Smuggling of Nuclear Material

Topics: Nuclear weapon, Uranium, Cold War Pages: 4 (1021 words) Published: October 8, 1999
Smuggling of Nuclear Material

Over the past five years the former states of the Soviet Union haven't been able to prevent the leakage of nuclear material. Nuclear materials and technologies are more accessible now than at any other time in history, due to the breakup of the Soviet Union and the worsening of economic conditions. No longer does the Soviet KGB, the Soviet military and the Soviet border guards have the control to stop the smuggling of nuclear material's. With the Cold War being over, there is a huge stockpile of over 100 nuclear sites (See Appendix A). Russia, alone has an inventory of 1,300 tons of highly enriched uranium (HEU), and 165 tons of weapon usable plutonium. Such material is coming into high demand on the market. Terrorist, organized crime and countries with nuclear ambition, are high bid contenders for the material. The United States is also becoming involved for the safety of preventing a nuclear disaster. The U.S. has just begun their large task and with Russia's worsening economy, smuggling of nuclear material will continue.

During the Cold War the security of Soviet nuclear weapons and missile materials was based on a highly centralized military system and operating within a strong political authority. The workers back then where well disciplined and each individual new his/her role. The workers were among the best treated and loyal to the Russian military. They are now suffering hardships and are forced to scavenge anything to pay for their food, rent and social services.

A new trend is already occurring with some of the workers . There are those that will seek employment out of the nuclear field and in the commercial sector, where salaries are higher. Then the unfortunate who lose their jobs and find no work. The scarier thought is that the uncontempt people in Russia's nuclear complex with access to nuclear materials will sell themselves, to make a quick buck. Most suppliers of nuclear material, were...

Cited: Stalin to Yelsin, Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1995.
John Deutch, ³The Threat of Nuclear Diversion Statement for Record,²
CIA, March 20, 1996.
Alexei Lebedev, in ³Russian Weapons Plutonium Storage Termed Unsafe by
Minatom Official,² Nucleonics Week, April 28, 1994.
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