good.

The actual effect of a 'dirty' bomb won't be very big, since a conventional bomb can't spread the radioactive material very effectively, but it will cause a huge reaction of terror, especially in the city where it occurred. If it's detonated in a location where even a local spread of radioactive material can affect a huge number of people, it will have an even bigger emotional impact.

13. Aug 25, 2005

### edward

I have a concern for the Seaports on the west coast. They unload thousands of large containers of imported goods from Asia in a single day. Two dirty bombs one at the port of Los Angeles and one at Long Beach would be a disaster for us financially.

And I think that is what they want. Even Bin Laden said that they will bleed us financially. The war in Iraq is already doing a number on our finances.

14. Aug 25, 2005

### Manchot

I think that there's a bigger chance that somebody in the military will accidentally hit the "red button."

15. Aug 25, 2005

### Pengwuino

From what I hear...

fission bomb: almost impossible

In a western city: highly likely
In Iraq: highly unlikely, too dangerous of a proposition to pull off.

16. Aug 25, 2005

### Pengwuino

Coming from someone who thought the WTC attacks were controlled demolitions, Im not surprised

Or was that the smoking dude.....

Last edited: Aug 25, 2005
17. Aug 26, 2005

### vanesch

Staff Emeritus
Yes that is absolutely true, and with the current bozo in the white house, he's helping them a lot. So probably the best strategy, if I were OBL, would be to tickle Dubya just enough for him to engage in another war, like Iran. How, I don't know. He could send in a cardboard model of a bomb, with "BOOM" on it, may be ? And a note "the next one is the real one my friends the Iranians are making for me" ?

18. Aug 26, 2005

### Pengwuino

Maybe he'll say the French are making it for him.... I mean thats what the French have historically done, arm nations/militant groups in the middle east against international sanctions. Maybe we'll finally do what the British have been telling us to do for so long. :rofl: :rofl:

19. Aug 26, 2005

### loseyourname

Staff Emeritus
I'm sure nobody remembers at this point, but I told a story a while back about how some friends and I drove a racing boat, more than large enough to contain a bomb, right into the Port of Long Beach. We were only looking around for run, but it was surprising how easy it was. We only saw one Harbor Police boat, that finally started coming toward us after about fifteen minutes, but it was way too slow to catch us when we took off.

Then again, we were coming from elsewhere in Long Beach, so it's not like we entered through the jetty. The security out there might be somewhat tighter. I can only hope it is.

20. Aug 26, 2005

### vanesch

Staff Emeritus
Well, given the fact that George believes just any imposter calling for a war (style Chalaby), after all, why not. The aim is that you go uselessly to war, and spend all you have on it (and even a bit more). If as a side effect, you also create a sense of menace to all those that could potentially turn into OBL fans, then that's even better (fear works on both sides). That's why France wouldn't be the ideal target: there's not so many potential OBL fans around here. The UK is already slightly better of course . But the real attraction is a country with a strong Islamic population. If he could get you to war with Iran, Syria, Lybia, Turkey, Pakistan and, cherry on top of the cake, Saoudi Arabia, that would be his dream. If in doing so, he can even create an international wave of indignation, so that the US looses its friends, all the better. You'd be broke, no friends left, and create a lot of sympathy for OBL. And all this for the price of a cardboard bomb and a few stamps :-)