While an attack using a nuclear weapon, such as a terrorist-made improvised nuclear device
(IND), would be far more destructive, many see an RDD attack as more likely.
The first example is theft and detonation of an intact nuclear weapon, without question the most worrisome, followed secondly by theft or purchase of fissile material leading to the fabrication and detonation of a crude nuclear weapon or, as the authors say, an "improvised nuclear device
." The third example is an attack on, or sabotage of, nuclear installations, causing the release of large amounts of radioactivity.
According to the report, al Qaida and other terrorists could also produce what the CIA called an 'improvised nuclear device
' capable of causing a nuclear blast.
The prevailing unclassified Department of Defense authority on domestic nuclear terrorism is DOD Directive 3 150.5, "DOD Response to Improvised Nuclear Device
(IND) Incidents." (26) This directive assigns the various DOD elements their responsibilities during such a response.
Department of Energy provides technical and scientific assistance to locate hidden nuclear material; to diagnose a suspected, improvised nuclear device
; to plan the disablement of a nuclear yield or radiological dispersal device: and to advise local authorities on the hazards and effects.
Other possibilities include rogue states and even subnational groups using nuclear materials to construct an improvised nuclear device
(IND), or a radiological dispersal device (RDD).
The EPA issued guidance for protective actions following nuclear and radiological incidents except nuclear war, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) issued guidance for actions following RDD and improvised nuclear device
(IND, i.e., a terrorist-made nuclear weapon) incidents.
"I'm talking about real nuclear terrorism with an improvised nuclear device
," she said at the talk sponsored by the Center for Science, Technology and Security Policy.