Go to contents

‘Dirty Bomb’ Fear in America.

Posted June. 12, 2002 00:06,   


US government has reported that the terrorist suspect (photo) has been arrested. More and more people are becoming interested in how dangerous the ‘dirty bomb’ is and whether Al Qaeda has obtained the radioactive material to make the ‘dirty bomb’.

Also a criticism is aroused on whether there isn’t any political background on this report.

▽Impact of the ‘dirty bomb’〓Experts have said the dirty bomb is not so deadly, but it can cause social chaos and the resulting economical losses is more concerned.

On 11th, New York Times has reported that a dirty bomb consists of radioactive material packed around conventional explosives and the terrorist are attempting to scare people according to John Foston senior, the professor of the nuclear engineering at Texas A&M University.

Also, Philip Andersen Ph.D. of International Strategy Research Center said if a TNT bomb of 4000 pound with 1.5 pound of cesium (radioactive isotope) is detonated in front of the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, homes and work places will not be polluted more than merely 25% of the usual pollution, but people will try to escape the area.

On 10th, CNN has reported, “A dirty bomb will not cause more casualties than the conventional explosives depending on the wind and evacuation speed, but the fear of radioactive material will paralyze the city and the economy will be badly damaged.”

According to what American Institute of Physics has reported in March, “There won’t be many cancer patients by the dirty bomb. Rather, there would be more casualties of traffic accident while evacuating the site, or those killed by heart attacks because of the stress.

▽Possibility of Al Qaeda’s possession of radioactive material〓To make a dirty bomb, special technology is not required but only some radio active material. Plutonium or Uranium which are used to build nuclear weapon are hard to obtain, but the radioactive substances used for medical or industrial purposes are easy to get hands on.

On 11th, the New York Times has reported that “Radioactive substances are distributed in 2 million places all over US, and more than 21 thousand people have the license to handle the substances. Thefts or losses of radioactive substances are reported to be around 107 cases within the 6 months period from Oct, last year to Mar. this year. ”

Washington Post has reported in March that the US government grasped that Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda had obtained Strontium 90 and Cesium 137, the artificial radioactive isotopes.

Also Washington Post has reported on 11th, “Bin Laden’s ware house of the radioactive substances seems to be located somewhere in the East Asia, and US army has failed to find it in Afghanistan. The terrorists used to try to smuggle the radioactive substances, but now they are trying to buy of steal it.”

After the ‘911 terror’, the US government has distributed 4000 portable radioactive sensors to the customs to block the radioactive substances from entering Washington and New York.

▽Background of the Announcement〓The Ministry of Justice’s announcement of the foiling the dirty bomb terror plot has nothing to do with politics, according to the spokesperson of the White House, Fleisher. However, the New York Times reported on 11th, “It is important to be prepared for any terror, but mentioning a ‘nuclear terror’ has gone too far.” And it also depicted that the announcement must be related to the Bush’s new strategy for the Department of Homeland Security or the counter terror activities of the congress.