Talk:Suitcase nuclear device

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Suitcase nuke[edit]

This article should mention that, even if any such Soviet-era "suitcase nukes" had fallen into the wrong hands, the fact remains that the fissile cores would have decayed into duds years ago. They'd only be valuable as crappy "dirty bombs" (and there are so many better substances to use than uranium or plutonium) or for the fissile material inside, and that itself would only be worth anything to people who already have nuclear weapons programs.

  • Why assume that the plutonium or uranium would have decayed enough to be useless in a weapon? Plutonium has a half-life of 24,000 years, so if the bombs were made even as early as the 1970s (which is, I believe, around when the USSR would have been able to miniaturize their arsenal to that degree), it would still have some 99.92% of its original plutonium, would it not? I'm not a physicist but I'm not sure why that amount of time would render them completely duds. I'd be more worried about the chemical explosive degrading than I would the cores. The US replaces its cores sooner than that but that is because they set the threshhold very high, of course. I'm betting that most weapons made in the 1970s would still detonate today. And since the Soviet weapons could have been made as late as the end of the 1980s, that's even more time. Anyway, I'd want to see an official source saying such a thing before I'd want it on this page. Uranium-235 has a half-life of some 700 million years, according to our page on it. --Fastfission 02:08, 17 Apr 2005 (UTC)
    • While I am not privy to classified information about such matters, I am given to understand that the radiation damages the firing circuitry, explosives, etc. over time. Likewise, some portions of such a device may be dependent upon tritium for proper function, and tritium has a half-life of only 12.3 years. It's not like a steel can of rifle ammunition or a mortar shell in a storage tube that can be sealed up and put in a crate in an arsenal and just left there for decades. Continuous testing and maintenance are required if it is to work reliably. The alternative is to assemble the device immediately before use. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:55, 13 July 2012 (UTC)

Image should be fair-use. Its source is not identified, and it's all over the Internet. -- Victor 22:06 10 May 2004

Apparently the image is of Rep. Dan Burton (R-Indiana) from 2000 with a hypothetical mock-up of a suitcase nuclear weapon. However whether Soviet bombs exist or not -- or whether they would look anything like this -- is still highly dubious. --Fastfission 00:26, 11 May 2004 (UTC)

Isn't there a more professional word for "suitcase nukes?" I mean, "Suitcase-sized nuclear explosives" would sound stupid. -- Victor

The problem is that when people talk about "suitcase nukes," they usually just say "suitcase bomb" and don't differentiate between conventional suitcase bombs like those used in attacks on Israeli buses or on airplanes. I suppose the most "professional" way to talk about it would be something like "a nuclear weapon small enough to fit into a suitcase," because that's what it is really about -- the size of it, not the suitcase (they could be in a backpack or a trash can or any other receptical). A nuclear weapon capable of being carried clandestinely by one individual is a real psychological threat because it is much more likely to be stolen and secretly deployed than a typical nuclear bomb or warhead, which way many tons and are only deliverable typically by plane or missile. So maybe, "highly miniaturized nuclear warheads," but we'd really just be making up our own terminology on that one. --Fastfission 05:45, 13 May 2004 (UTC)

Why I removed the link about OBL and suitcase nukes[edit]

I removed the following link [1] about bin Laden purchasing suitcase nukes for two reasons: 1. the source is unbashedly partisan and 2. many of the claims are pretty hard to swallow and are not, in my mind, accepted as being plausible by society at large (that OBL had hundreds of ex-Soviet nuclear physicists working in Afghanistan with tons of sophisticated enrichment equipment -- and where did they all disappear to? why didn't we find mountains of evidence of this? and if OBL has had suitcase nukes since the early '90s, why hasn't he used them yet? hasn't he had ample opportunity, what with the USA invading Afghanistan in 2002? It doesn't add up). If you can find a better source for this, that would be fine, but as it stands, it's the equivalent of linking to tabloids. --Fastfission 04:35, 25 Jun 2004 (UTC)

"Even if such weapons do exist, and have been lost or stolen, the dangers of a terrorist organization getting its hands on them may be highly overestimated, given the logistical difficulties of advertising, seeking, and actively purchasing such a politically and economically valuable device in total secrecy."

this is total bollocks. go look "meet the stans", a 4pt-documentary about kazahstan, uzbekistan, etc., broadcasted by BBC and CBC, available at fileshare-networks. simon reeve is just a normal reporter, and he walks into unguarded places, you won't believe they exist. THEY DO!

Mmm, so one BBC documentary of questionable veracity about the difficulties of infrastructure in various eastern bloc countries (unguarded, but what was in them?), and suddenly a line about the difficulties in purchasing something like nuclear weapons on the blackmarket becomes "total bollocks"? I don't think so... --Fastfission 01:34, 26 July 2005 (UTC)

How about including this link [2] it talks about suitcase bombs from Russia, there existence, the decay of the tritium neutron generators neccessary to detonate such a device, the possible scenarios for loss of these devices, and much more. It conludes that the threat is remote and secondary to other threats.

  • Looks good! I added the link and a note about the tritium. --Fastfission 23:41, 28 July 2005 (UTC)


You can make bombs that won't decay for a long time you can use an artificial element that was created in a partical accelerator or something I dont't really see much point in a suitcase bomb you can put a bomb in the trunk of a car or in the back of a van Dudtz 7/25/05 4:15 EST

Mmm, what an insightful comment! --Fastfission 01:26, 26 July 2005 (UTC)

Report from Monterey Institute[edit]

It my personal opinion that authors of this report were trying to hide the truth for some reason. They did not say a word about GRU defector Lunev, although they knew very well about his existence (he gave a testimony to US Congress, as far as I know). Biophys 03:51, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

Some of this are major plot spoilers for people who havent seen 24 season 6 yet, and totally unnecessary. Im gonna clean it up a little

In regards to the Jericho reference, the television show stated it was from dismantled warheads, vs a suitcase nuke. It was around the size of a portable nuke, but was apparently a bit more in power (city leveling). —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:47, 28 March 2008 (UTC)

The Cook Report[edit]

Wasn't there an episode of The Cook Report on which Roger Cook (journalist) successfully bought a Russian suitcase nuke from a shady arms dealer? (talk) 22:18, 3 November 2008 (UTC)

Article permanently semiprotected[edit]

Due to ongoing long term persistent vandalism by the anonymous editor behind and ("The WTC was nuked on 9/11"), the articles W54, David Worby, Suitcase nuke, and Health effects arising from the September 11 attacks have been permanently semiprotected. Only logged in editors with Wikipedia accounts who have been autoconfirmed (are at least 4 days old) can edit the articles from now. Georgewilliamherbert (talk) 21:23, 12 May 2009 (UTC)

Undue weight to Lunev section?[edit]

I'm not sure why this guy keeps popping up all over Wikipedia, but Lunev is a fringe source with many theories, sometimes bordering on the bizarre, about what the Soviet Union was up to after he defected. I'm not sure his theory here should be taking up half of this page. I also think we need a more precise definition of what kind of weapons are entailed here.

Also, I removed the popular culture section as trivia, but perhaps there should be further discussion of that -- if a "suitcase nuke" is a popular culture term itself (rather than a precise category) should we restore that section? csloat (talk) 23:09, 4 August 2009 (UTC)

Please do not be deceptive when using edit summaries. I made the changes to the Lunev section per my comments above; there is no need for several paragraphs of this fringe source. Another user reverted this change with the mendacious edit summary "provided some citation." Yet he did not provide any citation -- he re-added the disputed text; the only citations he added are to a text that is ALREADY cited. If you dispute that this material gives undue weight to Lunev, please indicate here why you think this material is so central. At least have the courtesy to defend your edits rather than trying to sneak them through with mendacious and innocuous sounding edit summaries. csloat (talk) 22:46, 16 August 2009 (UTC)

  • Which sources tell exactly that Lunev is a "fringe source"? I do not know such. His book is one of few sources on the subject. Everyone is welcome to cite more sources, especially if they contradict claim by Lunev.Biophys (talk) 02:11, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
    • BTW, it is very interesting that Nikolai Sokov from the Monterey Institute, who authored this article (a much more detailed version of it has been removed from the internet) did not mention at anything at all about Stanislav Lunev, although he knew about his existence perfectly well (Weldon cited in the article has referred in US Congress to a testimony by Lunev). Why Sokov did not mention this? Because that would contradict his story (he tells that devices do not represent any danger). Why he was doing thi cover-up? Because he worked previously for the Russian ministry of Foreign Affairs, and who knows what he is doing in Monterey?Biophys (talk) 03:04, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
He didn't bother to mention Lunev because he wanted people to take him seriously. Lunev is simply not a credible source and he was probably well aware of that. csloat (talk) 03:34, 17 August 2009 (UTC)

(od) There is nothing "undue" about adding the most recent expansion of narrative. FYI, I've been interested in nuclear proliferation ever since my university senior year advanced physics paper on waste disposal (that would be back in 1976-1977). An encyclopedia has to include detail, not just who said what summary statements. Cheers! VЄСRUМВА  ♪  03:13, 17 August 2009 (UTC)

BTW, I have read a number of Lunev's interviews, he hardly sounds like a lunatic fringe crackpot. VЄСRUМВА  ♪  03:25, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
Well, that's what the FBI considers him. Which of his statements did you find non-fringy, his comment that the Soviets hid nuclear weapons in Virginia or his claim that the Chinese Red Army was dressing like Mexican immigrants in order to take over Texas? csloat (talk) 03:34, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Did you read his book? I was reading Lunev's book, and he NEVER said that "Soviets hid nuclear weapons in Virginia" or that "Chinese Red Army was dressing like Mexican immigrants in order to take over Texas". Please provide direct quote with pages. As about FBI, please provide direct citation of FBI where they call him a "fringe crackpot". To my best knowledge they did not tell that.Biophys (talk) 14:33, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
OK, I have included in the article what exactly Lunev said and what exactly FBI said.Biophys (talk) 14:55, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
He said these things in congressional testimony; you should know since you added this material yourself (at least regarding nukes in the US) to the nuclear terrorism page, violating consensus and making false statements in your edit summaries. I'll look up the thing about Chinese dressing up as Mexicans if you really care. The FBI doesn't say things like "fringe crackpot"; those were Vecrumba's words. What the FBI said was that he "exaggerated things" and that he was "discredited." Again, you already know this, since you are adding this material to another page against consensus. I'm satisfied that there's consensus to keep the Lunev material on this page so I won't remove it further other than to insist that we stick to what the sources actually say. If you're going to add the stuff about the Soviets issuing contradictory statements, please indicate where in the source it says that. And who considers the statements contradictory. It is editorializing to call statements contradictory without a source clearly stating that; don't tell me you deduced it from the source. Finally, I re-removed the pop culture trivia section as per wikipedia policy. If a "suitcase nuke" is a pop culture category ratehr than a specific kind of weapon, we can restore the section, but we should rewrite the article accordingly as well. csloat (talk) 00:15, 18 August 2009 (UTC)


There are several grammatical errors in the last paragraph. "suitcase nukes might be already deployed by the GRU operatives at the US soil . . ." etc. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:37, 22 January 2010 (UTC)

Pending changes[edit]

This article is one of a number selected for the early stage of the trial of the Wikipedia:Pending Changes system on the English language Wikipedia. All the articles listed at Wikipedia:Pending changes/Queue are being considered for level 1 pending changes protection.

The following request appears on that page:

Comments on the suitability of theis page for "Pending changes" would be appreciated.

Please update the Queue page as appropriate.

Note that I am not involved in this project any much more than any other editor, just posting these notes since it is quite a big change, potentially

Regards, Rich Farmbrough, 00:13, 17 June 2010 (UTC).

Merge from Pocket nuke[edit]

Hi all. I've gone ahead and merged content in from Pocket nuke, as there was very little there that wasn't already here and maintaining two articles on substantially the same subject would be a waste of time. Pocket nuke is now a redirect here and any non-duplicate material has been merged over. I started to clean up the resulting article, but more eyes is always helpful. Cheers. Zachlipton (talk) 06:27, 6 January 2011 (UTC)

On the changing of title to >Suitcase nuclear device[edit]


Nobody would seriously consider going through this article or any of the others concerning nuclear devices, and changing the parts showing "nuclear device" to nuke.

"Nuclear terrorism refers to an act of terrorism in which a person or persons belonging to a terrorist organisation detonates a nuke"

"Nuclear terrorism could include:

Acquiring or fabricating a nuke" - Nuking terrorism, Antrangelos (talk) 23:11, 7 August 2015 (UTC)

However despite thefts and trafficking of small amounts of fissile material, all low-concern and less than Category III Special nuclear material (SNM), there is no credible evidence that any terrorist group has succeeded in obtaining Category I SNM, the necessary multi-kilogram critical mass amounts of weapons grade plutonium required to make a nuke. Informal

Having a relaxed, friendly, or unofficial style, manner, or nature

Denoting the grammatical structures, vocabulary, and idiom suitable to everyday language and conversation rather than to official or formal contexts.

The article content description (i.e. the title) of nuclear devices doesn't belong in everyday unofficial contexts, not at least outside of physics social groups (and possibly wanna-be terrorist plots), since they are all owned by governments as far as the general public know of, or exist in computer gaming possibly (i.e. the imagination of gamers). Antrangelos (talk) 23:18, 7 August 2015 (UTC)

Could you clarify the last two sentences?... Georgewilliamherbert (talk) 01:01, 8 August 2015 (UTC)


Something on the physics-based limits should be in the article, i.e. on critical masses and what they mean for such a device, how you can (and can't) shape these bombs so that they still work, etc. -- (talk) 16:39, 1 December 2015 (UTC)