Large Terrorist WMD Attack Might Be Conducted  Research Paper

  • Length: 10 pages
  • Sources: 10
  • Subject: Terrorism
  • Type: Research Paper
  • Paper: #5630942

Excerpt from Research Paper :

large terrorist WMD attack might be conducted. I have also indicated the most probable type of materials that could be used and the potential targets and probable forms of attack.

It is rather difficult for the policymakers to weigh up the likelihood of a mass-casualty terrorist attack in their nation states. On the other hand, the consequences of such a prospect call for the governments worldwide to give serious attention to this fear. During 1990s, a number of developments took place that amplified public concern that the activist could get hold of nuclear, biological or radiological weapons and detonate them in a big metropolitan region.

According to the researchers, the terrorists probably may not have the access to nuclear weapons. However, there are chances that they may bring radiological weapons into play in the upcoming times. Fortunately, there has been no occurrence of even a single nuclear or radiological terrorist attack up till now. Nevertheless, great concerns have roused after "the attack with the chemical warfare agent Sarin in Tokyo (1995), the anthrax cases in the U.S.A. (2001) and the smuggling of radioactive material"[footnoteRef:2] (Wirz & Egger 2005). On top, the attacks in the United States of America on September 11 gave a clear idea to the world that there are, at the moment, many groups with huge monetary and extensive human resources. The 9/11 attacks also signified that terrorist groups have a grave determination to cause the highest possible damage to the human race (Wirz & Egger 2005). [2: Wirz, C. & Egger, E. "Use of Nuclear and Radiological Weapons by Terrorists?."International Review of the Red Cross 87, no. 859 (2005). http://www.labor-spiez.ch/de/the/as/pdf/irrc_859_Egger_Wirz.pdf (accessed January 24, 2013).]

It can be concluded that a radiological diffusion bomb would be the most easily accessible nuclear appliance for any terrorist[footnoteRef:3] (Blair 2001). Radiological weapons are not at all expensive and involve low technological handling. This is the main reason why they can be categorized as the best options for terrorists who seek to cause great damage more than the obtainable potential and restrictions of common explosives but who lack the means to make, assemble or access an accurate weapon of mass destruction[footnoteRef:4] (Brown 2006). Radioactive supplies are not difficult to access and even do not have a need of problematical or pricey vehicles for their delivery. In addition, waste material derived from radioactive sources is quite effortless to achieve. Radioactive waste is generally found all over the world, and usually not as well-guarded as actual nuclear weapons are taken care of (Blair 2001). Radiological weapons are a hit among the terrorists for the reason that even a badly planned and poorly executed radiological attack could have an overwhelming impact on the economy and emotional well-being of the attacked region (Brown 2006). [3: Blair, B.G. "What if the Terrorists Go Nuclear?." CDI Terrorism Project, (October 1, 2001). http://www.cdi.org/terrorism/nuclear-pr.cfm (accessed January 24, 2013).] [4: Brown, C.. "Transcendental Terrorism And Dirty Bombs: Radiological Weapons Threat Revisited." The Air University. http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/cst/csat54.pdf (accessed January 24, 2013).]

Nuclear radiation that is barely visible only with distinctive instruments can become a mechanism of terrorists to cause mass-destruction. Radioactive isotopes can be made greater than before and spread all over the place with or without high explosives by using a radiological dispersion device (RDD) or ostensible dirty bomb [footnoteRef:5](Zimmerman & Loeb 2004). For that reason, the radiological weapons propose distinct opportunities for terrorists, who rummage around for an asymmetric advantage against their target. They are also preferred by terrorists as they are disconnected, fatal and involve only a little amount of familiarity to employ. Moreover, as radioactive matter is readily obtainable, it has a devastating potential for mental commotion. If truth be told, radiation is that form of energy which is the most pure and most crucial (Brown 2006). [5: Zimmerman, P.D. & Loeb, C. "Dirty Bombs: The Threat Revisited." Defense Horizons 38 (2004): 1. http://www.questia.com/read/1G1-147059807/dirty-bombs-the-threat-revisited (accessed January 24, 2013).]

Radiological weapons can turn out to be a preferred weapon among terrorists since "radioactive sources can possess incredible energy density that is in every respect as lethal as traditional kinetic weapons"[footnoteRef:6] (Brown 2006). In addition, radiation is hardly noticeable to each of the five senses. Not only this, it is also a threatening and menacing weapon that can easily inflict significant damage on the inhabitants of the attacked area long after the first use of the parent weapon and long before health and law regulating authorities identify that an attack has been done (Brown 2006). [6: Brown, C. "Transcendental Terrorism and Dirty Bombs: Radiological Weapons Threat Revisited." The Air University. http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/cst/csat54.pdf (accessed January 24, 2013).]

The purpose behind using radiological weapons to attack an area would be to engorge radioactive material above it by means of any device that is expected to blow up (dirty bomb) or a number of other ways of dissemination. The possibility of terrorists attacking by means of a radiological weapon is also increased by the far-reaching employment of radioactive sources in manufacturing sectors right now under poorly formed national and international laws regulations that are fruitless in successfully controlling the making, transportation, deliverance, management, and elimination of radioactive resources (Brown 2006). Huge quantities of radioactive materials are amassed in "laboratories, food irradiation plants, oil drilling facilities, medical centers, and many other sites"[footnoteRef:7] (Kelly 2010). It plainly means that terrorists who ardently desire to have control over radioactive sources will have no difficulty in finding out or getting hold of them. [7: Kelly, H. "Dirty Bombs: Response to a Threat." Journal of the Federation of American Scientists 55, no. 2 (2002). ]

The utilization of radioactive materials in hundreds and thousands of different worldwide health, educational, agricultural, and manufacturing locations makes it extremely complex to protect or control them. As a result, the ordinariness and simple accessibility of these radioactive supplies in the civic sphere, in conjunction with meager control and monitoring systems, poses a substantial danger to health and safety from the expected terrorist misuse of radioactive materials. Unquestionably, the most possible means for terrorist to acquire intermediate radioactive material is unlocked (Zimmerman & Loeb 2004).

Unfortunately, there are major flaws in actions to administer and put the radiological sources in order i.e. The devices that provide accommodation to radiological materials[footnoteRef:8] (Grotto 2005). Facility possessors put together adequate safety systems available simply when they are concerned about caring for commercially significant radioactive substance. In contrast, once radioactive materials are not considered necessary and disposition costs raise, security measures turn out to be inattentive, and the likelihood of refusal or theft of the radioactive material increases[footnoteRef:9] (Kelly 2010). There is no domestic system that is reliable enough to track the location and condition of all radiological sources. This is mainly the state of affairs in the United States of America. Nevertheless, the situation in other countries that are not as developed as USA is even poorer. It is, therefore, the requirement of the time to work honestly towards identifying, intercepting and coordinating unlawful shipments of the radioactive material (Grotto 2005). [8: Grotto, A.J. "Defusing the Threat of Radiological Weapons: Integrating Prevention with Detection and Response." American Progress. http://www.americanprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/kf/dirtybomb072705.pdf (accessed January 24, 2013).] [9: Kelly, H. "Dirty Bombs: Response to a Threat." Journal of the Federation of American Scientists 55, no. 2 (2002).]

For the reason that United States of America is not capable enough to act in response to an attack efficiently, it is a must to expand and implement an encrusted, risk-based policy to protect the country from the menace that can be caused by the radiological weapons. The authorities are required to work vehemently for protecting the complete life-cycle of the most modern and accessible radioactive sources by strengthening the licensing requirements. The development of an effective mechanism is needed so that all radioactive sources can be tracked down and catalogued. In addition, the unnecessary radioactive sources must be disposed in a secure and safe manner by taking significant incentives[footnoteRef:10] (Grotto 2005). [10: Grotto, A.J. "Defusing the Threat of Radiological Weapons: Integrating Prevention with Detection and Response." American Progress. http://www.americanprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/kf/dirtybomb072705.pdf (accessed January 24, 2013)]

Moreover, more efficient measures are necessary to develop so that the unlawful deliverance of materials from the foreign countries can be detected and intercepted. This is only possible once there is an improvement in the radiation detection technology. The implementation of an emergency response is also required for facilitating the progress of economic operations. The development of a medical surge facility is also significant for the treatment of radiation wounds. All countries must take efficient measures to teach the general population about radiation, radiological weapons and the potential hazards that can be caused by them (Grotto 2005).

The security of facilities that accommodate dangerous quantities of radioactive materials also needs improvement even if it means higher expenditures for enhanced safety measures. The modern times also demand the expansion of the usage of radiation detection system so that the detection process of dangerous amounts of radiation can be facilitated. It is a good thing that such systems are usually not…

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