Wednesday, October 7, 2015

News from The Associated Press

INVESTIGATION: NUCLEAR SMUGGLERS SOUGHT EXTREMIST BUYERS, this is not a new thing, it has been happening since before the breakup of the Soviet Union. CTI has been involved as a contractor to the Dept. of Energy over the years, if fact my last visit to Russia was involved in reviewing Russian Nuclear safeguards, or the lack of them. The US and Russia did a fairly to very good job of taking back nuclear material from the breakaway States, and I think all the really bad stuff was rounded up. The problem is the non bomb making material, it has and had a different status. This is what you see on the black market for the most part, thankfully. Dirty bomb material can contain fairly dangerous stuff, but you have to understand what a dirty bomb is. It is not a nuclear explosion, it is a conventional explosive like C4 that is wrapped with nuclear material, that can cause radiation poisoning of people in the area of the bomb going off. The really bad news is it can make the area contaminated for a really long time, unless cleaned up. Both the Russians and the US, as well as other countries feel they can clean up a contaminated site with time and money. Testing is tough, but we do have some sites that clean up procedures are being developed. A dirty bomb is still going to be a big problem, but no where near what an actual nuclear bomb will be, or could be. Much of the stuff sold on the black market is medical type waste, that can be dangerous, but more importantly for the sellers, show up on a radiation meter, so the buyer know's they are getting radio active material. Luckily this is not as dangerous as it sounds, people doing medical test often are given a type of radio active material to drink so the Doctors and Scientists can track the travel through the body. This waste can be retained by the body for a period of time, and even set off radiation meters at times. It actually can be dangerous at different levels, but is not controlled all that much, you can find radio active waste in the US as well as stock piles of the medical material around the US. The good thing for us is the bad guys do not know what they are buying for the most part, so this is what they often buy. Other Black Market Radio Active material is far more dangerous, and its use in a dirty bomb is but one way it can be dispersed. Bad guys and perhaps Government Agencies have used material like this as a poison, and it can contaminate any area it has been used. With out going into the exact material used, it is so deadly to the human body that just a small amount can kill a person in a very long and painful way, with virtually no chance of cure. The really bad news is that where ever it has been used other items and often people can be contaminated to the point where they are deadly as well, and most probably will die themselves. If you hear of a sale or even a possible sale, report it immediately, if you can pick up a radiation meter, they can be found under 500 dollars, and at times less than 200 dollars. When possible find a way to test them, for years I used a twig from a tree I cut about 300 miles from Chernobyl when in the Soviet Union before the walls came down. It was thrown away years ago. But Medical labs as well as many Universities have the ability to let you test the devices. There is also a lot of radiation around us all the time, and if you know the places even radiation from rocks that have a bit of radio active material in them. Most X-rays used at airports have heavy lead lining not to protect you as much as to limit the radiation in the world from fogging up the image in the x-ray. Only one X-ray unit that I know of uses a radiation source at this time. SAIC has a truck evaluation system that still uses a source, but most systems use electron tubes to generate the x-rays used for screening purposes, from medical to Airport screening.
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