RBC Shield, LLC

"The Complete WMD Protection Solution"

RADIOLOGICAL THREATS:
"Dirty Bombs" or "Radiological Delivery Device"

"The chance of an attack with a weapon of mass destruction somewhere in the world in the next 10 years runs as high as 70 percent, arms experts have predicted in a U.S. survey. Most of the more than 80 experts surveyed in the report released... [in 2005] ...believed one or two new countries will acquire nuclear weapons in the next five years, with two to five countries joining the nuclear club during the next decade.

The survey, commissioned by U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard Lugar...[indicated that]... The most likely scenario for a nuclear attack would be for terrorists to use a weapon they made themselves with material acquired on the black market, the survey said."1

"It may be only a matter of time before al Qaeda or another group attempts to use chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons."2

There are two primary reasons for this high probability:

Increased Availability of Materials to Make a Dirty Bomb

  • After spending a billion dollars per year for the last several years: "All reactors in the USA, Russia and Eastern Europe have adequate security, according to the National Nuclear Security Administration and Holly Harrington of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission... That leaves 47 reactors with inadequate or questionable security in China, Ghana, Jamaica, Pakistan and Uzbekistan, according to an International Atomic Energy Agency list. There are also research reactors in countries hostile toward the United States, including Iran and North Korea."3 Most of these reactors use highly enriched uranium.
  • A leading expert from the National Nuclear Security Administration reported in September of 2007 that there are approximately 3,500 pounds of bomb-grade uranium and plutonium held in these civilian facilities "outside Russian or Western-military control."4
  • In the U.S., the security of irradiation machines in hospitals and research facilities has also come under criticism from a highly respected source. The Defense Science Board, a panel of scientists who advise the Pentagon and the CIA, has called for the replacement of the Cesium-137 (one of the most dangerous and long-lasting radioactive materials) with less dangerous materials in the 1,000+ irradiation machines in these facilities. The panel stated that, "Any one of these 1,000-plus sources could shut down 25 square kilometers, anywhere in the United States for 40-plus years." The Board reported that the machines are in relatively unprotected locations and may be a tempting source of radioactive materials for terrorists who want to make bombs that can disperse radioactive debris over large areas."5
  • Ironically, the easiest source of radioactive materials for terrorists might be U.S. suppliers! In 2007, undercover congressional investigators posing as West Virginia businessmen, "using a post-office box at Mail Boxes Etc., a telephone and a fax machine... obtained a Nuclear Regulatory Commission license "without ever leaving their desks," that enabled them to buy enough Cesium-137 to build a dirty bomb --- and it only took 28 days. "It was as easy to get this material as a DVD at Netflix," said Senator Coleman, who requested the sting operation.6

Inadequate Security (National & International)

  • In December of 2005, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) demonstrated how easy it is to smuggle radioactive materials into the United States. Their investigators succeeded in smuggling enough radioactive material past Customs Inspectors in Texas and Washington State to make two dirty bombs -- and this was at manned locations!7
  • It would be even easier along the unmanned portions of our borders with Mexico and Canada. The 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico Border and the 4,000 mile U.S.-Canadian border both provide countless opportunities for undetected, land-based entry of smuggled radioactive materials. A review of the security of the U.S.-Canadian border was released in September 2007. The review was conducted by a team of government investigators. The investigators concluded:

    "That border is so long. Security on that border has really not increased too much since the French and Indian Wars, frankly. Our work shows that a determined cross-border violator would likely be able to bring radioactive materials... into the United States by crossing the U.S.-Canada border at any of the locations we investigated."8

    One senator stated after reviewing the report stated, "They're simply wide open, waiting to be crossed by anyone carrying anything — even a dirty bomb or a suitcase-type nuclear device."9

  • Then, consider the radioactive smuggling opportunities presented by the unprotected portions of the 12,479 miles of U.S. coastline, and then there are the opportunities available for smuggling of radioactive materials in the 2.5 million cargo containers that enter the seaports of the U.S. each month. Sixty percent of U.S. seaports do not have portal radiation detectors and could not detect any such attempt.10

Sources/Footnotes

  1. CNN (online), "High risk' of WMD attack in decade," June 21, 2005.
  2. Quoting Porter J. Goss, fomer Director of the CIA to the Senate Intelligence Committee: Jehl, Douglas , " U.S. Aides Cite Worry on Qaeda Infiltration From Mexico," New York Times, February 17 2005.
  3. Statements made by Linton Brooks, Director of the National Nuclear Security Administration to John Diamond, USA TODAY, March 26, 2006.
  4. Vartabedian, Ralph, "A Race With Terrorists," Los Angeles Times, September 27, 2007.
  5. Hess, Pamela, "Experts Worried About Irradiation Machines," Associated Press, October 9, 2007.
  6. Day, Kathleen, "Sting Reveals Security Gap at Nuclear Agency," Washington Post, July 12, 2007, A01.
  7. Government Accountability Office, Border Security, investigators Transported Radioactive Sources Across Our Nation's Borders at Two Locations, GAO-06-583T, March 28, 2006.
  8. Alberts, Sheldon, "Probe of U.S.-Canada border finds 'gaping security holes. Simulated smugglers of contraband report lapses in American vigilance," Times-Colonist, September 28, 2007.
  9. Ibid.
  10. Strohm, Chris, "White House, Congress Urged to Step Up Efforts to Prevent Nuclear Attack," CongressDaily, National Journal Group, Washington, D.C., March 28, 2006.