Cover: Aum Shinrikyo, Al Qaeda, and the Kinshasa Reactor

Aum Shinrikyo, Al Qaeda, and the Kinshasa Reactor

Implications of Three Case Studies for Combating Nuclear Terrorism

Published Apr 7, 2005

by Sara A. Daly, John V. Parachini, William Rosenau

Download eBook for Free

Full Document

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 1.9 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience.

Summary Only

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 0.1 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience.

Revelations about A.Q. Khan’s global nuclear marketing efforts and Osama bin Laden’s contact with Pakistani nuclear scientists have raised concerns about terrorist acquisition of a nuclear or radiological weapons capability. Such a capability would pose a grave danger to U.S. national security and also to the security of the international system of nation-states. Looking across three case studies, this documented briefing concludes with a set of observations. First, access to significant resources, including the sanctuary of a state, will not guarantee the success of a nonstate actor’s nuclear acquisition effort. Second, even sophisticated terrorists, searching for nuclear material, have been victims of scams. Third, Russian officials appear to have been less corrupt, and Russian nuclear materials and expertise more secure than many analysts in the West have alleged. Fourth, despite inspections and safeguards, the IAEA failed to prevent the loss of reactor fuel. Finally, the study suggests that strict control s on nuclear weapons, materials, and expertise will reduce opportunities for terrorists to acquire these resources.

Research conducted by

The research reported here was sponsored by the United States Air Force and conducted by RAND Project AIR FORCE.

This report is part of the RAND documented briefing series. RAND documented briefings are based on research presented to a client, sponsor, or targeted audience in briefing format. Additional information is provided in the documented briefing in the form of the written narration accompanying the briefing charts. All RAND documented briefings undergo rigorous peer review to ensure that they meet high standards for research quality and objectivity. However, they are not expected to be comprehensive and may present preliminary findings. Major research findings are published in the monograph series; supporting or preliminary research is published in the technical report series.

This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit www.rand.org/pubs/permissions.

RAND is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.