Report details consequences of dirty bomb detonation in capital

A recent report prepared by Aristatek, Inc., examined the effects a specific type of radiological dispersion device (RDD) could have on Washington, D.C.

An RDD, also known as a "dirty bomb," using the highly radioactive isotope cobalt 60 and detonated near the U.S. capital could contaminate a large portion of the city and narrowly miss the White House, HSToday reports.

The Aristatek report said winds could carry cobalt 60 over the White House and other federal buildings if a dirty bomb was detonated in a different location, according to HSToday.

"The cleanup or decontamination process for this scenario is much more complicated, if even possible," the report said, HSToday reports. "Dust is very difficult to remove from pavement and exterior of buildings where some surfaces are porous and can physically trap small particles. No simple washing or chemical treatment will 'neutralize' the radioactive cobalt 60, it must be physically removed or the area must be evacuated until sufficient time has elapsed for the radioactive level to decay."

The report includes detailed information about gamma radiation and health risks associated with the detonation of a dirty bomb.

Aristatek is making its report, "Unthinkable - Radiological Dispersion Device Using Cobalt 60," available at no cost to hazmat teams and other first responders to assist in the preparation for a terrorist attack, according to HSToday.