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How to make a dirty bomb

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... term health hazards, immense psychological effects, and decontamination and ... John Gibbons, chief of clinical physics at Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center and ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: How to make a dirty bomb


1
How to make a dirty bomb
  • Fissile and non-fissile nuclear materials shipped
    illicitly into the United States pose a serious
    threat to U.S. national security, as does the
    possible existence of clandestine undeclared
    nuclear materials processing facilities.
  • Few groups possess the technical expertise and
    sophistication to produce an efficient nuclear
    bomb. However, highly effective weapons of mass
    destruction and radiological dispersion devices
    (RDDs) could be assembled from readily available
    materials.

2
  • Terrorist and criminal groups have demonstrated
    the ability to obtain small quantities of weapons
    grade 235U and 239Pu, and 137Cs, 60Co, and 241Am
    are available as medical wastes and in commercial
    irradiators.
  • Numerous studies and incidents in which nuclear
    materials have been accidentally released have
    shown the damage that could potentially result if
    a Curie or less of pulverized or aerosolized
    nuclear material were to be released in a crowded
    population center by even a low power
    conventional explosive.

3
  • In the case of the 1987 incident in Goiânia,
    Brazil, a quantity of powdered 137CsCl from a
    scavenged radioteletherapy machine was
    accidentally released. Although only a few deaths
    resulted, cleanup and decontamination costs
    amounted to approximately 20M and economic
    losses have been estimated to be hundreds of
    millions of dollars.
  • Studies have suggested that 1 10 Curies of
    137Cs or 241Am, amounts characteristic of medical
    gauges and oil well surveying sources, released
    and dispersed with a few pounds of TNT in
    downtown Manhattan or Washington, DC might result
    in long term health hazards, immense
    psychological effects, and decontamination and
    cleanup costs possibly in excess of 50B.

4
  • Muller is correct A dirty bomb attack on this
    scale would result in very few deaths. But it
    would have immense effects nevertheless.
  • Note 1 Curie is the amount of material that
    produces 3.7 x 1010 radioactive decays per
    second, equivalent to 1 gram of radium.

5
First, recall the different forms of energetic
radiation we have talked about
  • X-rays Light with wavelength size of an atom,
    used for medical imaging therapy,
    nondestructive testing (e.g., examining luggage
    at airports, checking weld joints, measuring size
    of heads of lettuce, food irradiation to kill
    germs, etc.).

American Science Engineering
6
  • Gamma rays (g rays) Light with wavelengths
    factor of 10- perhaps several thousand times
    smaller (and energies correspondingly higher)
    than x-rays, used for testing in places where
    deep penetration is required (e.g., monitoring
    cargos in shipping containers in a harbor).

John Gibbons, chief of clinical physics at Mary
Bird Perkins Cancer Center and an adjunct
professor in the Dept. of Physics Astronomy,
has helped introduce a new treatment for a rare
form of eye cancer, choroidal melanoma, in which
low-dose radiation is applied to the affected
area in an ingenious way Radioactive "seeds"
about 3 millimeters long are placed inside a
solid gold cap, or plaque, that is attached to
the eyeball. Approximately two thousand new cases
of choroidal melanoma are diagnosed in the United
States every year. Gibbons' new treatment
procedure is available through a partnership
between Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center and Our
Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center and is
described in the March 25, 2008 issue of the
Baton Rouge Business Report.
7
  • Alpha particles ionized helium nuclei, very
    lightly penetrating, can be stopped by outer
    layer of skin, dangerous if ingested
  • Alpha emitters may be used to treat cancer by
    injecting small amounts directly into the tumor.
  • 210Polonium serves as a static eliminator. The
    alpha particles, due to their positive charge,
    attract loose electrons, thus reducing static
    charge.
  • Smoke detectors use the alphas from 241Americium
    to produce an electric current in a small gap.
    When smoke particles enter the device, they
    interrupt the current and set off the alarm.

8
  • Beta particles (electrons) Travel several feet
    in air
  • Medical treatments (131Iodine is absorbed by
    thyroid, used to treat thyroid disorders)
  • Phosphorus-32 is used in molecular biology and
    genetics research.
  • 90Strontium and tritium (3H) are used as
    radioactive tracers (e.g., tracing ground water,
    sources of pollutants).
  • Tritium is used for luminous dials, gauges and
    wrist watches.
  • 14Carbon is used in radioactive dating.
  • Beta emitters are used to measure thickness of
    very thin materials.

9
  • Cosmic rays

10
Using penetrating cosmic rays to search for
hidden chambers in pyramids.
  • Neutrinos Extremely penetrating
  • Neutrinos that penetrate the Earth are used to
    study particle physics effects and measure the
    rate of nuclear reactions in the Suns core

11
137Cs-accident, Goiânia, Brazil September 13, 1987
Goiânia
Rio de Janeiro
Angra NPP
Sao Paulo
12
Goiânia, Brazil incident Sept.
1987(Description from Global Oneness, IAEA,
SRP-UK)
In 1984, a hospital was abandoned, leaving behind
a radioactive cesium chloride source from a
radiotherapy machine. Source was encased in a
lead-steel shield with an iridium window. On
Sept. 13, 1987, two scavengers found the source,
broke the window, and saw the deep blue light
caused by the fluorescence of the chloride salt
illuminated by the cesium gamma rays. They sold
the object to a junkyard dealer who intended to
make a ring for his wife out of the beautiful
blue material.
13
Goiânia Source Data, 9/87
  • Activity 50.9 TBq (1375 Ci)
  • Half life 30 years
  • Output 4.56 Gy h-1 at 1 m
  • Origins Probably Oak Ridge
  • Form Compacted CsCl
  • 31 cm3
  • 93 g
  • International capsule

14
Using penetrating cosmic rays to search for
hidden chambers in pyramids.
  • Two initial scavengers were severely irradiated.
    One had his arm amputated.
  • Two junkyard workers who hammered open the lead
    casing died of radiation poisoning.
  • Junkyard owners brother scraped dust off the
    rod, spreading some of it on the floor of his
    house. His six-year-old daughter later ate dust
    while sitting on the floor, absorbing some of the
    radioactive material. She died a month later and
    was buried in a lead coffin, sealed with
    concrete.
  • Several people who visited the home came into
    contact with the dust and spread it around the
    local neighborhood and to other towns nearby.
  • Another brother of the junkyard owner used the
    dust to paint a blue cross on his skin. He also
    contaminated the animals at his farm, several of
    which died.

15
The junkyard owner's wife was the first to notice
that many people around her had become severely
sick all at the same time. On September 28 (15
days after the item was found), she took the
canister to a hospital, the physician there
suspected that it was radioactive, and two local
physicists confirmed its radioactivity. She died
a month later from the effects of the radiation,
though she may have saved the lives of many
others by finally disposing of the
innocent-looking but dangerous object.
About 100,000 people were examined for
radioactive contamination 244 were found to have
significant levels of radioactive material in
their body. It is unclear how many were exposed
to the radiation itself. Of those contaminated,
ten people needed intensive care for radiation
poisoning. It seems reasonable to assume that
more people died than are clearly accounted for.
16
  • 85 houses decontaminated
  • 7 houses demolished
  • 200 people evacuated
  • Top soil removed

38042
17
Environmental monitoring
  • Soil
  • Vegetation
  • River
  • Public water supply
  • Groundwater
  • Rainwater
  • Air

18
Radiological triage
112 000 persons monitored 249 identified
contaminated 120 only clothing and shoe
contamination 129 internal contamination 50
subjected to direct medical surveillance
19
Environmental aspects of 137Cs accident in
Goiania
  • Initial surveys conducted in suspect homes and
    work areas
  • 67 km2 urban area of Goiania city monitored using
    helicopter to identify all hotspots (few mGy/hr
    to gt2 Gy/hr)
  • 2000 m2 contaminated
  • Several household pets (cats and dogs) and some
    livestock (pigs) slaughtered
  • Air and water samples negative
  • 3000 m3 contaminated (radioactive) material
    collected, 50.6 TBq 137Cs recovered lt0.37 TBq
    remained

20
Medical aspects
250 persons exposed
50 persons WB exposure or local radiation injury
28 local radiation injury
14 bone marrow depression
8 ARS
4 died
21
Radiation skin injuries
  • Radiation induced skin injuries caused by gamma
    and beta radiations observed in 28 who had
    handled source housing or fragments of source
  • 12 of the 28 victims had multiple injuries
    affecting predominantly upper limbs
  • Injuries did not heal completely and relapsed in
    8 patients, who then required surgical
    debridement, amputation of digital extremities
    and plastic skin grafts
  • In 1997 one severely irradiated patient developed
    a malignant skin lesion on lower limbs which was
    surgically excised

22
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23
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24
Medical follow-up of Goiania accident victims
  • Status of skin injuries after initial healing
  • 8/28 patients required surgery in 1989, and 6/28
    in 1990
  • One patient required repeated surgery in 1991,
    92, 93
  • Skin lesions tended to be affected by stress
  • Sperm count in males now normal - 2 exposed in
    teenage males have fathered healthy children
  • Follow-up of children
  • - 7 exposed in utero have no abnormalities
  • 10 conceived post-accident born with no
    abnormalities

25
Psychological and social follow-up of Goiania
accident victims
  • Psychological alterations
  • increase in psychosomatic disorders
  • fear of leukaemia and early death
  • increased use of alcohol and drugs
  • lack of self-confidence
  • Discrimination
  • by others due to fear
  • self-discrimination from social contact
  • Stigmatization
  • victims blamed for accident by many citizens

26
Other potential radioactive sources
  • 90Strontium used to power remote lighthouses in
    Soviet Union. In areas without electricity,
    90Sr-powerd radio thermoelectric generators
    produced heat to power generators. Reliable, long
    lived, did not need to be inspected and not all
    accounted for.
  • Commercial devices used to measure ground water
    at construction sites, inspect welds, etc.
  • Medical wastes, medical devices.

Imagine the effects of a stolen source,
pulverized into a powder, dispersed by a
conventional explosive in downtown Washington or
Manhattan.
27
  • In the case of the 1987 incident in Goiânia,
    Brazil, a quantity of powdered 137CsCl from a
    scavenged radioteletherapy machine was
    accidentally released. Although only a few deaths
    resulted, cleanup and decontamination costs
    amounted to approximately 20M and economic
    losses have been estimated to be hundreds of
    millions of dollars.
  • Studies have suggested that 1 10 Curies of
    137Cs or 241Am, amounts characteristic of medical
    gauges and oil well surveying sources, released
    and dispersed with a few pounds of TNT in
    downtown Manhattan or Washington, DC might result
    in long term health hazards, immense
    psychological effects, and decontamination and
    cleanup costs possibly in excess of 50B.

28
What do black holes have to do with dirty bombs?
GLAST, NASA spacecraft now renamed Fermi,
launched July, 2008 LSU involved in analyzing
Fermi data


29
CASTER a Beyond Einstein Black Hole Finder
Probe concept designed to cover energy range 10 -
600 keV with minute of arc angular resolution and
good energy resolution using scintillator-based
techniques
Central detector uses LaBr3Ce with mm-scale
position resolution ? gt 10,000 electronics
channels Need for low-cost, low-power, reliable
electronics, mechanical systems engineering,
software and data acquisition on large scale
30
  • A high sensitivity, high resolution x-ray / gamma
    ray astronomy detector on a balloon or satellite
    platform looks up into the sky. Turn CASTER on
    its side, mount it on a truck on a dockside, and
    it is an ideal device for detecting shielded
    contraband cargos of nuclear material being
    smuggled into a harbor or across a remote border
    entry point.
  • Long Range Imager coded aperture schematic.

LRI mounted in its modified Ford F650.
LaBr3 detector development work currently funded
by DOE National Nuclear Security Administration.
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