Now and then we see alarming reports concerning an imminent danger that terrorists will gather radioactive material and use conventional explosives to spread it over a large area, which then will be uninhabitable for a long time.
Apparently nobody has taken the trouble to go into details, except for example to tell:

“They [Isis] are working on a series of attacks with radioactive substance.
A ‘radioactive tsunami’ of Europe which would remove millions of people from the earth.
The largest religious Holocaust the world has seen. “

Source: Jürgen Todenhöfe, who, according Den Korte Avis, has been “voluntary prisoner “for ten days by Isis.
Apparently in order to disclose confidential, but probably carefully selected, “information”.

Although such a radioactive tsunami has been mentioned many times, it is not possible.

Long before this potential terrorist has collected just 1% of the required radioactive material, he will die a miserable, but not that glorious death from acute radiation sickness.

Thus, this aspiring terrorist be the first and probably the only victim.

Of course there are several reports that radioactive material has been stolen or “lost” and that it comes to eg 50 kg uranium.
Although uranium is not the best material for a dirty bomb, yes it sounds rather deterrent.
If there is to be made more than panic, then there will be need for much more than one ‘can just’ find in hospitals and the like.

Allow me to raise a number of questions, to which I unfortunately can not provide complete answers to – but better than most.

But first:
The many confusing units is a recurring challenge.
Milli Sievert is the unit for biological effects of ionizing (radioactive) radiation.
There has never been found injuries after brief irradiation less than 100 mSv
If the exposure is spread over a longer time, the damage will be noticeably reduced.
500 mSv will cause minor symptoms of acute radiation sickness, but will not call for shorter lifespans.
500 mSv is 100 times the normally permitted.
3,500 mSv will cause half of the irradiated to die and that the survivors will have an average life span three years less than the general population.

Bq Becquerel is a radioactive decay per second and is a very small unit.
We all carry around with some 4,500 Bq from natural sources.

Unfortunately, there is no clear relationship between mSv and Bq

Alpha and beta radiation can cause severe burns – as in severe sunburn.
But otherwise, it will only be dangerous if the radioactive material is eaten or inhaled.
Neutron radiation causes severe radiation damage, but will be found only in connection with a nuclear bomb explosion.
A dirty bomb must thus be based on substances emitting gamma radiation.

How dangerous is ionizing (radioactive) radiation?

  • It is known that populations have lived for generations in areas with fairly high natural radioactivity.
    Far more than the “permissible”.
    However, without the injury has taken place.
    Most pronounced is the area around Ramsar in Pakistan.
    Over 200 mSv/year, mostly from radon.
  • According to The Guardian “Return Movers” (‘babushkas’) live in areas near Chernobyl designated as “Strictly Controlled”.
    Here, the contamination exceeds 555 kBq/m^2
    Number is not stated. But elsewhere is mentioned 270,000, who apparently include people who have moved to areas with only
    37 kBq/m^2

I reject numerous, obvious forgeries atrocity stories which probably comes from Greenpeace or stooges.

  • For political reasons there has been set unrealistically low values ​​for permissible radiation. Both at Chernobyl and Fukushima.
  • But now to the point.
    How much does it take to make a large area uninhabitable?

    And how many kg / ton material will be needed?
    Here I am answer guilty. But it will need much more than a terrorist
    ‘so just’ find in hospitals and the like.
    Of course, you need much more than 555 kBq/m^2
    Presumably tenfold.
    If you want to inflict damage before people will have time to flee – then there will be need for even much more.
    My guess is that it will be necessary to break through the
    two-meter-thick reactor containment and collect more than a ton radioactive fuel.

But now comes the real question:

How should this terrorists protect themselves from radiation while this radioactive material assembled and before it has been spread out?

  • Although you see pictures of “green activists”, wearing white suit with breathing apparatus, then these very large amounts of radioactive material has to be handled by remote control behind a wall of lead.
  • The white suit seen in many images is completely ineffective against radiation, but may give (false) credibility.
  • Do not forget that it is assumed that this radioactive material must be sufficient to kill “countless people” and that it will be necessary to have something that is far beyond a mere bagatelle.

Finally, we wonder:
How will this terrorist distribute this radioactive material so that it can get out and kills many, instead of being concentrated in a limited area?


A realistic “dirty bomb”, which to our knowledge has never been tried, is something quite different:
It is an ‘ordinary nuclear bomb’ that is surrounded by a second material,
eg cobalt.
It will be radioactive by absorbing some of the neutrons left over from the explosion of the atomic bomb.
But even this will not be enough to create a “Radioactive Tsunami”.

Now if this terrorist mysteriously manages to collect sufficiently high enriched uranium or plutonium of ‘weapons-grade’, it can be assembled and you will get a ‘criticality’ that will cause less harm than you would get by detonating a regular grenade.
In order to have a nuclear bomb to work, it will be necessary to have a very special igniter (Initiator) and a very complicated geometry.

  • At a later stage there were some “reasonable people” who found out that biological and chemical weapons are easier to produce and handle than radioactive materials.
  • Possibly the fright value of radioactivity is greater.

Now I think, we should leave all further talk of a dirty bomb to the professional horror prophets who ignores the realities, but uses the subject to spread fear, where everything that is dealing with radiation or nuclear distorted to be a high risk .

This of course does not mean that we should neglect the fight against the use of nuclear bombs.
More: See:
From Wikipedia: About nuclear safety and security.
Greenpeace’s credibility is a myth.
And if you are not tired, too:
Radiation and Cancer.
Check the facts.

Greetings from Thorkil Søe

If you, my unknown reader, have relevant additions, modifications or factually reasoned objection, I ask you to write to me at


  • In an attempt to find a response it has been argued that just “the threat of radioactivity will cause panic and will thus be even more terrible than a dirty bomb”.
    In a way it is true. But here it is easy to point out the guilty.
  • But all this is nothing compared to the many thousands of children who have to go into adult life as a blind because – – – –
  • Or the millions of orphans who must live in an existence that is not worthy for humans because – – – –