recommended reading

U.S. Confirms Effort to Phase Out Selected 'Dirty Bomb' Materials

A simulated radioactive "dirty bomb" explodes on a bus which was used to test the ability of federal and local agencies to deal with a real terrorist attack.

A simulated radioactive "dirty bomb" explodes on a bus which was used to test the ability of federal and local agencies to deal with a real terrorist attack. // Rick Bowmer/AP File Photo

U.S. officials confirmed on Monday that they will launch an effort to help limit the prospect of "dirty bomb" attacks by working to phase out certain radiological materials.

"The United States intends to establish an international research effort on the feasibility of replacing high-activity radiological sources with non-isotopic replacement technologies, with the goal of producing a global alternative by 2016," states a U.S. "progress report," released Monday at the Nuclear Security Summit in the Netherlands.

This unilateral "house gift" that U.S. officials offered at the biennial gathering of world leaders follows calls from nonproliferation advocates for the United States and United Kingdom to lead an effort that could enable a global phase-out of selected radiological materials used in the medical field.

As Global Security Newswire reported last week, a report from James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies suggested that hospitals and blood banks move away from the use of cesium chloride. The radioactive substance presently is used for irradiating blood prior to transfusion, in order to prevent a rare but lethal complication known as graft-versus-host disease.

Paired with conventional explosives, such substances could potentially be dispersed over a wide area in a dirty bomb attack, creating dangerous contamination.

The report says blood could be irradiated instead with electromagnetic radiation, such as X-rays or ultraviolet light, or by linear accelerators that many hospitals already have on hand for cancer treatments.

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Close [ x ] More from Nextgov
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from Nextgov.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Modernizing IT for Mission Success

    Surveying Federal and Defense Leaders on Priorities and Challenges at the Tactical Edge

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • Effective Ransomware Response

    This whitepaper provides an overview and understanding of ransomware and how to successfully combat it.

    Download
  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.