Nunn and Bieniawski Publish Washington Post Op-ed on Dirty Bomb Threat

"Amid a campaign of terror that has included beheadings and suicide bombings, recent reports from the Middle East that Islamic State extremists may now have stolen enough material for a radioactive 'dirty bomb' are chilling — but should not be shocking," write Sam Nunn and Andrew Bieniawski in a new op-ed for The Washington Post.

The authors call attention to the difference between a nuclear weapon and a dirty bomb: "Unlike a nuclear weapon, a radioactive dirty bomb would not cause catastrophic levels of death and injury, but depending on its chemistry, form and location, it could leave billions of dollars in damage due to the costs of evacuation, relocation and cleanup."

Nunn and Bieniawski also highlight the availability of radiological materials worldwide, noting that they are "dispersed across thousands of sites in more than 100 countries, and many of them are poorly secured."

"Concerns about the Islamic State are a powerful reminder of what’s at stake — and should provide impetus for governments, the medical community and industry globally to immediately secure all such materials or replace them with alternative technologies," they write. 

Read the op-ed

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