Estimating the Effects of a Potential Terrorist Attack on Railway Transport in Poland Using a Radiological Exposure Device
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The possibility of theft of radioactive material and its use in a terrorist attack is a serious problem for countries thathave, or plan to have, nuclear power stations on their territory. The terrorist attacks which took place in Tokyo in 1995 usingchemical weapons in the form of sarin, as well as attacks using biological weapons in the form of anthrax sent by mail in the UnitedStates after 2001, indicate that if such material fell into the hands of terrorist groups they would certainly use it to carry outan attack. In this article the author attempts to assess the effects of a potential attack on the Polish public rail transport systemusing radioactive materials. The article presents ways in which nuclear material can be used in terrorism, details selected radioactivesources that can be used in a radiological attack, and describes the medical effects of ionising radiation on the human body.The paper presents the results of calculations, for example the length of exposure to radiation of a human body during an attack witha Radiological Exposure Device (RED) using Cobalt-60 depending on the distance from the source of ionising radiation, and the riskof threat of a terrorist attack using radioactive material. The author also presents the consequences of a terrorist attack on publicrail transport, and determines the likelihood of successful placement by an attacking terrorist of ionising radiation sources in the railvehicle, and the probability that such an attack would use an RED.
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