NBC Weapons: September 21, 2003


The American Los Alamos National Laboratory has developed techniques to analyze nuclear components of a nuclear, or dirty, bomb and produce a profile in six hours. Previous methods took over 24 hours and needed a lot of expensive equipment. The U.S. maintains an electronic library of radioactive material, as nuclear material for bombs, or peaceful uses, has a unique "fingerprint" that identifies where it came from. The new Los Alamos technique can be done with portable equipment, thus speeding up the process of identifying the source of nuclear material of there is a terrorist attack using a nuclear explosion, or a conventional explosion spreading radioactive material (a "dirty bomb"). Knowing the source of the material makes it easier to catch the terrorists, and possibly cut off an illegal source of nuclear material.


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