Defusing The Terror

A dirty bomb is nothing at all like a true nuke, but it can still do real damage. A little knowledge can help you separate alarming fact from alarmist fiction

--WHAT IS A "DIRTY BOMB"?

It's a lot less than you might think. In a genuine nuclear bomb, enriched uranium or plutonium is explosively compressed, fracturing atomic bonds and releasing a cataclysmic blast of intense radiation. A dirty bomb is little more than a pipe bomb with radioactive rubbish packed into it.

--DO THE BOMBS WORK?

Not really, at least not in the way most people think. Because a limited amount of low-level radiation is dispersed over a wide area, a fatal dose is very difficult to deliver. Virtually all the fatalities would be caused by the explosion--tragic enough but nothing...

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