Netflix is teaming up with Pulse Films to adapt former Vanity Fair journalist William Langewiesche’s 2007 non-fiction novel The Atomic Bazaar. The book covers the global trade in illicit nuclear weapons and the people involved. Technicians to smugglers, spies, mercenaries, criminals, and scientists are all involved in the Black Market that is coming perilously close to putting these weapons in the hands of rogue states and non-government groups.

The Atomic Bazaar tells the story of the inexorable drift of nuclear weapons technology from the hands of the rich into the hands of the poor with more unstable and undeveloped nations spending money to find ways to acquire what they see as the ultimate weapon. With these nations frequently involved in regional disagreements and led by unstable governments and non-rational leaders, this makes the prospect of their use staggeringly high.

The book also describes how the likelihood of such weapons being manufactured and deployed by guerrilla non-state terrorists is increasing and covers the story of Abdul Qadeer Khan, the scientist at the forefront of nuclear development and trade in the Middle East. He masterminded the theft and sale of centrifuge designs that helped to build Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal and single-handedly peddled nuclear plans to North Korea, Iran, and other potentially hostile countries.

Even drug cartels, with their vast wealth and access to illicit networks around the world, are thought to be interested in acquiring the technology for blackmail purposes. Langewiesche describes an urgent reality and the tangible chances for nuclear terrorism to happen.

Google books say it is a:

“…searing, provocative, and timely report is a triumph of investigative journalism, and a masterful laying out of the most critical political problem the world now faces.”

According to Variety the plan is for a scripted drama series. Pulse films last worked on the excellent Gangs Of London in conjunction with Sky in the UK. 71 writer Gregory Burk is attached to pen the script and executive produce alongside director Edward Berger (All Quiet on the Western Front).

The book was first published in 2007. Langewiesche was Vanity Fair’s international correspondent and is now an editor-at-large with New York Times Magazine. The project was placed into rapid development once Sky and HBO’s nuclear drama Chernobyl received widespread acclaim and numerous accolades.