Dirty bombs : the technical aspects of radiological dispersion devices
Visger, Benjamin Felix
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Considering the ever-rising threat of terrorist attack and disruption of the economy and of daily activity, the potential strength of a radiological dispersion device must be evaluated. A "dirty bomb" is a weapon in the terrorist arsenal that is highly effective in creating chaos, panic and disruption. All of the immediate deaths caused by a "dirty bomb" are due to blast effects, however the public association with radiation and nuclear devices is one of fear and hyperbole. The individuals and agencies that respond to this type of event will have the greatest impact on the general public. By looking at case studies and potential scenarios or exercises the first responder can appreciate the nature of radiation as well as its impact on response. The goal of this paper is to provide first responders with basic information on nuclear physics and expose relevant issues in responding to a radiological dispersion device. An understandable link between nuclear physics and radiation response does exist.
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