Magazine article The American Prospect

Dossier: Loose Nukes

Magazine article The American Prospect

Dossier: Loose Nukes

Article excerpt

Russia's estimated stockpile includes 18,ooo assembled nuclear warheads at some 150 to 210 sites ... Additionally, it retains an estimated 603 metric tons of highly enriched uranium (HEU) and 170 metric tons of separated plutonium ... A working nuclear bomb requires at least 16 kilograms of uranium or 4 kilograms of plutonium ... Only 3 percent of Russia's total nuclear material stockpile is subject to U.S. monitoring ... 84 1-kiloton "suitcase nukes" are missing, according to former Russian national-security adviser Alexander Lebed ... The United States has verified the dismantlement of zero Russian nuclear warheads ... 10 nuclear cities employ approximately 120,000 to 130,000 people believed to have access to nuclear weapons or weapons-usable nuclear material ... Russia hopes to cut this workforce by 35,000 by the end of 2005 ... Al-Qaeda has actively sought nuclear weapons since at least 1992 ... In that year, coincidentally, Leonid Smirnov stole 1.5 kilograms of HEU from the Russian laboratory where he worked, becoming one of the world's first nuclear thieves ... He was hoping to sell it for $500 ... Al-Qaeda's annual budget during the 1990s was around $200 million . …

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