Although little discussion is made of dirty bombs, I would like to use this opportunity to talk about these radioactive dangers and how they would relate to preppers. A dirty bomb is a radiological dispersal device which combines radioactive material with the forces of a conventional explosive. Its primary purpose is to distribute radioactive material within a specific area by using explosives as the dispersal agent. Its intent is not so much as to destroy or to kill massive numbers of civilians but rather to serve as a denial device preventing entry into the bombed location.
Far too often the unknowledgeable person confuses such a bomb with a fission type of nuclear explosion which is not the case. These bombs do not produce blast effects. In reality there are minimal hazards from the blast of a such a devise. As for its lethal affects it is no more damaging than the explosive used to disperse it. It is ineffective when used in large areas of concentration intended to lame and kill innocent civilians.
As an effective nuclear device it is basically a failure as there is not enough radiation to successfully cause death or severe illness unless the victim is in the immediate area of the blast. It was determined that if a person where to remain in the affected area for a period of one year excluding any clean-up efforts, the radiation exposure would fail to be fatal. This is the prime rationale for many people not viewing dirty bombs as weapons of mass destruction.
In the hands of a terrorist cell or a lone wolf terrorist the purpose of the dirty bomb would be more for the psychological effect which the device would have on the population rather than its physical consequences. The terrorist is aware that such an event taking place would likely cause mass panic, and widespread fear. Terrorist groups have gripped the hearts of most people including survivalists and preppers frequently perpetuating the thought of possible events such as those which took place on September 11th. Fear has grown within the minds of our population that terrorist cells will obtain a dirty bombs and use it in some strategic location again unsuspecting civilians.
At the end of 1998, the Chechen Security Service discovered an abandoned container which held some radioactive materials. The box was attached to an explosive device so it can be seem that these bombs are in existence and can be used by terrorist groups at some point in time. Theoretically, un-enriched radioactive material can not be utilized to make a conventional fission type nuclear weapon however it is totally possible that it could be converted to a dirty bomb. Usually when one talks about radioactive material they immediately think of uranium. This is definitely a failed thought since the low radioactivity in the uranium makes it a poor candidate even for use as a dirty bomb. I have always been instructed that a dirty bomb is generally too much of a failure for terrorists to concern themselves with it. There simply is not enough “bang” for the buck, so to speak. Its only impact upon the population is psychological fear. There is little or minor economic impact associated with dirty bombs since their effective range is usually less than a block or so.
Perhaps these are some of the reasons that current terrorist groups have avoided the use of dirty bombs in their arsenal of fear. We can only hope that they fail to develop an effective means of causing death and destruction with these devices. Of interest is that with these types of RDD incidents the risk of developing cancer later in life is comparatively small. To many people this is no consolidation since people are especially fearful of any types of radiation exposure. As survivalists we should pass the word to our non-survivalist friend and family that they should not be overly concerned and fearful that a dirty bomb can take out their family. Naturally as always we should use proper precautions and exercise due vital in our activities.
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