"Dirty Bombs:" Using Nuclear Materials for Terror

Download Audio

The old consensus was that terrorists would not be interested in nuclear or radiological weapons. After all, these weapons are hard to acquire, can be dangerous to handle, and their mass casualties would be inconsistent with the traditional goal of terrorists — publicity, not deaths. But that way of thinking ended on September 11th. Most believe Al Qaeda would use nuclear weapons against the United States if they had them. Now, U.S. officials are saying that Osama bin Laden and his network have made greater strides in using radiological and nuclear weapons than previously thought. This hour, an examination of the threat that so-called "dirty bombs" — conventional explosives laced with radioactive material — could present to the United States.


Matthew Bunn, nuclear expert

Assistant Director of the Science, Technology and Public Policy Program at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard;
Peter Grier, correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor

This program aired on December 5, 2001.


More from On Point

Listen Live