Terrorist Threats

Terrorist nuclear attack on the US seaport could cause local devastation and affect the economy of the globe. This is because the ability to detect the nuclear weapons such as bombs is limited despite using technology, intelligence, and international cooperation. Terrorists usually use the nuclear weapons rather than weapons of mass destructions because they have much higher consequences in the areas of destruction.

The US seaports are the main targets of terrorist attacks. This is due to the fact that massive bombs are carried by ships. The Hiroshima-sized bomb in a seaport spread fallout over many square miles, killing 50,000 to one million people with estimated property damage of $50 to $500 billion.

There are so many ways in which terrorists smuggle a bomb into a US seaport but containers are most attractive routes to them. A container can be used on and moved between a tractor trailer, a rail car or a ship, therefore it can easily get into the port.

Bonner, Custom Border Protection commissioner believes that an attack using a nuclear bomb in a container halt container shipments leading to devastating consequences for global economy (CRS 2005). Terrorists obtain weapons like missiles by buying or stealing them along with information on bypassing the use control devices. Bombs can also be built. Hiroshima bomb was a gun assembly weapon whose explosive was a gun barrel capped with a mass of uranium on the exploding end.

Many believe that highly enriched uranium explosives are difficult to be obtained by terrorists but research shows that inventory of special nuclear materials are stored in many sites that apparently lack inventory controls increasing threats.(CRS 2005).Measures on terrorist attacks include devising multiple methods to detect interdict weapons.


CRS Report for Congress (Jan 2005). Terrorist Nuclear Attacks on Seaports: Threat and Response
Date retrieved 15th Oct 2010.