TABLE 2.1 The Nuclear and Radiological Threat Matrix

TABLE 2.1A State-Owned Nuclear Weapons

Threat Category

Threat Description

Threat Level

Potential Consequences

State-owned nuclear weapons

Theft and diversion of state-owned nuclear weapons for use, with or without modification, against U.S. targets or assets

United States: Low—weapons are well protected and tactical weapons have integrated permissive action links to prevent unauthorized use

Potentially catastrophic—massive loss of life and severe political and economic destruction possible

Britain, China, France, Israel: Low—weapons are few in number relative to U.S.-Russian arsenals and are well protected

Pakistan, India: Medium—weapons are under secure control of the military, but political situation is unstable

Russia: Medium—large numbers of weapons with poor inventory controls

security personnel against this threat and are periodically tested by the USNRC to ensure readiness to meet this threat.

The current design basis threat for NPPs does not include high-speed attacks with fully loaded civilian airliners or, alternatively, smaller general aviation aircraft loaded with high explosives (HE) or attacks from the ground using HE projectiles. Potential targets for aircraft or ground attacks against an NPP are described in the classified annex.

The USNRC is supporting work at the Sandia National Laboratories, and the nuclear industry’s trade association, the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI), is directing work at the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) to assess some of these threats. These studies, which involve modeling aircraft impacts against steel-reinforced concrete structures and investigating the potential effects of aircraft-fuel fires, are proceeding independently of each other and will not be completed until after this report is published.

The details of these studies are classified and/or sensitive, and the results are

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