Re: Hanson antiproliferation method?

Mark Grant (
Fri, 22 Aug 1997 20:47:25 +0000

On Wed, 20 Aug 1997, Jim McCoy wrote:

> on the perceived threat model of the local authorities.) Tim McVeigh
> used
> an ammonium nitrate bomb and so large purchases of it are being
> passively
> monitored, although it is still easy enough to steal and just about
> every
> farm in the country has enough to make a reasonably sized boom.

The IRA have been blowing up large parts of London with ammonium nitrate
for decades. Even with such monitoring and oppressive laws they still blow
up London on a fairly regular basis.

> As
> far as
> nerve gas goes, this is also fairly easy to make (although this fact
> is less
> widely known since there are few "how to make Sarin" texts floating
> around
> the Internet :)

'Basement Nukes' from Loompanics Unlimited contains various recipes for
nerve poisons. I'm surprised noone has transcribed that onto the Net yet.

> Nuclear weapons are the only mass-destruction weapons which require a
> large infrastructure to create.

That depends; even if you can't buy enriched fissionables directly, a
modern uranium-purifying plant would be a tiny fraction of the size of the
Manhattan Project, particularly if you were willing to trade size for time
(e.g. a plant of half the size would take twice as long to build a bomb).
Any well-funded terrorist group who wanted a nuke could probably build
one, and as governments poke their noses deeper into our affairs, more and
more people will have the desire to do so; indeed, nukes are far more
useful to non-territorial groups than they are to governments, because MAD
doesn't work if you can't nuke the opposition.

Personally I'll be surprised if we don't see at least one major city nuked
by 2010. I'll be even less surprised if the current rush towards a world
government continues.


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