I just thought of something else, in addition to my original response. I should
actually give in on this. For 3 reasons:

1. I was wrong when I said AECL Med Prods (now known as Theratronics, and along
with Nordion, part of MDS) was one of the few sources of radioactive caesium
isotopes. I was in a time warp when I wrote that. They no longer supply it and
haven't for some time. Therein lies part of the problem, as it happens. In my day
we had replaced caesium units with the far superior Co60 units, but were still
maintaining old caesium units, but except for a few small private clinics in the
US, caesium was, in the late 80s/early 90s, when I was in the biz, only used in
3rd world countries. And therein, as I say, lies part of the problem, because 3rd
world disposal standards aren't exactly up to snuff, meaning the stuff's
relatively easy -- too easy -- to get, and it's also easier to shield against, so
easier to get through gamma ray detectors at ports (whose budget -- the
inspection division -- incidentally and highly ironically, has, at least at the
Port Authority of New York and New Jersey -- been drastically cut back by the
Bush administration but I digress).

2. For reason #3, you are in spirit correct in the sense that it's highly
unlikely caesium would be used in a dirty bomb, so the more I warn against it,
the more I am, in fact, guilty of fearmongering, as you say.

3. For reasons I won't get into in public* there are "better" alternatives
available to terrorists**, alternatives which are easier to handle, more
"productive", and easier to package, deliver and hard to detect (although not
impossible -- let's hope that your new cabinet ministry doesn't suffer from the
usual rule of bureaucracy, which tends to "dumb down" to a low, if not lowest,
common denominator. Here's to hoping they listen to their science and military
advisors and get some proper detection equipment at cargo-handling facilities.
X-ray detectors and some basic AI software go a long ways).

* The NSA is way behind in their efforts to read everybody's email, and I stick
to the "international English" spelling of caesium in the vain hope that their
filters are set for the US spelling, but in any case, if I start mentioning some
of the isotopes that are far better for terrorist use in dirty bombs there is a
chance I'd get a friendly visit from our local CSIS officer, as they work with
the NSA. We have free speech, too, in theory -- as you do (in theory) -- but
there's no sense asking for trouble.

** As I mention from time to time, people who read my emails would normally have
no indication I am suffering from a neurological disorder (unless you consider
liberalism to be a mental illness....[don't answer that]), but I always look over
my posts relatively carefully since in speech I often make substitutions for
words, because there's some rewiring going on in my brain, to make a long story
short. But I actually wrote "tourists" instead of "terrorists" in the first draft
of my post. I thought that was pretty funny -- it's like suffering from
spoonerism (sputtering from soonerisms?)

Jon Spencer wrote:

> Sorry, Marc, but you are wrong.  This information comes from several experts
> in this field who deal with the actual (expected) contaminants.  Neither you
> nor I are experts, so from my perspective, you lose.  Spreading hysteria
> must be a Canadian sport, which has filtered down to the anti-nuke folks in
> the US! :-)
>
> Jon
>
> Marc A. Schindler wrote:
>
> It's *not* that simple. You can't just shower off caesium particles, which
> get
> absorbed into the skin, and get breathed in to the lungs.  Cobalt 60 dust is
> even
> worse, but harder to obtain since the way it normally comes for medical use
> is in
> tiny cylinders 1 mm long and about .2 mm across, packed into a triple-welded
> cylinder about 3.5 cm long and 1.5 - 2 cm across.
>
> I was in one of the classrooms at Parirenwatwa Hospital (formerly Sir
> Sanford
> Fleming Hospital) in Harare, Zimbabwe, about 7 or 8 years ago, and saw a
> display
> of what happened when a janitor picked up a small vial of caesium powder and
> put
> it in his pocket (it was a lesson on the need for proper storage security --
> this
> kind of incident would be unthinkable in an OECD country's hospital. One
> would
> hope, anyway). He only had it for a day before he gave it to a doctor, but
> it ate
> away most of his genitals and lower abdomen skin. Very gruesome.
>
> If you get it in your lungs there's no immediate problem, but your chance of
> getting lung cancer skyrockets.
>
> Jon Spencer wrote:
>
> > Actually, dirty bombs are not a big deal from a radioactivity point of
> view.
> > If one is exposed to a dirty nuke, one only has to get to a complete
> shower
> > (at home will do just fine) within a couple of hours, and there will be no
> > long term effects.  The cleanup will be a pain to be sure, but not a
> really
> > big deal either.
> >
> > Of course, with all the hysteria over nuclear power that the envirowackos
> > have stirred up, the emotional damage would be much greater.
> >
> > But that's a topic for another thread, one that I have begun doing
> detailed
> > and extensive research on.  You will be the first to see the fruits of
> that
> > research - sort of a test market!
> >
> > Jon
> >
> > Marc A. Schindler wrote:
> > I think the most imminent threat isn't from a conventional nuke but from
> > so-called dirty bombs, which are conventional explosives packed with a
> messy
> > radioactive substance such as caesium (which is a powder in natural form).
> >
> >
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> >
>
> --
> Marc A. Schindler
> Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada -- Gateway to the Boreal Parkland
>
> "Man will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of the time he will
> pick
> himself up and continue on" - Winston Churchill
>
> Note: This communication represents the informal personal views of the
> author
> solely; its contents do not necessarily reflect those of the author's
> employer,
> nor those of any organization with which the author may be associated.
>
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>

--
Marc A. Schindler
Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada -- Gateway to the Boreal Parkland

“Man will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of the time he will pick
himself up and continue on” – Winston Churchill

Note: This communication represents the informal personal views of the author
solely; its contents do not necessarily reflect those of the author’s employer,
nor those of any organization with which the author may be associated.

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