Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Radioactive Sources, Come Home!

One way to prevent a dirty bomb attack is to restrict access to radiological materials. The NTI Newswire reports that Los Alamos has brought 15,000 radioactive sources back to roost:

The Los Alamos National Laboratory has recovered more than 15,000 U.S. radioactive sources, ensuring they are not used in a radiological "dirty bomb," the National Nuclear Security Administration announced May 7.

The sources, collected through the Global Threat Reduction Initiative, come from U.S. medical, academic, agricultural, research and industrial entities that no longer need the material.
This is a nice protective intervention, though it doesn't eliminate the threat, of course. There are millions of radioactive sources in the world, though only a small fraction of them are suitable for use in a high-grade dirty bomb. The number would be in the tens of thousands. (Good background in this paper.)

Still, it's good to get these sources under control. Unneeded sources are more likely to become orphaned and used for nefarious purposes.

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