Coping with Terrorism/Nuclear Weapons


I am a high school freshmen in a project-based school and am interested in WMD. Though these are not questions about terrorism, I see that you are an expert on nuclear weapons, which is what I have questions about.

1. What is the probability of nuclear warfare within the next 30 years?
2. What are the best sources for learning about WMD, ie., nuclear, biological and chemical weapons.
3. Are their field trips I could take that would help me understand how these weapons work?
4. Besides Hiroshima and Nagasaki, what attacks would you suggest I study?
5. What can you tell me about the aftermath of nuclear war?
6. Which of the weapons, nuclear, chemical or biological, are the worst in terms of lethality?

Hello Lydia and thank you for your questions.

First let me say that I'm not an expert on nuclear weapons but I can certainly help steer you toward resources that may help.

1.  The answer to this question depends on how you define "nuclear warfare" and the scope of the conflict.  I think the possibility of limited nuclear use is greater than the risk of all-out nuclear warfare.

2. For an overview on WMD, visit:

3. You could visit Wisconsin Emergency Management at their offices in Madison to ask them about state-wide preparedness for WMD.

4.  There have not been many nuclear attacks.  Here's a timeline of nuclear testing:

5.  Scientists predict that the aftermath of nuclear war will be something called "nuclear winter."

6.  Nuclear weapons are by far the most lethal.  However, dying from any of them would be terrible.  

I hope this helps.

Jack Plaxe  

Coping with Terrorism

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Jack Plaxe


Terrorism, political violence and asymmetric warfare; terrorist weapons, tactics and targeting; terrorist IEDs and bombing tactics; critical infrastructure protection; water system security; transportation security, especially aviation and rail security; the application of security technology as part of a comprehensive protective strategy. I also maintain a small library and archive on these issues so I can suggest books and other reference works to those who are interested in these subjects.


I've been studying terrorism and working in the anti-terrorism field since the late 1980's. I've been involved in a range of projects including threat, vulnerability and risk assessments; security planning; security policy and procedure development; emergency response procedure development; crisis management planning; open-source research on terrorism and related issues; training program development; exercise design and evaluation. I've provided these services to airports; airlines; rail terminals; ports; utilities; schools; law enforcement agencies; fire departments; federal, state and local governments; and corporations.

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