After the terrorist attack on 9/11 on New York City and the Pentagon, it could seen to be an increase of speculation in the media whether terrorist organizations would escalate to use weapons of mass destruction, and more specifically, nuclear weapons. This thesis asks two questions, (1) why have terrorist organizations not used nuclear weapons, and (2) should we expect terrorist organizations to use nuclear weapons in the future?
Two factors have been taken into consideration: firstly, is it possible for terrorist organizations to acquire access to nuclear weapons? Without access, there is no chance of nuclear weapons in the wrong hands. Secondly, given that access to material is possible, is it, and if when, in terrorist organizations’ interest to use nuclear weapons, and what can they gain from it?
Terrorist organizations are not known at this time to possess the capabilities to produce weapons grade material independently. However, some terrorist organizations have shown interest in acquiring nuclear capabilities and there is evidence of attempts to smuggle nuclear material.
This thesis has provided three answers to the research questions presented. 1) Nuclear weapons and nuclear material is difficult - almost impossible - to develop by terrorist organizations alone.2) It might be possible to acquire nuclear weapons or nuclear material throughclandestine means.3) If a terrorist organization is able to acquire nuclear weapons, it might not servetheir goals to use them.