A series of experiments have been conducted by Israel to examine the effects of and damage caused by so-called “dirty” bombs, a combination of conventional explosive and radioactive materials. The tests were part of the “Green Field” project over the past four years at the nuclear reactor in Dimona. The project supervisors insisted that the objectives were defensive rather than offensive.
According to Haaretz, in the wake of the 9/11 attacks in the USA concerns grew about the possibility of terrorist gaining access to “dirty” bombs, as threatened by Al-Qaeda at the time. Such threats have not materialised. Israel, however, has been conducting the tests to see what might happen in the event that such a weapon is used.
In 2006, the Israeli Ministry of Health issued instructions about the treatment necessary if dirty bombs were deployed against targets in the country. The experiments started in Dimona in 2010 and ended last year; their findings were published in scientific circles. Twenty bombs weighing between a quarter kilogram and 25 kilogram mixed with “Technetium-99m”, which is used in the pharmaceutical industry, were built for the programme of tests.
It was discovered that there was a very high rate of radiation in the centre of the explosion as well as small amounts dispersed by the wind in the surrounding areas. However, the conclusion from the research suggests that the fundamental danger associated with such bombs compared with “regular” munitions is connected more with the psychological impact on the public.