The possibility of terrorist/terroristic use of radioactive material dispersal device (commonly called dirty bomb) is far more than the use of a real nuclear bomb. To prepare a dirty bomb normal explosive (a bomb) is combined with radioactive material. The aim of making dirty bomb is to release dangerous and lethal amount of radioactive material in a public area. Terrorists use dirty bomb because making and using it compared with nuclear bomb doesn’t require technical knowledge. In addition radioactive materials in dirty bomb are widely used in medicine, agriculture, industry and research centers and we are enriched to obtain them compared to uranium or plutonium.
The aim of the use of dirty bomb is to create mental fear and economic stagnation. Its use sometimes is followed by losses. Concerning the quick evacuation of people from the place and the way of their sheltering, the number of those killed and injured may exceed compare to a conventional bomb.
The extent of the area affected and the size of destruction depend on the size and precision of conventional weapons, the kind of radioactive material used, the quality and quantity of the material and atmospheric conditions prevailing at the place of explosion (mainly rainfall and wind speed). People can be prevented from entering the contaminated place for several months to be able to take cleanup actions.
Protection and care measures to be taken before a dirty bomb explosion
- There is no way to be informed of the use of dirty bomb by terrorists. So we should know what to do and the same protective measures in case of radioactive precipitation due to nuclear explosions are necessary.
At the time of dirty bomb explosion
- However a bomb explosion is an obvious phenomenon, nobody notice the presence of radioactive material unless the experts detect it through professional equipment.
- A person should be cautious wherever he/she is. He/she should assume that radiological contamination happened (especially if the explosion is in an urban area or in the vicinity of potential targets of terrorists.
- Avoid contact with any radioactive material.
- Strictly avoid inhalation of dust due to explosion.
- If someone seeking shelter face dust or air pollution (whether in a closed or open space), it’s necessary to breathe with the help of the coat or shirt collar to avoid contact with.
- If anyone manages to flee from radioactive dust and not to inhale the dust, he/she should remember that the proximity to radioactive particles still put him at the risk of infection.
- If the explosion or the release occurs indoors, leave immediately the place and go to a shelter.
- If you are outdoors at the time of explosion, it is essential to obey the following recommendations.
- Immediately go to the building which is not damaged.
- If a right shelter is not available, immediately go to highlands to find a refuge.
- Obey official recommendations on the radio or other media.
- If someone is at home at the time of explosion, it’s necessary to obey the following recommendations:
- If time lets, turn off the air conditioning and heating systems and block windows, vents and other openings and seams. Take the rescue bag and a handheld radio device with you to the shelter.
- Immediately go to the shelter (preferably a basement or a room in the middle of the house).
- Place a thick shield between yourself and where the explosion occurred.
- Windows and external doors should be sealed with nylon and adhesive tape in a way that the entering of radioactive particles into the house is reduced. Nylon page doesn’t prevent the radioactive materials caused by explosion from entering.
After the dirty bomb accident
- After entering a safe place, those who have been exposed to radioactive materials should be decontaminated. To do this, they should remove their own clothes and put in a bag ( keep the bag away). Then, they should wash the entire body with water and soap. After officials advised to leave the shelter, they must go to medical centers.
- Pollution from dirty bomb depending on the amount of explosives, the quantity and type of radioactive material and environmental conditions prevailing covers a large area. Thus the dispersion of radiation is different. However the radiation dispersion caused by a dirty bomb, probably, takes more time because the amount of radioactive material in the site of explosion is not high.
- Still they should listen to radio and television news to understand whether they should leave the shelter or not.
- There is no excuse for them to come back to the place of explosion.