What is a dirty bomb and why is Russia talking about it?
Russia is accusing Ukraine of planning to use the so called dirty bombMoscow may use the Kremlin as a pretext to pursue the allegation, dismissed as a false-flag operation by Kyiv and its Western allies. War against your neighbor.
A dirty bomb is a weapon that combines conventional explosives such as dynamite and radioactive materials such as uranium. It is often referred to as a weapon for terrorists, not countries, as it is designed to spread fear and panic more than to eliminate any military target.
Ukrainian officials have repeatedly denied Moscow’s allegations and Kyiv’s foreign minister has invited UN inspectors to visit Ukraine to show they have “nothing to hide.”
Here’s what you need to know.
Without providing any evidence, Moscow claims that Ukraine has scientific institutions housing the technology needed to build a dirty bomb – and accuses Kyiv of planning to use it.
The Russian Defense Ministry said in a briefing on 24 October that it had information that showed Kyiv was planning a provocation related to the detonation of a dirty bomb.
Russia’s head of radiation Igor Kirillov claimed, “The purpose of this provocation is to accuse Russia of using weapons of mass destruction in Ukraine’s theater of operations and thereby launch a powerful anti-Russian campaign in the world.” , Chemical and Biological Defense Forces.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu made this claim on October 23 in a call with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, according to a US official familiar with the conversation.
Shoigu also made similar remarks to his French and British counterparts.
After a closed UN Security Council meeting on 25 October, Russia’s deputy ambassador to the UN told reporters that he told the council that his country believed that Ukraine had two facilities that could potentially be used to make a dirty bomb. are working.
Russia’s accusations have been strongly denied by Ukraine, the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union and NATO, who in turn have accused Moscow of trying to launch a false-flag campaign of its own.
“Everybody understands everything very well, understands who is the source of every filth that can be imagined in this war,” Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his nightly address on 23 October.
The White House said on October 24 that it was “monitoring as well as we can” any possible preparations for the use of a dirty bomb in Ukraine, but did not indicate the imminent use of such a weapon. Don’t see anything.
The UN nuclear watchdog said on 24 October that it would send inspectors to visit two nuclear sites in Ukraine after receiving requests to do so from officials in Kyiv.
According to a news release on the agency’s website, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said it is “aware of statements made by the Russian Federation on Sunday about alleged activities at two nuclear sites in Ukraine.”
The IAEA did not specify the location of both the sites.
In a tweet on 24 October, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitro Kuleba said: “Unlike Russia, Ukraine has always been and remains transparent. We have nothing to hide.”
Detonation from a dirty bomb is generated by conventional explosives. An explosion from a nuclear weapon resulting from a nuclear reaction, such as America dropped atomic bombs on Japan in World War II.
According to a fact sheet from the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), “an atomic bomb produces an explosion that is thousands to millions of times more powerful than any conventional explosive that could be used in a dirty bomb.” ”
An explosion caused by a nuclear weapon can destroy an entire city. For example, the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki in 1945 destroyed 2.6 square miles (6.2 square kilometers) of the city, according to ICAN, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons. Conventional explosives in a dirty bomb can only level or damage some buildings.
Meanwhile, a nuclear explosion could cover a mushroom cloud tens to hundreds of square miles, spreading fine particles of nuclear material — radioactive fallout — into that area, the DHS says.
According to the DHS, most of the radioactive material from a dirty bomb would be spread over a few blocks or a few square miles of the city.
According to the Council on Foreign Relations, in 1995, Chechen rebels planted saplings in a Moscow park but failed to detonate.
There have been reports that terrorist organizations such as Al Qaeda or ISIS designed or tried to make a dirty bomb, but none have been detonated.
The DHS says it would be unlikely that a dirty bomb exposed to a substantial amount of radiation “could cause immediate health effects or the death of a large number of people.”
The Texas State Department of Health Services explains why.
To enable a dirty bomb to deliver a lethal dose of radiation, a large amount of shielding from lead or steel would be required to prevent the material from hitting its makers during manufacture, it says.
But using this kind of shielding material would make the bomb heavy and difficult to move or deploy, would probably require heavy equipment and remote handling tools, and would limit how far the radiation could travel, according to the Texas state agency. may spread.
According to Texas Health Services, the radiation generated by a dirty bomb would cause a level of exposure similar to the amount obtained during a dental X-ray.
“It’s like breaking a rock. If someone throws a big rock at you it will probably hurt and cause you physical harm,” explains the department. And then they throw sand at you, it’s far less likely to do you any real harm.”
According to the DHS, the severity of radiation sickness is affected by exposure over time. Preventive measures can be as simple as walking away.
“Walking even a short distance from the scene[of the explosion]can provide significant protection because the dose rate drops dramatically with distance from the source,” the DHS says.
The DHS says that people should cover their nose and mouth to avoid any radiation, go indoors to avoid any dust clouds, throw their clothing in a plastic bag and then remove the contaminants. You should wash your skin gently to remove it.
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