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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Increasing concern over the prospect of a dirty bomb

YNet reported on Sunday that Israel's security services are increasingly concerned over the prospect of a 'dirty bomb.' With good reason:
A “dirty bomb”, which is essentially a low grade nuclear weapon, is far less lethal than an atomic bomb, but can still lead to massive casualties and injuries should it be employed. It basically consists of an ordinary explosive “laced” with radioactive materials. When detonated, these nuclear materials then emit dangerous levels of radiation, which can quickly spread across a rather large area.


According to experts, only a rudimentary knowledge of explosives is needed in order to put together this “poor man’s nuke”.

Attaining radioactive materials is equally - and frighteningly—simple. Hospitals and medical research facilities, various industrial plants, and, of course nuclear plants and facilities all regularly discard radioactive materials that can be used to produce “dirty bombs”.

The former Soviet Union, in particular, appears to be a hotbed for those seeking ingredients for a “dirty bomb”. Lax regulation of nuclear facilities following the collapse of the Soviet bloc makes it relatively simple for arms dealers and other criminal syndicates to deal in, and sell, radioactive materials coming from these sites.

Invariably, these illicit materials find their way to al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations. Only last Wednesday, three suspects were arrested at the Slovak-Hungarian border after trying to sell roughly a pound of enriched Uranium, typically used as fuel in nuclear facilities. Enriched Uranium is a prime ingredient for “dirty bombs” and other nuclear weapons.
And in this madness, most of the world (including Israel recently) is too worried about political correctness to allow 'profiling' as a means of isolating terrorists from innocent passengers at airports.


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