Cover Image


View/Hide Left Panel
  • acute irradiation of humans by significant radiation doses that within a short period of time (hours or days) results in severe consequences to human health and even fatalities

  • prolonged irradiation of humans resulting from environmental contamination with radioactive substances that could trigger long-term adverse radiation effects including an increase in illnesses and fatalities from, for example, cancer

Indirect consequences mean social, economic, political, psychological, and demographic consequences to society, including the following:

  • direct damage from a terrorist act leading to possible deaths or serious health effects, radioactive contamination of habitat infrastructure, or loss of property

  • costs associated with elimination of the consequences of terrorist acts, required increases in radiation monitoring, deployment of systems for large-scale assessment of the actual radiation situation and its projections for the near and distant future, priority and long-term measures to protect the population, and cleanup of contaminated territories

  • degradation of the socioeconomic and psychological situation not only in the regions severely affected by radiation contamination, but also in large territories where small changes in the radiation situation would cause hardly detectable effects to human health and the environment; this would likely trigger population movement from the region and loss of the regional economic potential; frightened people would tend to leave and take their relatives with them from contaminated areas, and the entire way of life for those who stayed behind could also be changed

  • costs associated with the withdrawal from the economy of activities in the contaminated territories; possible closure of enterprises; reduction of consumer interest in items being produced in the region regardless of the real contamination levels; devaluation of real estate in the contaminated region; loss of revenues from trade, tourism, and so forth; and decrease in economic attractiveness of the territory

  • costs resulting from negative attitudes of the society to radiation in gen-eral and nuclear power in particular

Assessments of previous radiation accidents show that the indirect consequences of a radiological terrorism act can lead to economic and social losses that exceed direct losses from radiation impacts on people. In connection with this, serious attention should be paid to potential threats of radiological terrorism acts involving ionizing radiation sources as radiological weapon components. This is due to the wide use of radiation sources in various fields of the economy (industry, agriculture, medicine, and independent power sources; see Table 1)

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement