Probability of Occurrence

Technical and Policy Challenges

Approaches to Mitigation

Moderate over the next 5 years, with a high potential for surprise

Theft or diversion may not require state assistance and may go undetected if theft occurs in Russia

Stolen or diverted weapons could be converted for terrorist use

HEU-based weapons smuggled into the United States could be difficult to detect and recover

First responders may be killed or incapacitated by attack

Improve indications and warnings capabilities

Improve security of Russian and Pakistani nuclear weapons at storage sites and borders

Accelerate deployment of sensor arrays at critical U.S. entry points and targets

Develop and announce policies to deter use of weapons by terrorist states

Improve attribution capabilities

preliminary. But taken together, these studies suggest that a terrorist attack on an NPP could have potentially severe consequences if the attack were large enough. The severity is highly dependent on the specific design configuration of the NPP, including details such as the location of specific safety equipment. Additional details are provided in the classified annex.

The potential vulnerabilities of NPPs to terrorist attack seem to have captured the imagination of the public and the media, perhaps because of a perception that a successful attack could harm large populations and have severe economic and environmental consequences. There are, however, many other types of large industrial facilities that are potentially vulnerable to attack, for example, petroleum refineries, chemical plants, and oil and liquefied natural gas supertankers. These facilities do not have the robust construction and security features characteristic of NPPs, and many are located near highly populated urban areas. The committee has not performed a detailed examination of the vulnerabilities of these other types of industrial facilities and does not know how they compare to

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