Dirty bombs

Background - June 27, 2006
The International Atomic Energy Agency attempts to keep track of all kinds of radioactive materials as they move around the globe. However as the world's nuclear reactors continue to produce waste, and the nuclear five nations persist in having a military nuclear programs.

If this is a controlled exploision - what would a dirty-bomb do?

Tons of nuclear material are unaccounted for. One potential use for this material is in dirty bombs.

A dirty bomb is not a nuclear weapon that creates a large blast. Rather, it is a combination of a traditional explosive attached to radioactive material designed to spread radioactive matter to create an area of contamination.

Potentially there is a considerable range of possible dirty bomb designs. Different explosive materials, applied in different quantities, would generate explosions of varying sizes, and different types and quantities of radioactive material would contaminate an area to different degrees.

The primary danger from the use of a dirty bomb is the explosive blast itself, even if the bomb uses a low-level radioactive source. Estimating exactly how much radiation might be at the site of the explosion would be difficult if the source of the radiation is unknown. The radioactive dust and smoke could spread and be dangerous to health if inhaled.

In light of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, government and industry are trying to placate us by implementing additional measures to provide security against intentional misuse of radioactive sources. However there is so much of it around that it is practically imposible, as engineering industries and health services also routinely use radioactive materials.

No amount of security can stop this threat, the only way is to create a nuclear-free planet.

Find out more:

Remember that renewables are the future!

Read about he Real Face of the IAEA's Multilateral Nuclear Approaches, the proliferation of nuclear weapon material & environmental contamination report

Download our Nuclear Glossary.