What is a dirty bomb and why is Russia talking about it? | CNN

CNN — Russia accuses Ukraine of plans to use so-called dirty bombs. Kyiv and its Western allies dismissed it as a counterfeit operation that Moscow could use as an excuse to escalate the Kremlin’s war on its neighbors. A dirty bomb is a weapon that combines a conventional explosive such as dynamite with a radioactive material such as uranium. It is often referred to as a weapon for terrorists, not states, as it is designed to spread fear and terror rather than to eliminate military targets. Ukrainian officials have repeatedly denied Moscow’s accusations, and Kyiv’s foreign minister has invited UN inspectors to visit Ukraine and show that “there is nothing to hide.” Here’s what you need to know. Without providing any evidence, Moscow claims that Ukraine has a scientific institution that stores the technology needed to make dirty bombs, and accuses Kyiv of planning to use it. The Russian Ministry of Defense said at a briefing on October 24 that there was information showing that Kyiv was planning a provocation related to the detonation of a dirty bomb. “The purpose of these provocations is to launch a powerful anti-Russian campaign in the world with the aim of undermining confidence in Moscow by accusing Russia of using weapons of mass destruction in the Ukrainian operational zone,” said Igor Kirilov, head of the Russian radiological department. did. , chemical and biological protection groups. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu had a phone call with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on October 23, according to a US official familiar with the conversation. Shoigu also made similar comments on his French and British counterparts. After an undisclosed UN Security Council meeting on October 25, the Russian delegation to the UN told reporters that Russia thought there were two potentially dirty bomb-building facilities in Ukraine. Russia’s claims were strongly refuted by Ukraine, the United States, Britain, the European Union and NATO, which in turn accused Moscow of attempting to launch counterfeiting operations on its own. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a speech on the night of 23 October that “everyone understands everything well and who is the source of every filth imaginable in this war”. The White House said on October 24 that “we are monitoring to the best of our ability.” Potential preparations for the use of dirty bombs in Ukraine are possible, but nothing indicates an imminent use of such weapons. The UN nuclear watchdog said on 24 October that it would send inspectors to visit two nuclear facilities in Ukraine at the request of the Kyiv authorities. According to a press release on the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA’s) website, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) “is aware of the statements issued by the Russian Federation on Sunday, with suspected activity at two nuclear facilities in Ukraine.” The IAEA did not disclose the locations of the two sites. Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmitro Kuleva tweeted on October 24, “Unlike Russia, Ukraine has always been and remains transparent. We have nothing to hide.” no. Dirty bomb detonation is generated by conventional explosives. The detonation of a nuclear weapon is produced by a nuclear reaction, similar to the atomic bomb dropped by the United States on Japan in World War II. According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) fact sheet, “Nuclear bombs produce detonations thousands to millions of times more powerful than conventional explosives that can be used in dirty bombs.” An explosion of nuclear weapons could flatten an entire city. For example, according to the International Campaign for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), an atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki in 1945, destroying 2.6 square miles (6.2 square kilometers) of the city. Conventional explosives from Dirty Bombs can flatten or damage only some buildings. On the other hand, mushroom clouds from nuclear explosions can cover tens to hundreds of square miles, dispersing tiny particles of nuclear material (radioactive fallout) over the area, DHS says. According to the DHS, most of the radioactive material from a dirty bomb will spread over a few city blocks or a few square miles. no. In 1995, Chechen rebels planted plants in Moscow parks, but the explosions failed, according to the Foreign Affairs Committee. There have been reports of terrorist groups such as al Qaeda and ISIS making or attempting to build dirty bombs, but no one exploded. The DHS says a dirty bomb is unlikely to be capable of emitting enough radiation “to cause immediate health effects or death in many people.” The Texas Department of State Health Services explains why. They say that making a dirty bomb capable of delivering a lethal dose of radiation requires a lot of shielding from lead or steel so that the material doesn’t kill the maker during construction. However, using such shielding material would make the bomb bulky and difficult to move or deploy, possibly requiring heavy equipment and remote handling tools, limiting the range over which the radiation can spread, a Texas state agency said. According to Texas Medical Services, radiation produced by dirty bombs can cause exposures comparable to those received during dental x-rays. “It’s like breaking a rock. If someone throws a large stone, it can cause injury or physical damage,” the department explains. “If they take the same stone, crush it into grains of sand and then throw sand at you, the chances of it doing any real damage to you are much lower.” According to the DHS, the severity of radiation sickness is affected by exposure over time. Preventive measures can be as simple as walking. “Walking a short distance from the blast site can provide significant protection,” says DHS, “because the dose rate drops sharply with distance from the source.” People should also cover their noses and mouths to avoid radiation exposure, go indoors to avoid dust clouds, throw away their clothes in plastic bags, and gently wash their skin to remove contaminants, the DHS says.

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