[ RadSafe ] Dirty Bomb Material Crosses Border

bobcherry at satx.rr.com bobcherry at satx.rr.com
Thu Mar 30 14:30:34 CST 2006

It is an impossible task to completely stop smuggling of drugs, Cuban 
cigars, and people. Should anyone be surprised that trying to stop 
smuggling of radioactive material is any different?

Of course, I am not suggesting that we should not defend against 
smuggling, only that 100 percent success is not possible. And the 
success rate is probably inversely proportional to some extent to the 
amounts being smuggled in a single attempt. This was a small amount of 


----- Original Message -----
From: "Bradt, Clayton (LABOR)" <Clayton.Bradt at labor.state.ny.us>
Date: Thursday, March 30, 2006 11:23 am
Subject: [ RadSafe ] Dirty Bomb Material Crosses Border
To: radsafe at radlab.nl

> According to the NRC, who discussed the report with the GAO before it
> was released, the sources were indeed exempt quantities of Cs-137 
> .   In
> my opinion the Customs officials acted appropriately by wasting 
> time investigating truly trivial amounts of radioactivity.  (If GAO
> thinks letting this material into the country was so bad, how can 
> justify smuggling it into Canada and Mexico in the first place?)
> That NIST would have assured GAO that these sources would have been
> sufficient to construct two dirty bombs, as is asserted in the 
> is troubling.   Either the GAO investigators misunderstood what they
> were told by NIST, or the technical competence of NIST personnel has
> really taken a nose dive.  There is a third possibility of course, 
> GAO report, on this point at least, is simply false.
> This whole Dirty Bomb Scam has bothered me for years.  Anyone who has
> thought seriously about RDDs realizes that they make no sense as
> weapons.  (If they were useful as weapons, you can bet that they 
> be in the US arsenal.)   It's nearly impossible to kill anybody 
> with one
> - at least not within the first decade or so following detonation.
> Still, a significant number of people have been determined to 
> the public and Congress that RDDs constitute a mortal threat to 
> nationalsecurity.  Some slick scaremonger came up with the term 
> "Weapons of Mass
> Disruption" to help sell the scam.  As if the ability of an 
> adversary to
> exploit public ignorance and bureacratic intransigence amounts to
> anything other than a self-inflicted wound.
> The argument that devastating economic disruption would be caused 
> by a
> dirty bomb is based upon the twin assumptions that the American 
> is so incorrigibly radiophobic that it will be incapable of 
> listening to
> reason when told not to panic about a little contamination, and 
> that the
> EPA and other cognizant agencies involved in the clean up will not be
> able to cut through the red tape (and absurdly stringent disposal
> requirements) as necessary to remediate and restore any affected 
> at reasonable cost.  
> If as is claimed, the tiniest amount of radioactivity could be 
> used to
> create panic in the streets, then we are truly screwed. We've already
> lost the war on terrorism.  A broken exit sign - (ten curies of 
> tritium!) - could shut down Wall Street for months bringing the US
> economy to its knees.  A nation at war cannot afford to cherish 
> its pet
> fears.  War planners must learn to concentrate on the real dangers 
> ignore the chicken sh*t.  
> Clayton J. Bradt, CHP
> Principal Radiophysicist
> NYS Dept. of Labor
> phone: (518) 457 1202
> fax:     (518) 485 7406
> e-mail: clayton.bradt at labor.state.ny.us
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