Dec 03 2007

Suddenly A Lot Of Concern About Nuclear Dirty Bombs

Published by at 6:09 pm under All General Discussions,Bin Laden/GWOT

It seems we have multiple, parallel stories concerning the threat of nuclear dirty bombs which could indicate a disturbing coincidence. The first was renewed warnings out of the UK of a dirty bomb attack around Christmas:

The home secretary, Jacqui Smith, today warned that the threat of terror attacks in public places, including from radioactive dirty bombs, was “growing”.

She asked the public to remain vigilant over the Christmas period but urged them to get on with their daily lives.

Although Smith did not suggest there was a specific threat, she highlighted how the number of people tracked by the intelligence services because of suspected involvement in terror plots had risen from 1,600 to 2,000 in just a year.

“I think that the analysis that says this is a threat, a serious level of threat that will be with us over a period of time, is right,” she said. “If we look at the trends it is something that is growing at the moment.

OK, no specific threat but clearly some chatter is out there making the UK concerned. Given the fact Polonium was being smuggled into the UK last year and killed on man (Alexander Litvinenko) and poisoned two others (Dimitry Kovtun and Andre Lugovoi) I can appreciate the UK’s concern with contraband nuclear material.

The next story to hit was the capture of three people selling enriched Uranium in Slovakia:

Two Hungarians and a Ukrainian have been arrested for allegedly trying to sell half a kilogram of enriched uranium that could have been used in a ‘dirty bomb’, Slovak police said last Thursday.

“This uranium is all the more dangerous because it is powdered,” CTK news agency reported Slovak deputy police chief Michal Kopcik as saying. “According to the first findings, it could have been used for a production of a dirty bomb and terrorist attacks of various kinds.”

The Slovak organised crime unit, working in conjunction with Hungarian police, arrested the three men at the eastern Pribenik-Lácacséke border crossing between Hungary and Slovakia last Wednesday. The men allegedly planned to sell 481.4 grams of uranium, which Slovak police said originated in the former Soviet Union, for USD 3,500 dollars per gram. The prospective buyers of the radioactive material were not arrested, however. The seizure was made before the transaction took place. Police have not said who the buyers were.

It is a bit unnerving the buyers are not under arrest. I hope the buyers were undercover agents, but I get the feeling they may not have been. OK, two stories related to a nuclear dirty bomb can be a coincidence. What about a third story about dirty bomb threats out of Israel?

Israel has tightened security at its airports, seaports and border crossings—increasing both technological surveillance as well as information gathering efforts —in order to thwart attempts at smuggling radioactive materials into the country.

These materials could potentially be used in the production of a “dirty bomb” that could be detonated within Israel.

A senior Israeli security official stated that, “There is growing concern regarding ‘dirty bombs’ among Israeli anti-terrorism units. They work at thwarting such potential attacks on a daily basis.”

Finally, there is a story of rehearsals for a dirty bomb attack here in the US just recently in New Jersery:

Rarely does the Salvation Army hand out hot chocolate before the dirty bomb explodes.

But on a dreary Thursday morning, warmth needed to come before the mock-disaster. Emergency responders from all levels of government, including the military, converged on Rifle Camp Park for a training exercise that was straight out of the Fox network’s “24”: A radiological “dirty” bomb has exploded and several agencies must contain the mess.

I find it very disturbing there is ‘growing concerns in the US, UK and Israel to dirty bomb attacks. I don’t think we can discount four similar stories coming out within a few weeks of each other across the globe as simple coincidence. I hope they are. But it seems there truly is a heightened sense of concern.

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Suddenly A Lot Of Concern About Nuclear Dirty Bombs”

  1. crosspatch says:

    What if instead of ordinary atomic bombs, Iran decides to go into the dirty bomb making business. No chance of a fizzle, and networks are probably already in place to carry out the operations.

  2. Sara says:

    I blogged about the Slovakia uranium find last week. It wasn’t just enriched uranium, it was “highly enriched” to the tune of 98.6%. I meant to comment here and ask when you were going to give us the benefit of your expertise, but got busy and forgot. From the Slovakia article, with pictures, it looked really scary.

    Here is the link to my post with the pictures:

    Dirty Bomb