IRAQ AND RDDs
Iraq tested a RDD bomb in 1987 according to a secret Iraqi report on theweapon¶s construction and testing. It was a conventional bomb filled with radioactivematerials - apparently, spent fuel from research reactors. The report stated thatradiation sickness would ³weaken enemy units from the standpoint of health and inflictlosses that would be difficult to explain, possibly producing an adverse psychologicaleffect.´
That same year Iraq developed radiological weapons with short half-livescalculated to contaminate large areas and cause long-term genetic damage yet wouldbe virtually undetectable after a few months. The problem the Iraqis discovered wasdispersal. The power of radiation, like that of light, falls off as the square of the distancefrom the source. A RDD may contain enough radiation to kill a person at close range,yet when exploded to a mere 100-feet radius the radiation is about one ten-thousandthas deadly as the un-exploded material.
While a radiological dispersal would not pose immediate, acute health problemsfor the general public, the public could experience measurable increases in cancer mortality over a period of decades after such an event. Moreover, releases at the sitecould also have environmental consequences requiring hundreds of millions to billionsof dollars to clean up. Contamination could also affect habitability for tens of miles fromthe site, possibly affecting hundreds of thousands of residents for many years.
TheIraqi¶s attempted development of an RDD was poetic justice. There an increase inchildhood cancer deaths due to depleted uranium used in America¶s weapons duringthe Gulf War. The American government insisted the uranium in the bullets was notradioactive enough to be classed as a radiological weapon yet those tank-killing shellsturned the Iraqi desert into a permanently radioactive area. Usama bin Ladencommented, ³What does the destruction of the infrastructure in Iraq mean and thetragedy that befell them mean? And the use of depleted uranium, besieging Iraq for years, causing the death of more than one million children that amazed all who hadvisited Iraq, including the Westerners themselves? It is a malicious crusade againstMuslims.´
In May 2004, the American Department of Energy announced the creation of the
Global Threat Reduction Initiative
later institutionalized in the
Office of Global Radiological Threat Reduction
, with a domestic component, the
U.S. Radiological Threat Reduction Program
, and an international component, the
International Radiological Threat Reduction Program
This makes it more difficult to smuggle abomb into America. Now that Federal inspectors who ask incoming travelers for their passports carry radiation detectors on their belts we plan to ship this deadly mixture to
1. William J. Broad ³Iraq tested bomb meant to cast radioactive cloud 1987 experiments called 'moral barbarism'´
New York Times
April 29, 2001, San Francisco Chronicle - Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control, a private group in Washington that said itacquired document from a U.N. official.
. William Scott Malone Blacknet Dispatch.