Friday, January 09, 2004

BBC - US fears of 'dirty bomb' - homeless men with radium pellets

BBC NEWS | Americas | Fresh US fears of 'dirty bomb'
Scientists have been secretly testing radiation levels in major US cities as part of the latest security alert, the Washington Post has reported.

The newspaper says officials feared a radioactive "dirty bomb" could target New Year celebrations. It says the government sent out dozens of nuclear scientists with detection equipment hidden in briefcases and golf bags to check for radioactive material...

... The first and only alert came in Las Vegas on 29 December, when detection devices picked up a trace of radiation, the newspaper says.

The White House was notified, but the radiation was found to have come from a cigar-sized radium pellet, used to treat cancer, that a homeless man had found and hidden among his belongings.

Ok ... so substantial hunks of radium pellets are just ... errrr .... lying around? This is supposed to be reassuring? How many cigar sized radium pellets does it take to build a dirty bomb anyway?

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