Homeland Security Today on 6th April reported on an investigation undertaken by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) in the US. GAO’s subsequent report examined the extent to which radioactive security experts agreed that the National Regulatory Commission’s assessment of risk includes all relevant criteria. GAO used the views of security experts to define high risk, and they generally agreed that high risk includes both larger and some smaller quantities of radioactive materials. However, experts generally agreed that the NRC assessment of risks of radioactive material does not include all relevant criteria – with the argument that the NRC limits its criteria to prompt fatalities and deterministic health effects from radiation, which, according to the experts and recent studies, are unlikely to result from an RDD (radiological dispersal device or “dirty bomb”). It says that studies have found that a large RDD could cause about $30 billion in damage and 1,500 fatalities from the evacuation, whilst a considerably smaller RDD could cause $24 billion in damage and 800 fatalities from the evacuation. The NRC’s own 2016 report evaluating its security requirements for high-risk radioactive material considered only the security of larger quantities of such material and not smaller quantities – and smaller quantities may be all that is required for a RDD. As a result of its review, GAO made 3 recommendations to NRC, but NRC generally disagreed with the recommendations.
The GAQ report is at –