Radiological terrorism

Think tank: The Henry Jackson Society

Author(s): Dr Bahram Ghiassee

July 27, 2022

This report from UK think tank the Henry Jackson Society looks at the threat posed by radiological terrorism to the public, the economy and the environment.

The report addresses the threat posed by radiological terrorism to the public, the economy, the environment, and the ecological systems across the globe. It also assesses the illicit transnational trafficking in radioactive materials, and radioactive sources used in medical, industrial, and research applications in 150 countries. The report finds that non-State actors, in particular terrorists, may illicitly acquire such materials with ease, and use them in Radiological Dispersal Devices, including ‘Dirty Bombs’. The report further highlights the inadequacy of the international legal and institutional frameworks. The report offers a number of policy recommendations, inter alia, the establishment of an ‘International Centre for Radiological Security’ within the IAEA; Adoption of binding international legal instruments; and the adoption of a binding UN Security Council resolution to prohibit terrorists and other non-State actors acquiring radiological devices & radiological weapons. The report concludes that urgent action needs to be instituted by the international community to counter radiological terrorism, and pre-empt the humanitarian, economic and ecological harms which could, otherwise, ensue.