Skip to main content

Radiological and Nuclear Events: Challenges, Countermeasures and Future Perspectives

Part of the Terrorism, Security, and Computation book series (TESECO)

Abstract

Over the last few years a broad array of organizations have practiced terrorism with the aim to achieve political, criminal, religious, and ideological goals. These acts have revitalized awareness of the threat of attacks involving chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear weapons. In particular radiological and nuclear methods are likely to be pursued by well organised terrorist groups, particularly those which have access to financial resources. The objective of this paper is to provide the reader with basic knowledge of possible radiological and nuclear events and the potential risks they pose. The document focuses on the characteristics of radiologic and nuclear agents as well as on the basics of response. Ultimately, this article explores how emerging technology has been infusing additional complexity into the global radiological and nuclear threat scenario.

Keywords

  • Radiological and nuclear agents
  • CBRN
  • Terrorist attack
  • Weaponization
  • Radiological and nuclear response

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Buying options

Chapter
USD   29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-62108-1_7
  • Chapter length: 26 pages
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
eBook
USD   149.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-3-319-62108-1
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Softcover Book
USD   199.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book
USD   199.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Fig. 1
Fig. 2

Notes

  1. 1.

    Nerve agent sarin was used in an attack on the Ghouta agricultural belt around Damascus on the morning of 21 August 2013. The sarin attack claimed between 350 and 1400 lives and was a critical moment in the Syrian war, provoking a debate about who was responsible.

  2. 2.

    The explosive yield of trinitrotoluene (TNT) is considered to be the standard measure of bombs and other explosives. The ton of TNT is a unit of energy defined to be 4.184 gigajoules. Similarly, the kiloton of TNT is a unit of energy equal to 4.184 terajoules, while the megaton of TNT is a unit of energy equal to 4.184 petajoules. These quantities are traditionally used to describe the energy output, and hence the destructive power, of a nuclear weapon.

  3. 3.

    When a dose range is given, the lower value represents the lowest effective dose at which the countermeasure is likely to be justified. The larger value represents the effective dose at which the countermeasure is almost always justified [20].

References

  1. Nathwani, A., Down, J., Goldstone, J., Yassin, J., Dargan, P., Virchis, A., Gent, N., Lloyd, D., Harrison, J.: Polonium-210 poisoning: a first-hand account. The Lancet. (2016).

    Google Scholar 

  2. Unal B., Aghlani S.: Use of Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Weapons by Non-State Actors – Emerging trends and risk factors. Lloyd’s Emerging Risk Report, Chatham House – The Royal Institute of International Affairs (2016)

    Google Scholar 

  3. Broad, W.J.: Document Reveals 1987 Bomb Test by Iraq, The New York Times, April 29, 2001.; http://www.nytimes.com/2001/04/29/world/document-reveals-1987-bomb-test-by-iraq.htm

  4. Begley S. Protecting America: The Top 10 Priorities. Newsweek. 2001 Nov 5;139(19):26–40

    Google Scholar 

  5. Sovacool, B.K.: Contesting the future of nuclear power: a critical global assessment of atomic energy. World Scientific. ISBN: 978-981-4322-75-1

    Google Scholar 

  6. ICRP, 2007. The 2007 Recommendations of the International Commission on Radiological Protection. ICRP Publication 103. Ann. ICRP 37 (2–4).

    Google Scholar 

  7. Harrison, J., Streffer, C.: The ICRP protection quantities, equivalent and effective dose: their basis and application. Radiation Protection Dosimetry. 127, 12–18 (2007).

    Google Scholar 

  8. International Commission on Radiation Units and Measurements. ‘Determination of dose equivalent resulting from external radiation sources’. Bethesda, MD: 1985. ICRU Report 39.

    Google Scholar 

  9. International Commission on Radiation Units and Measurements. ‘Quantities and units in radiation protection dosimetry’. Bethesda, MD: 1993. ICRU Report 51.

    Google Scholar 

  10. Mattsson, S., Marcus Söderberg M.: Dose Quantities and Units for Radiation Protection. In Mattsson, S. Hoeschen, C.: Radiation protection in nuclear medicine. Springer, Berlin (2013).

    Google Scholar 

  11. ICRP, 2005. Protecting People against Radiation Exposure in the Event of a Radiological Attack. ICRP Publication 96. Ann. ICRP 35 (1).

    Google Scholar 

  12. Durakovic, A.: Medical effects of internal contamination with actinides: further controversy on depleted uranium and radioactive warfare. Environmental Health and Preventive Medicine. 21, 111–117 (2016).

    Google Scholar 

  13. Vaughan, J., Bleaney, B., Taylor, D.M.: Distribution, excretion, and effects of plutonium as a bone seeker. In: Hodge HC, Stannard JN, Hursh JB, editors. Handbook of experimental pharmacology—uranium, plutonium, transplutonic elements. Berlin and NY: Springer-Verlag; 1973

    Google Scholar 

  14. RDD Handbook: Handbook for Responding to a Radiological Dispersal Device First Responder’s Guide—The First 12 Hours, CRCPD, September 2006

    Google Scholar 

  15. World Health Organization, web: www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs371/en/INEX exercises, web: www.oecd-nea.org/rp/inex/

  16. http://www.ebah.com.br/content/ABAAAfHM4AL/6938905-charged-particle-measurement?part=2

  17. ICRP, 1991. 1990 Recommendations of the International Commission on Radiological Protection. ICRP Publication 60. Ann. ICRP 21 (1–3).

    Google Scholar 

  18. ICRP, 1992. Principles for Intervention for Protection of the Public in a Radiological Emergency. ICRP Publication 63. Ann. ICRP 22 (4).

    Google Scholar 

  19. PAG – Manual Protective Action Guides And Planning Guidance For Radiological Incidents, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Draft for Interim Use and Public Comment March 2013

    Google Scholar 

  20. NCRP Report No. 138, Management of Terrorist Events Involving Radioactive Material (2001)

    Google Scholar 

  21. Bradley, L.D.: Regulating weaponized nanotechnology: how the international criminal court offers a way forward. Georgia Journal of International and Comparative Law, 41(3), 728–729 (2013)

    Google Scholar 

  22. Unal, B., Aghlani, S.: Use of Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Weapons by Non-State Actors: Emerging trends and risk factors. Lloyd’s Emerging Risk Report, Innovation Series (2016)

    Google Scholar 

  23. Matishak, M.: Nation’s nuclear power plants prepare for cyber attacks. 27 August, NTI Global Security Newswire (2010) [online]. Available at: http://www.nti.org/gsn/article/nations-nuclearpower-plants-prepare-for-cyber-attacks/

  24. Broad, W.: Computers and the U.S. Military Don’t Mix. Science. 207, 1183–1187 (1980).

    Google Scholar 

  25. US General Accounting Office, “NORAD’s missile warning system: what went wrong?”, (15 May 1981), http://www.gao.gov/assets/140/133240.pdf

  26. Gregory, S.: The hidden cost of nuclear deterrence: nuclear weapons accidents, United Kingdom: Brassey’s (1990) p.97

    Google Scholar 

  27. Schlosser, E.: Neglecting our nukes, Politico, (16 September 2013), http://www.politico.com/story/2013/09/neglecting-our-nukes-96854.htm

  28. https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/news/nr/3d-printing-trials-of-unmanned-aircraft-1.364084

Download references

Acknowledgment

We are grateful to Chatham House, the Royal Institute of International Affairs, for permission to reproduce the table originally published in Unal, B and Aghlani, S, “Use of Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Weapons by Non-State Actors.”, 2016.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Marco D’Arienzo .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

Copyright information

© 2017 Springer International Publishing AG

About this chapter

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this chapter

D’Arienzo, M., Pinto, M., Sandri, S., Zagarella, R. (2017). Radiological and Nuclear Events: Challenges, Countermeasures and Future Perspectives. In: Martellini, M., Malizia, A. (eds) Cyber and Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives Challenges. Terrorism, Security, and Computation. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-62108-1_7

Download citation

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-62108-1_7

  • Published:

  • Publisher Name: Springer, Cham

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-319-62107-4

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-319-62108-1

  • eBook Packages: Computer ScienceComputer Science (R0)