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The Threat of Nuclear Terrorism

The issue of nuclear terrorism has been discussed by many researchers and policy-makers. Some believe that the threat is unrealistic, because building nuclear weapons is extremely difficult even for developed countries, which reduces terrorists’ chances to do it. Acquiring them would also be challenging, as there has been significant progress made in securing those weapons all around the world. Therefore, the possibility of terrorists getting access to nuclear sites is quite low.

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I believe, however, that the threat of nuclear terrorism still remains current and serious. This is especially worrying including the fact that certain extremist groups, such as ISIS and al-Qaeda, have showed their intentions to use nuclear weapons and material (Ward, 2018). Although the majority of terrorist groups conduct attacks using conventional explosives, it is not a reason to believe that nuclear terrorism is not a realistic threat. It may not be as pressing or imminent as a number of other global issues, because it would require an “unprecedented level of sophistication from terrorists” (Ward, 2018, par. 8). However, terrorist acts conducted in recent decades have demonstrated that terrorists do become more involved in gathering information about nuclear material and research facilities.

This week’s readings have showed that nuclear threats are often considered to be unrealistic and unlikely. However, this mere fact should not mean that governments should ignore or reduce the security measures taken to prevent this threat. There are many forms that nuclear terrorism can take, and many of the current circumstances increase its likelihood. “Intensifying geopolitical conflicts, regional instabilities, and diminishing nuclear security efforts worldwide” are only some of these factors (Suh & Heß, 2021, par. 9). Therefore, the threat of nuclear terrorism is real and cannot be neglected.


Suh, E., & Heß, M. (2021). Nuclear terrorism. German Council on Foreign Relations | DGAP. Web.

Ward, A. (2018). Is nuclear terrorism distracting attention from more realistic threats? RAND Corporation Provides Objective Research Services and Public Policy Analysis | RAND. Web.

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