I think that this program was neither fair nor balanced. It would have been more fair to have given an accurate assessment of the actual risks. Access to a research reactor does not automatically lead to a dirty bomb or a nuclear bomb - there is a lot of other work that would have to be done to make these happen. It is possible, but difficult to pull off in practice.Technorati tags: Nuclear Energy, Energy, Technology, Homeland Security, ABC News
Regarding the lack of balance, I would have liked to have seen a radiation safety professional to discuss the real risks from exposure to low levels of radiation, rather than the assumption that it is automatically deadly. In other words, I think they are underestimating the difficulties involved in turning "access" into a terrorist weapon, and I think they overestimated the risks from such an attack.
The bottom line is that the show said that a lot of things were "possible," but didn't mention anything that was "likely." They pointed out legitimate security risks but I don't know that the manner in which they presented their information did much to advance the public debate on this matter. And, unfortunately, the network (like the government) continues to tell everyone in the world that universities are "soft" targets, making it that much more likely that a university will someday be attacked by terrorists - even if they upgrade their security, because I doubt that there will be a future show lauding universities on these improvements. This is too bad.
In my mind, the real research reactor risks are posed by overseas research reactors, of which much has been written. While there are some potential concerns, there are far easier and more effective ways of making dirty bombs.
Friday, October 14, 2005
Posted by Eric McErlain at 10:15 AM