Upper Left Coast

Thoughts on politics, faith, sports and other random topics from a red state sympathizer in indigo-blue Portland, Oregon.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

We can talk to the Iranians . . . really!

From Sunday's Daily Mail in London, we learn that guards along the border between Bulgaria and Romania intercepted a truck bound for Iran. Why did they stop it? Because a scanner indicated radiation levels 200 times above normal.
Border guards seized a British lorry on its way to make a delivery to the Iranian military -- after discovering it was packed with radioactive material that could be used to build a dirty bomb.
On board they found ten lead-lined boxes addressed to the Iranian Ministry of Defence. Inside each box was a soil-testing device, containing highly dangerous quantities of radioactive caesium 137 and americium-beryllium.

A spokesman for the Bulgarian customs office, said the documentation listed the shipment as destined for the Ministry of Transport in Tehran, although the final delivery address was the Iranian Ministry of Defence.
A leading British expert last night said the radioactive material could easily be removed and used to construct a dirty bomb.

Dr Frank Barnaby from the Oxford Research Group, said: "You would need a few of these devices to harvest sufficient material for a dirty bomb. Americium-beryllium is an extremely effective element for the construction of a dirty bomb as it has a very long half-life, but I would be amazed to find it out on the street.

"I don't know how you would come by it as it is mainly found in spent reactor-fuel elements and is not at all easy to get hold of. I find it very hard to believe it is so easily available in this device."
(HT: Chas Sprague)


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