Accession Number:

ADA467145

Title:

Terrorist "Dirty Bombs": A Brief Primer

Descriptive Note:

Congressional rept.

Corporate Author:

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WASHINGTON DC CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

2004-04-01

Pagination or Media Count:

7.0

Abstract:

Many fear a terrorist attack with a radiological dispersal device RDD. RDDs may scatter radioactive material with an explosive a dirty bomb or other means. Radioactive atoms are unstable as they decay, they emit electromagnetic radiation or subatomic particles that can damage cells. Many legitimate activities worldwide use radioactive materials. This congressional report examines the following aspects of RDDs differences between RDDs and nuclear weapons the process by which RDDs decay and release their radioactivity the meaning of the term half-life biological effects of radiation sources of radioactive materials, including medical equipment, oil well gauges, research labs, etc. the effectiveness of RDDs preventing an RDD attack by securing and controlling radioactive sources detection of RDDs advance steps the government can take to minimize the effects of an RDD attack and how the government would respond to an RDD attack. This report will be updated. Nuclear and Radiological Terrorism, in the CRS electronic briefing book on terrorism, tracks developments. This report does not address nuclear power-related issues. For information on that subject, see CRS Report RS21131, Nuclear Powerplants Vulnerability to Terrorist Attack.

Subject Categories:

  • Civil Defense
  • Chemical, Biological and Radiological Warfare
  • Radioactivity, Radioactive Wastes and Fission Products

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE