Israel recently carried out a series of test detonations to measure the damage that would be caused by a so-called “dirty” radiological bomb, if it were set off by hostile forces, according to the left-wing Haaretz newspaper.
A “dirty bomb” does not require mastery of nuclear bomb production, but uses conventional explosives together with radioactive material. It can therefore more easily be acquired and deployed by non-state actors like terror groups.
According to Haaretz, most the of the detonations were carried out in the desert, with participation of a team from the Dimona nuclear facility, and one was performed at a closed facility.
“The research concluded that high-level radiation was measured at the center of the explosions, with a low level of dispersal of radiation by particles carried by the wind,” the newspaper wrote Monday. “Sources at the reactor said this doesn’t pose a substantial danger beyond the psychological effect.”
The paper adds that the staff of the Dimona nuclear reactor began a series of tests in 2010 that were dubbed the “Green Field” project, and were designed to assess the consequences of the detonation of a dirty bomb in Israel. The project was concluded in 2014, and its research findings have been presented at scientific gatherings and on nuclear science databases.
No dirty bomb has ever been deployed by terrorists, but officials in Israel have prepared for such a possibility. In 2006, the Health Ministry issued procedures on how to deal with such an event and the website of the Israel Defense Force’s Home Front Command features an explanation on how to proceed if such an event were to occur.