Children of the Atomic Bomb: An American Physician's Memoir of Nagasaki, Hiroshima, and the Marshall Islands

911: What If?

Nuclear 9/11 Will it Happen?

Three individuals predict the ominous future of a Nuclear 9/11:

Mark Strauss: Five years later, the United States remains haunted by the prospect of a true American Hiroshima, one in which a terrorist group would use a nuclear weapon to destroy an entire city.

Since 2001, the global stockpile of nuclear weapons has declined by slightly more than 4,600. That's progress, to be sure, but the total stockpile still weighs in at nearly 27,000--an arsenal of destruction that could still recreate Hiroshima thousands of times over, affirming that the original nuclear terror remains with us.

Graham Allison: on the "risk factor" - Risk equals probability times consequences.

Warren Buffett: the world's most successful inventor and a legendary oddsmaker in pricing insurance policies for unlikely but catastrophic events like earthquakes, has concluded: It's inevitable. I don't see any way that it won't happen."

What if an Atomic Bomb was Dropped on Times Square, New York?

On a normal workday, half a million people crowd the area within a half-mile radius of New York City's Times Square. If terrorists detonated a 10-kiloton nuclear weapon in the heart of midtown Manhattan, the blast would kill them all instantly. Hundreds of thousands of others would die from collapsing buildings, fire, and fallout in the hours and days thereafter. The blast would instantly vaporize Times Square, Grand Central Terminal, and every other structure within half a mile of the point of detonation. Buildings three-quarters of a mile from ground zero would be fractured husks.

What nuclear weapons could terrorists use? Terrorists could acquire a bomb one of two ways: by obtaining a ready-made weapon from the arsenal of one of the nuclear weapon states or by constructing an elementary nuclear bomb from highly enriched uranium made by a state. Theft of a warhead by insiders, or a combination of insiders and intruders, would not be easy.

Which nations have the most nuclear warheads today? Meeting the global threat of nuclear terrorism will require a more comprehensive global response. Construction of this new alliance should begin with the United States and Russia, who have a special obligation to address this problem since they created it--and since they still own 95 percent of all nuclear weapons and materials.