Could dirty bombs be the next terrorist threat?
Are dirty bombs now more likely?
An article in The Times by Christopher Andrew (published 24 June 2018) argues that: “the WMD most likely to be used by future militant Islamist terrorists are “dirty bombs” constructed from a combination of radioactive material and conventional explosive.”
You can read the full article at this link (paywall): https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/islamists-have-fled-the-battlefield-to-plot-mass-murder-with-a-dirty-bomb-8qtfsww82
What is a dirty bomb?
A dirty bomb is any nuclear material wrapped around a core of conventional explosives. The explosion causes initial damage, loss of life and injury plus disperses radioactive material over a wide area. This makes it an easier option for a terrorist group. They do not have to master the complex engineering and steal the highly radioactive material to form the nuclear core, they simply have to build a conventional bomb.
Spreading radioactive material over an area of a city or other target areas would create disruption out of all proportion to the initial explosion. The area impacted could be uninhabitable for years and may drive civilians out of the immediate area precipitating an economic collapse of the city. The radioactive material may remain harmful for years but the fear of entering the area may linger for decades.
Kromek radiation detectors for CBRN specialists
Kromek makes a range of radiation detectors specifically aimed at dirty bomb (also knows as a radiological dispersal device) detection. The Kromek D3S is a wearable radiation detector coupled to a mobile phone app that can detect and identify radioactive isotopes in seconds, it also detects neutrons which are likely to come from shielded nuclear material – in other words, nuclear material being purposefully concealed against detection.