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What is a dirty bomb, and how dangerous is this weapon of mass destruction?

What is a dirty bomb, and how dangerous is this weapon of mass destruction?

What is a dirty bomb, and how dangerous is this weapon of mass destruction?
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By CNBCTV18.com Oct 25, 2022 4:43:35 PM IST (Updated)

Russia’s Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu told his UK counterpart that he was "concerned about possible provocations by Kyiv involving the use of a dirty bomb".

Russia has accused Ukraine of planning to detonate a ‘dirty bomb’ in order to frame Russian forces and escalate the conflict between the two countries which is now entering its eighth month. Russia’s Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu told his UK counterpart that he was “concerned about possible provocations by Kyiv involving the use of a dirty bomb”. However, neither Shoigu nor Russia has presented any evidence to support their claims.

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While most western nations have dismissed the allegations as a facade for Russian escalation in the war, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stated that the world should be prepared for ‘dirty bombs’, which are in fact being used by Russia.
“If Russia calls and says that Ukraine is allegedly preparing something, it means one thing: Russia has already prepared all this,” he said in a video address.
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What is a dirty bomb?
Known as radiological dispersion devices, a dirty bomb is a type of explosive which uses conventional explosive material to disperse radioactive material. Dirty bombs are easy and cheap to make. These bombs use explosive material like TNT to set off an explosion that releases radioactive material salvaged from medical devices, electronics or any non-weaponised radioactive material.
How dangerous is it?
Unlike conventional nuclear weapons, where the radioactive fallout is as dangerous as the initial blast, the radioactive dispersal from a dirty bomb is usually not potent enough to kill anyone. The main threat comes from the blast of a bomb itself that can injure and kill those nearby but is still thousands of magnitudes weaker than nuclear bomb blasts that can level entire cities.
The exact lethality of a dirty bomb would be dependent on a number of variables like the tonnage of explosives, presence of shrapnel, amount of radioactive material used, which direction the wind blows the fallout, location and more.
Dirty bombs are one of the numerous psychological weapons, as they are known as weapons of mass disruption. These bombs have little to no use in battlefield settings but would theoretically be used in urban areas to cause terror strikes. With radiation being an invisible enemy, the threat of radioactive fallout after the explosion of a bomb can be a potent threat. While radiation exposure could be limited, the area of the blast could be cordoned off for months for the stronger areas of radioactive contamination to become safer.
 
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