A Dirty bomb attack is now a 'real threat' to Britain as nuclear waste smugglers swap tips online, Foreign Office warns
Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt used a speech in London to warn of the dangers posed by a rise nuclear weapons being smuggled around the world.
Alistair Burt said countries around the world face a 'real and global threat' of a nuclear terror attack. South Korean radiologists have been pictured taking part in an exercise in dealing with a possible radioactive terror attack at the Kimpo airport
He warned that information freely available on the internet combined with nuclear material becoming more widely available means an attack, once ‘unthinkable’ is not a ‘real and global threat’.
Mr Burt, who has responsibility for our counter-terrorism policy, said the UK’s National Security Strategy identified nuclear terrorism as a primary danger to Britain.
He said: ‘Nuclear terrorism is a real and global threat. A successful attack, no matter where in the world it came, would be catastrophic.
Catastrophic for the immediate devastation and terrible loss of life, and for the far-reaching consequences – psychological, economic, political, and environmental.
Such an attack was unthinkable just a generation ago. But it is now a possibility we need to confront with the utmost vigilance.’
In today’s world of modern communication, information is spreading faster. Like nuclear energy, this brings huge benefits, but it also brings significant risks. There is more information about nuclear weapons on the internet than there ever has been.
As is the case in cyberspace, the danger is stateless in geographical space. It is impossible for any national government or police force, no matter how advanced, to contain on its own.
Global smuggling networks are thriving. Criminal cells operate across borders and across continents.’
He said the UK has been at the ‘forefront’ of tackling illicit trafficking of nuclear material.
He also lifted the lid on the UK’s secretive Atomic Weapons Establishment which works on detecting the trade in nuclear material.
‘This is a rare opportunity to publically acknowledge that their work has been central to the defence of the United Kingdom for over 50 years,’ he said.
Mr Burt’s stark warning came as he addressed a meeting in London of experts from around the world discussing ways to prevent a devastating attack.
His warning comes as global experts gather in London to plot how to thwart catastrophic attacks that could kill thousands.
Fears were high that a bomb attack would target the London Olympics this summer.
Last month Senior Foreign Office Minister Baroness Warsi warned: ‘Nuclear terrorism remains one of the greatest threats to our global peace and security.
The Foreign Office is working with dozens of countries to bolster the UN Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism.
The convention allows for international cooperation in the investigation, prosecution and extradition of anyone plotting terrorist acts involving radioactive material or a nuclear device.
You know I believe that we cannot prevent these terrorists from attempting a “dirty bomb” attack, but as preppers and survivalists we can bloody well learn what to do if it does happen.
Remember that a dirty bomb is not a nuclear bomb OK.
It is in fact a chemical explosion with radioactive material and or either mixed in to the explosive or encasing the explosive so that when detonated the blast throws the radioactive material into the air which is then spread by the wind downwind.
The initial causalities would be very low as the explosion would not need to be large, and in any case the objective of the explosion is not to kill but to disperse the radioactive material around the explosion site.
It is for this reason that I classify a “Dirty Bomb” as a denial weapon, by that I mean denial of access to an area for some length of time, i.e. a Dirty Bomb detonated in Dover for example with its 7,000 lorries alone coming into the UK everyday would do what the German U-boats failed to do in one fell swoop.
And don’t forget the tourist and business travel from our busiest channel seaport.
The same denial effect would cause absolute economic havoc if a Dirty Bomb was detonated in and around the City of London square mile, at Canary wharf or indeed the centre of any major city in the UK.
The length of the denial period would depend on the levels of radioactive materials used in the explosion and the delivery method.
By this I mean that if a Dirty Bomb was detonated in a confined area say a ships hold or an underground car park its effects would be reduced in relation to one that was detonated on a ship’s deck or on a street in a city centre.
Remember that our first line of defence against a Dirty Bomb is the wind as the radioactive material can only go were the wind blows it so it you are upwind then you are OK.
If however you are downwind then you must react as if it was radioactive fallout heading your way and stay indoors until the all clear is given.
This period I would have thought would be quite short as the radioactive material will not be blown too high in the air so it will naturally settle closed to ground zero in any case and also it will be less intense in radioactivity.