FAS' Yassif explains dirty bomb cleanup
Experts say "it is almost inevitable that a U.S. city will be the target of a bomb salted with radioactive waste" according to a story by Keay Davidson in the San Francisco Chronicle that ran September 5.
The story quoted FAS' Jaime M. Yassif on the challenge to cleaning up afterwards. Because radioactive grains can "chemically bind to asphalt, concrete and glass," she says, "some cleanups might require the use of exotic new tools such as concrete-eating bacteria. Just locating all contaminants could be nearly impossible, given the ease with which they're absorbed by soil and disappear into cracks in wood and pavement."
Yassif gave a talk on the physical challenges of cleaning up, and the policy challenges decisionmakers should address before such an event happens. FAS also will issue a paper on the subject. FAS' work is among the few studies in this area, which came to public attention following September 11. The San Francisco Chronicle feature, quoting experts, said the economic effects of a dirty bomb explosion in a city could be "cataclysmic."
The article noted that emergency responders and military agencies are making "valiant efforts" to prepare for such attacks.