crude version. (Forrest and Howard, 2013). The Difference Between Realized Damage Potential and Psychological Effect RDD have been in the public vocabulary since 9/11, often creating irrational fears emanating from misinformation. Indeed, one valuable effect of RDD is already in place and has created an environment of hastily conceived actions and societal instability. “To a very large extent, though, the effects of a radiological weapon are dependent on the type of material used: while weapons-grade plutonium might cause limited damage, other elements, such as cesium, or even radioactive waste, are potentially lethal, very rapidly.” (Forest and Howard, 2013). The severity of the effects of an RDD depend on a lot of factors, but generally speaking, the greater the impact, the greater technological sophistication the device possessed. The realized physical damage, regarding the weakening of infrastructure and fatalities, from what would most likely be a low-technology weapon would not be too apparent, but if the event were made known to have happened, its virtual blast radius would
RELEASING THE RADIOLOGICAL HOUNDS 5 envelop a large portion of society. A weapon of mass disruption as opposed to mass destruction. How to build a better…bomb? In general, there are four types of nuclear and radiological terrorism: 1. The acquisition and detonation of an intact nuclear weapon from a nation state’s arsenal; 2. The acquisition of weapons-usable fissile material such as a highly enriched uranium or plutonium, in order to make and detonate an improvised nuclear device (IND), which is a crude nuclear explosive; 3. An attack on or sabotage of nuclear facilities such as nuclear power plants spent fuel pools, other radioactive waste storage or processing facilities, or research reactors in order to disperse radioactive material; 4. The acquisition of radioactive materials from commercially available devices or other radioactive materials in order to build a radiological weapon that disperses radioactive material or emits ionizing radiation. (Ferguson and Smith, 2009). In the unlikely event of a successful RDD, the most prevalent method would be the fourth type. The first three methods mentioned above would render the typical terrorist ‘lone nut' or organization ill-equipped and technologically impotent to achieve. "Therefore, an incident that is not intended to cause mass casualties, but aims to achieve political or economic extortion, is the most plausible type of radiological terrorism." (Forrest and Howard, 2013). While at best, this attack is possible, the other three options would require the availability of advanced technologies, either by theft or black market purchase, or advanced tactics or an insider threat to penetrate the vital areas of nuclear producing, storage, and processing facilities. Option four could and would probably involve theft of low-grade nuclear materials such as Cesium-137 in X-ray equipment.
RELEASING THE RADIOLOGICAL HOUNDS 6 With so many possibilities, which should I chose to irradiate Times Square?
- Spring '17
- Bernard J. (B.J.) Zapor
- Radioactive Decay, Terrorism, WMD, Ionizing radiation, Nuclear weapon, Lists of nuclear disasters and radioactive incidents, weapons of mass destruction, Nuclear fallout