[ RadSafe ] Dirty Bomb Material Crosses Border

Flood, John FloodJR at nv.doe.gov
Fri Mar 31 13:20:25 CST 2006

I have proposed this idea on Radsafe in the past - the use of a "dirty
bomb" would be require a significant change of personality for
terrorists here in the early 21st century.  A terrorist attack is
primarily a publicity stunt to focus attention on the cause to which the
terrorist is devoted.  The standard means of getting that publicity has
been the body count -  the attack needs to succeed at killing people
and, if the group responsible isn't obvious at that time, they "claim
responsibility" to ensure the desired kind of attention.

To switch to causing economic harm or the threat of a slow death instead
of immediate would be a complete turnabout.  And use of radioactive
material to contaminate an area could backfire.  The aftermath -
assessment of the immediate impact and the cleanup - may be a very good
demonstration to the public that their fears of radiation never were
necessary.  I suggest that no terrorist group cares to risk such a
colossal flop.

Given the kinds of attacks in recent years - 911, the train systems in
Europe - terrorist organizations have adequate technical expertise and
organizational skills to understand the danger to themselves if they try
to assemble and deliver a large enough dirty bomb to be spectacular, and
that the likelihood of delivering it undetected is too low to make such
an attack an attractive prospect.  They should also have enough
expertise to understand attach with a small dirty bomb could ultimately
be viewed as laughable by the population they attacked.

One man's opinion.

Bob Flood
Nevada Test Site

More information about the RadSafe mailing list