AW: [ RadSafe ] " Port gets dirty-bomb detectors "

Brennan, Mike (DOH) Mike.Brennan at DOH.WA.GOV
Wed May 9 11:08:21 CDT 2007

Hi, Clayton.

I agree: from everything I've seen the State programs have done well at
regulating rad with no fanfare.  While I think part of this is due to a
focus on getting the job done, I suspect part is due to getting burned
almost every time rad gets mentioned in the news.  

On the flip side, I am skeptical of any groups ability to collect enough
radioactive material together that, when they blow it up and disperse it
over hundreds, or thousands, of square meters, it will still be an
actual health risk.  Depending on what they start with, it might not
even be that hard to clean up (you can find the chunks with a survey
meter, after all).  It will be mostly a Public Relations move.  In this,
they will have found common ground with the politicians: Adding a little
rad powers bigger headlines.  
-----Original Message-----
From: radsafe-bounces at [mailto:radsafe-bounces at] On
Behalf Of Clayton J Bradt
Sent: Wednesday, May 09, 2007 7:03 AM
To: radsafe at
Subject: Re:AW: [ RadSafe ] " Port gets dirty-bomb detectors "

Dr. Schoehofer wrote:

>Isn't there enough radioactive material in the USA and/or Canada (and 
>any other one) so that would-be terrorists would not need to smuggle it

>into these countries?

The short answer is: Yes.

But, given the superb job that the States do regulating radioactive
materials in the USA, the probability of a terrorist cell getting their
hands on enough material to make a serious (that is, lethal) dirty bomb
without being detected is practically non-existent.

A previous commenter alluded to the politically undesirable condition of
"not being seen doing something effective."  This very aptly describes
what the State radiation control programs have been accomplishing for
nearly five decades.

For the feds however, such quiet efficiency is intolerable.  Being seen
doing something - even if it's a complete waste of time and resources -
is THE moral imperative for any federal agency. So installing portal
monitors at the borders and pressuring our trading partners to do
likewise has become inevitable, regardless of its effectiveness.

Clayton J. Bradt, CHP
Assistant Bureau Director
NYS Dept. of Health

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