November 28, 2022

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Dirty bombs: What are they and why are they not used by any military in the world?

The Russian government Condemned as possible Ukraine use”dirty bombParis, Washington and London see the charge as a pretext to accuse Russia of using weapons of mass destruction on its own territory, which Kyiv denies, and to provoke a harsh response from the West, as a pretext to “build up” the Russian military.

Possible application Dirty bombsUnrecognized in any conflict to date, it creates great alarm among people because it contains radioactive elements in its composition, but according to experts, its destructive potential does not exceed that of conventional weapons.

What is a dirty bomb?

Also known as a radioactive weapon, the dirty bomb It is a conventional explosive, like dynamite, which is enriched with radioactive material, which spreads when the explosive explodes, following the same principle of use as chemical weapons.

Although having Radioactive elementsThe Dirty bombs They are not nuclear weapons, which require a complex nuclear fusion reaction, and their range and damage is a fraction of the capability of nuclear weapons.

In dirty bombs, the radioactive element rarely directly increases casualties ExplosiveBut in theory it can create contamination in the affected area, which increases the effects of a attack with conventional weapons.

However, the dispersion caused by the explosive creates a “diluted” effect Pollutants in the environmentDrastically reduces the radiation dose to which potential victims are exposed.

For this reason, beyond their reach Destructive effectsExperts point to the ability of this weapon to create alarm among the population.

Never used in combat

No army in the world currently has it in its arsenal Dirty bombsAccording to a study published by the Spanish Institute for Strategic Studies (IEEE) of the Spanish Ministry of Defense in 2021, only some terrorist groups, mainly radical Islamists and American hegemonicists, consider its possible use.

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The US considered and rejected its use in the Korean War (1950-1953), but in the 1980s Saddam Hussein explored incorporating it into a regular army with the aim of circumventing sanctions, the IEEE report says. Nuclear weapons. He also eventually abandoned the project.

According to scientists from UNIraq would have rehearsed an explosion in 1987 Radioactive bombRemoved due to low mortality.

When the next decade came, no military in the world considered using dirty bombs in combat, due to their limited effectiveness and their complicated handling, in addition to international sanctions, their potential use was limited to the sphere of terrorist groups.

In November 1995, Chechen leader Shamil Basayev announced the presence of a radioactive container in Ismailovo’s Moscow park. The container contained cesium-137 and its radiation level was a hundred times higher than the norm, although Russian authorities denied that it posed a serious risk to public health.

However, military experts pointed out that a detonation in a specific location and weather conditions made it possible to disperse fissile material, “becoming a substantial source.” Radioactive contamination“.

Since then, several attempts by terrorist groups have emerged Dirty bombs And there is no record of any such attack ever taking place.

Already in 2004 the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) condemned that “almost all countries” have a “proliferative material”.dirty bomb“And assured that more than a hundred countries have “adequate” control and management programs to prevent and detect the theft of radioactive materials”.

Nuclear organism, depend UNThis control was urged to be considered as a “priority”.

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