'Last Best Chance' To Save World

President Barack Obama exits from Air Force One upon his arrival at the Osan U.S. Air Force Base in Osan, 30 miles south of Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2009. Obama arrived in South Korea for the last leg of his four-country Asian tour.
AP Photo/Lee Jin-man

It all seems so Hollywood.

Central character: the President of the United States, a role very much in vogue these days, portrayed by a familiar actor, a one-time real-life senator, Fred Thompson.

Movie: someone is trying to acquire Russian tactical weapons.

The plot of "Last Best Chance" is chilling: al Qaeda terrorists steal nuclear material to make bombs more destructive than the one which destroyed Hiroshima, CBS News correspondent Thalia Assuras reports.

"Well, this isn't Hollywood. This is a movie made totally from the facts," says former New Jersey Gov. Thomas Kean. A Republican, Kean co-chaired the 9-11 commission and sees "Last Best Chance" as a wake-up call.

"This to me is the number one scary scenario facing the country," Kean says of the film's plot. "There is nothing in my mind more worrisome than a terrorist with a nuclear device getting across the border of the United States."

It's a fear shared by the man behind the movie. Former Sen. Sam Nunn. The four-term Georgia Democrat thinks the world is taking too long to "lock down" nuclear material vulnerable to theft.

"Yes this is a race and we're not running. We've got to greatly accelerate the pace," Nunn says. "We have just returned from a trip to the four republics that still have nuclear weapons."

Nunn fought nuclear proliferation for years in the Senate.

"We need to begin to delegitimize highly-enriched uranium all over the globe," Nunn explains.

He now heads the nonpartisan Nuclear Threat Initiative. The organization works with governments around the world to control dangerous weapons material and thwart terrorist ambitions.

"We don't have to inevitably face a nuclear disaster. We can keep weapons grade material out of the hands of terrorists," Nunn says.

Nunn's group produced "Last Best Chance" to dramatize what it believes are scary, but plausible scenarios:

  • A Russian military officer stealing small nuclear weapons for money.
  • Terrorists taking weapons-grade material from research centers and corrupt scientists helping those terrorists make nuclear bombs.
  • The bombs are then smuggled into major cities.

    "Most of those research reactors literally don't have more than a chain-link fence and a night watchman as their security," warns Matthew Bunn, who studies nuclear proliferation at Harvard University.

    Bunn served as a technical advisor for "Last Best Chance." Bunn says he believes the film accurately portrays just how easily terrorists could get their hands on nuclear material.

    In the movie, the terrorists take stolen highly-enriched uranium and turn it into a bomb.

    "We know about more than 18 cases, really highly-enriched uranium or plutonium has gotten stolen and then seized. What we don't know is of what iceberg are we seeing the tip," Bunn says.