[ RadSafe ] Press Release: 220 Radioactive Sources Removed From Georgia S...

Jim Hardeman Jim_Hardeman at dnr.state.ga.us
Thu Dec 15 15:52:27 CST 2005

Julian et al.
I don't think vaporization would have been the problem. We DID do some analyses prior to the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta that indicated that a small, determined hostile force (don't want to say too much here, but along the lines of what was specified in DBT at the time) could have caused an incident that would have ejected some of the sources from the pool and/or caused the pool water (i.e. the shielding) to go away. Due to the radiation levels, it is doubtful that anyone could have just walked out with one of these sources ... they probably wouldn't have walked too far before CNS set in.
IMHO, the homeland security aspects of this source removal were greatly overplayed. The source removal was a pre-planned part of the decommissioning of the Neely (Nuclear) Research Center in anticipation of its demolition.
My $0.02 worth ... 
Jim Hardeman, Manager
Environmental Radiation Program
Environmental Protection Division
Georgia Department of Natural Resources
4220 International Parkway, Suite 100
Atlanta, GA 30354
(404) 362-2675
Fax: (404) 362-2653
E-mail: Jim_Hardeman at dnr.state.ga.us

>>> <JGinniver at aol.com> 12/15/2005 15:58:31 >>>

>From recent investigations into the properties of Co-60 sources It would  
appear that these sources were pieces of neutron activated metal.  Does  anyone 
have a feel for how easy it is to vaporise these in an  explosion?  If they 
can't be vaporised there is little risk of an  inhalation hazard from a "dirty 
bomb" containing these sources.  Instead  there would be shards of metal that 
would be easy to identify and remove.   The real risk of injury to the public 
would have been from explosion  I  would have thought that the greatest risk 
from terrorists obtaining these  sources would be if they could expose them for a 
prolonged period of time in a  public area without anyone knowing.  But given 
that their loss would have  been noted, the chance of exposing them for an 
extended period would have been  small as they would have been easy to detect 
using airborne or ground based  systems.

While I do think that it appropriate to dispose of redundant sources to a  
suitable facility and in a timely fashion, I don't think that these types of  
sources are the greatest risk for dirty bombs, and it isn't helpful to suggest  
that they are.

Any thoughts?

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