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Need to reply to 3 discussion questions below You may support or supplement another student’s answer using the terms, concepts, and theories from the required readings Please provide a 1 page (250 words) per discussion question there are 3 total discussion questions. Need at least 1 source per question
Discussion 1)Jessica Lukondi posted Radiological material is common in today’s society. From medical supplies to nuclear power plants around the country along with other various sources of radiological material. All of these materials pose threats to the United States if any aspect of it were to end up in the wrong hands. Past events around the world has shown what has happened on accident to those who have come into contact with radiological materials. From medical waste like X-ray machines and MRI machines not being disposed of properly and the material causing harm to people that come into contact, like in Brazil in 1987, Mexico in 1983, Turkey in 1998, and Egypt in 2000. Accidental incidents show what exposure to radiological material can do in regards to side effects and even instances of death (Locke 2021).
I believe the radioactive dispersion device (RDD) is the largest threat to the United States by non-state actors. If RDD’s were dispersed around the United States in large cities it could cause chaos in evacuating people and it would also take time to decontaminate the area. An RDD attack in metropolitan areas would cause a lot of havoc as well as cause potential health problems for the general public in that area depending on the severity of their contact of the radiological material. Hypothetically, if a terrorist organization spread out until across the United States in largely populated, important financial areas and detonated a large amount of RDD’s, the destruction would be unimaginable. The contamination alone would make those economic important cities inhabitable for who knows how long, so dispersing people and businesses to new locations if at all because of the economic backlash from an attack on top of the medical aspect of people coming into contact with radiological material.
The frenzy the general public would be put in if a terrorist attack occurred is unimaginable. After 9/11 people were distraught and while we came together as a country to get through the hard times and overcome the devastation, if a larger scale attack throughout several cities in the United States were to take place, especially with radiological materials, one can imagine the frenzy would be harder to manage than ever. Now, the possibility of a multi city large scale attack probability is low, but that does not mean it cannot happen. Threats are threats until someone takes action and then it is about staying one step ahead of the enemy to protect and secure. If you also look at the trauma it would cause around the country it could also increase psychological and physiological issues we see in the United States causing people to lash out more if they did not seek treatment. Issues like PTSD, anger towards the attacker and the government. The United States would also see a potential increase in side effect cases causing more treatment plans and options that would need to be available to the people.
Any type of terrorist attack on the United States is not good. Using any WMD for the attack is an even worse idea. For the terrorist organizations, they should look at what the United States did in response to 9/11. While this discussion was all hypotheticals, the thoughts of such a large scale attack with RDD’s has probably crossed terrorist’s minds. Such an attack would damage not only a lot of cities if done how I described above but the effects on the economy would be hard to even imagine.
Discussion 2) William Crisp posted
This week’s post will identify what radiological hazards might pose the most significant terrorist threat to the United States. It will also hypothesize what means non-state actors might use to acquire material, and what the general effects a radiological “dirty bomb” might have on the American public.
Radiological Hazards
There are a fair number of materials that could technically be used in a radiological dispersal device (RDD) or a dirty bomb. Certainly, enriched uranium or plutonium could be used for their tremendous inhalation hazard due to being strong alpha emitters, but that would be a complete waste of fissile material and a dirty bomb could be made with easier obtained, cheaper, and less detectable material. With that said, in the counter-improvised nuclear device (C-IND) sphere we often talk about the outcome of various terrorist IND threats that are designed to produce nuclear yield, but will quite likely be effective unintentional dirty bombs rather than effective nuclear weapons. It is much more probably that terrorists would seek one of the many hazardous radionuclides that are in common use, such as in the medical field or nuclear reactors. Radionuclides can also be found in consumer goods such as smoke detectors, but without a radionuclide that can produce significant health hazards, a “dirty bomb” is little more than an IED with additional steps and risks to the terrorist being caught.
Procurement
Outside of the unintentional RDD resulting from an ineffective IND, an intentional RDD or dirty bomb will most likely use something more widely available that incur less risk of interdiction before the attack can be carried out. While enriched uranium or plutonium would have to most likely be smuggled into the US for an IND—outside of the even-more daunting task of stealing a US weapon—hazardous radionuclides that are appropriate for an RDD exist in the US. This is important because, in some respects, in can be even more difficult to smuggle high gamma emitting sources such as Iridium-192 or Cobalt-60 since their signature travels much further than the primary alpha particle emission of fissile special nuclear material (SNM). And indeed, Medalia (2011) reports that only four commonly-used radionuclides that would support a viable RDD are used in the US: Cobalt-60, Cesium-137, Iridium-192, and Americium-241, which can be harvested from medical sources. Nuclear reactor materials are another option, although they are generally better secured and accounted for and are extremely hazardous to handle. Of course, it is also possible to attack a nuclear reactor directly, although they are also well-protected against such events. The medical field is the prime source for any terrorist looking to build an RDD in the US.
Effects
As Mauroni (2015) notes, the general public has an irrational fear of radiation. This is despite the fact that no one died from radiation at Three Mile Island or Fukushima, and less than 30 people died from radiation sickness in the wake of the Chernobyl disaster (Mauroni, 2015). Just an opinion—I think unreasonable minds and hysterics are severely hindering our ability to move society forward with nuclear power. I believe the effect on the American public will stem from how elected officials and the media decides to handle it. Again, opinion time—I believe there will be a huge panic and public outcry, and it won’t fade from the news cycle too quickly due to it being the first time this type of attack has successfully been perpetrated on US soil. This fact will not be lost on the opportunists who will then find a way to exploit the situation and build an agenda around the terrorists’ origins and motives. Perhaps some legislation will be made to better secure and detect radionuclides, but overall, the radiological nature of the attack will simply be fuel for American anger and discontent. For these reasons, I think an RDD or dirty bomb could be quite effective against a divided nation, depending on the terrorists’ goals.
Discussion 3) Kevin Heck posted After this week’s readings I do not think there is a large-scale radiological threat to America. The psychological impacts from a radiological device would likely have larger consequences than an actual device. The detonation of a radiological device would lead to widespread panic and evacuations. “City and state officials, on the other hand, have much more to fear from radiological weapons. The negative consequences that may result from panic would almost certainly do more harm than the deployment of the weapon itself. This panic could cause traffic accidents, dangerous rushes to evacuate, and stress and anxiety-related health problems for potentially millions of people. This particular risk illustrates the importance of knowing and understanding the capabilities and limitations of RDDs (Locke, 2021).” Having to pick one material I would say terrorist organizations acquiring some sort of enriched uranium or plutonium from a rogue actor working in a facility is the biggest threat. For example, in Russia, a worker at an enrichment plant walked out with 15 grams of enriched uranium in a vile, in his pocket every day. He was prepared to sell half a kilo of it to a terrorist group but was luckily stopped by police before he could. Not for the uranium either so this was very lucky! (Gottschau, 2002). Even this amount though would not likely be enough to cause a nuclear explosion, it would be a step in the right direction for trying to create one. Typically, much more than half a kilogram is needed to start a nuclear chain reaction. “The amount of uranium-235 seized is minute [0.028 ounces], about one-ten thousandth of the amount necessary to build a nuclear explosive. [17.5 lbs] (Cochran et al., 1995)” In this case, Cochran is siting the seizure of less than one gram of enriched uranium (.79 of a gram). This small amount is not a significant threat and yet people still react like it is a fully nuclear amount.
“The general public is afraid of radiation. It’s an irrational fear, driven by the imagination of what high levels of uncontrolled radiation might do to our bodies or to our children, and spurred by high-profile accidents in the nuclear energy business. However, no one died from radiation poisoning or acute diseases as a result of the radioactive releases at Three Mile Island or Fukushima. Even at Chernobyl, less than 30 people died within a few months from radiation sickness. Another 130 suffered high doses of radiation poisoning, most of whom recovered over a number of years. Cancer rates for those near nuclear accidents are in line with those of the general population. But we’re terrified of invisible radiation waves, despite being bombarded every day from a variety of natural and man-made sources of radiation (Mauroni, 2015).” Mauroni brings up good points. Even Chernobyl, the largest nuclear disaster ever had very few casualties. Yes, that land is still unusable today, but no non-state actor will ever be able to obtain that amount of nuclear material (estimated 190 metric tons of uranium). The fear caused by radiation is ultimately the biggest threat. The panic of civilians when they are told a potential device is accessible to terrorists or that one has been used in an attack holds a much higher risk than the actual device. Massive panic, combined with evacuation orders would lead to injuries and deaths as people try to get away as fast as possible.

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