The Terror Trade—Buying the Bomb

In a deadly twist to the law of supply and demand, the raw materials of nuclear weaponry are now available to the highest bidder - and bidders in this multi-million dollar black market auction already include representatives of Libya, Iran, Iraq and Pakistan and could extend to well-financed terrorist groups. 


What's more, the possibility of nuclear weapons falling into the hands of unstable groups and governments is growing, so also is the potential for terrifying destruction and blackmail.

Presented by the Better World Society, the program exposes the burgeoning international black market in nuclear technology and hardware, as well as in plutonium - one of the deadliest substances known to man and the critical ingredient of nuclear weaponry.


Program Credits

Director Claudia Milne

Producers George Case Claudia Milne

Executive Producer Rachel V. Lyon

Commissioning Editor David Lloyd, Channel 4 Television

London Narrator Ted Maynard

Reporter George Case

Cinematographer Mike Whittaker

Sound Greg Bailey

Assistant Camera Jack Holmes

Editors Tim Lewis Francesca Ross Jon Willis

Dubbing Mixer Peter Hughes

Archival Sources Independent Television News Channel 4 Television, London Visnews, Cable News Network, Department of Defense, I.A.E.A., The Government of India

With Support From: The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Funding, The George Gund Foundation, The W. Alton Jones Foundation.

The Terror Trade: Buying the Bomb is a special presentation of the Better World Society and Groupe De Bellerive Production.


The Terror Trade features an exclusive interview with "Eric", an international arms dealer who tells with chilling detachment of underground plutonium buyers gathering at a Sudanese hotel "so full of people, it was like a flea market." He also states in the program that Argentina has had an atomic bomb since 1983, and identifies various countries involved in nuclear black market trading. Israel, Libya, Argentina, South Africa, Iran, Iraq, Syria, India, Pakistan and Brazil - countries which appear to see possession of nuclear weapons as essential to guaranteeing their national security - have sought black market materials.

Former President Jimmy Carter, Senator John Glenn, former CIA Director Admiral Stansfield Turner and former Defense Secretary Richard Perle also appear in the program. According to Admiral Turner, plutonium is indeed available on the black market, though at a stiff price. Twelve kilos, about the size of a cantaloupe is enough to build the equivalent of the atomic bombs dropped on Japan, sells for about $12 million. Though the nuclear industry denies the problem, experts interviewed for The Terror Trade state that plutonium is diverted from civilian nuclear power plants.

"Making the explosive using the information, facilities and materials that are accessible worldwide is relatively easy," says weapons designer Theodore Taylor, "To make something with a yield sufficient to be a weapon of mass destruction, to kill several hundred thousand people is unfortunately credible for a group of terrorists to do.

Former Arms Dealer Exposes Black Market in Nuclear Weapons

He peddled materials that make most covert arms dealers seem as harmless as kids swapping baseball cards. In an exclusive interview "Eric", divulges his knowledge of a thriving black market in nuclear technology and plutonium - the critical raw material of the atomic bomb. Filmed on board his sailing yacht, Eric coolly describes the expensive, illegal race for nuclear weaponry, the winners of which will be capable of destruction not seen since the Enola Gay dropped its deadly cargo.