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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Dirty Bombs: The What's and How's

Dirty Bomb Explanation DiagramThe Dirty Bomb is briefly discussed in the post The Fallout Shelter. It was said that a Dirty Bomb is a conventional explosive device to which a radiation source is added. The result is not a nuclear explosion, but a traditional explosion with radioactive fallout dispersed in the nearby environment.

Its Function:
Dirty bombs are not very effective in terms of destruction, they do the exact amount of damage than if they did not contain radioactive elements. This is the primary reason why Dirty Bombs have never been considered in military applications. The Dirty Bomb damage is very immediate as conventional explosives deal only localized damage. If for example, such a bomb would explode in a shopping mall, the structural damage would be contained in the shopping mall. Terrorist groups have in the past, built and deployed Dirty Bombs, but none have ever been detonated. However, in the future, Dirty Bombs are more prone to be used since nuclear waste is more and more common and a full nuclear attack is out of most terrorist organization's budget. The Dirty Bomb is simple to build and very effective for its purpose. It may also be as small as a suitcase bomb and therefore is easily transportable. The most common Dirty Bomb, one that would do reasonable damage would however most probably be in a small cube truck. Such a device could affect the whole commercial area of a city.

Its Purpose:
Dirty Bomb New York City Area of Effect
The Dirty Bomb's purpose is not damage, it's fear. In fact even if there is some radioactive threat to the explosion of such a device, it is not fatal. If a person is far enough not to be incapacitated by the conventional blast, the radioactive fallout won't do much harm. Certain people might be attained of radiation sickness but since the bomb wouldn't disturb the emergency forces, the victims might be treated adequately. The fear factor however is without limit. Citizens have been horrified at the idea of radiation since the cold war. The detonation of a Dirty Bomb would cause as soon as the public would know that the area is radioactive, a massive emigration and state of panic. Even if the area could be safely inhabited, no one would want to live there. Therefore, detonation in a commercial center would deal a significant economic blow to the whole country.

To conclude, even if not very common, citizens should consider what to do in such an event if they live in a high-risk area. The government and general population will most probably be running all over the place.

Keep reading for future posts!

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