Sunday, August 28, 2005

Dirty bomb source 'found?'

Headline: Dirty bomb source 'found'.
AUSTRALIAN nuclear experts working to prevent terrorists launching a regional "dirty bomb" attack have found large, unsecured sources of dangerous radioactive material in Southeast Asia.

In one case, radiation safety experts from the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation found a substantial piece of cobalt, used for medical therapy, which had been abandoned when a radiation therapy centre was closed.
A conventional bomb wrapped around a small stick of cobalt could contaminate a large area of a city, dramatically boost cancer rates and force out residents for decades, scientists say.

Another radioactive source, possibly also cobalt, was found in a second country in similar circumstances. About 25 other radiation centres are also being investigated in a third country.

"There are two countries where we have located quite large sources," ANSTO's chief of operations Ron Cameron said. He declined to identify them until the material had been properly secured.

ANSTO's concern came as intelligence reports from South Korea revealed that Australia had been listed by the al-Qa'ida terror network as a prime target for an attack this year.

South Korea's National Intelligence Service last week told the country's parliament that a "senior" al-Qa'ida operative arrested last month had made specific reference to Australia in a list of targets. "According to NIS, this terrorist testified that South Korea, Japan and The Philippines are secondary targets, while the US, Britain and Australia are the prime targets for this year," a South Korean parliamentarian said yesterday.
Well, I find the headline just a tad misleading, but the content of the article is still disturbing...

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