Fissile material gets all the attention. Well, most of it anyway—whether at the Nuclear Security Summits or here in this roundtable. And that’s understandable. Substances that terrorists might fashion into nuclear bombs do deserve the lion’s share of attention whenever nuclear security is discussed. But radioactive sources—materials produced because they emit radiation useful in agriculture, industry, construction, medicine, mining, research, and transportation—are quite dangerous in their own right. They number in the millions. Tens of thousands of these sealed radioactive sources—small capsules of highly concentrated radioactive material in solid form—merit real concern. They can be vulnerable to theft and to black-market sale. Worse, they could be used by jihadists to make a radioactive dispersal device, otherwise known as a dirty bomb.
Bulletin of Atomic Scientists 12th April 2016 read more »