Friday, February 27, 2009

Reader Comments – 02-26-09

Yesterday a reader, Roger Helbig, left two comments about an earlier blog on the dead Nazi-wannabe that apparently was trying to make a dirty bomb with depleted uranium. He correctly pointed out that the original story has been updated to reflect that the depleted uranium is not radioactive enough to be considered a component for a dirty bomb. As I noted in a personal reply to Roger, I really am aware that depleted uranium is only slightly radioactive; that is why it is called depleted. It is much less dangerous than the glow-in-the-dark ‘EXIT’ signs that were recently in the news. Unfortunately, if this wacko had constructed a bomb with this material and then detonated it in a public place it would almost certainly have been treated like a dirty bomb, especially if there had been the obligatory propaganda release associated with the blast. The public would have insisted on a ‘thorough’ clean up of the ‘radioactive’ contamination so that they could avoid ‘radiation sickness’; all of this even though there would be probably more danger for an annual dental x-ray. All we have to do is look at the press reaction to the 5-gal containers of chlorine gas that were used in Iraq to contaminate car-bomb scenes. Again, there was little risk from the small amount of chlorine, but it complicated the response and made great publicity. I do want to clarify one of my points in my earlier blog. The ‘radioactive’ cloud that I discussed that would result from a detonating ‘dirty bomb’ at a high-risk chemical plant would require material much more radioactive than depleted uranium if it were to be measurable much past the facility fence line.

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