Australia bans criminals from sensitive sites containing dirty bomb material

An anti-terrorism measure in Australia has banned nearly 1,500 people over the last three years from working in sites that contain materials that could be used to make a dirty bomb.

The AusCheck system was enacted by federal officials and bans certain hospital, airport and seaport workers with violent criminal convictions from working in highly sensitive areas where biological agents are imported, exported or used for scientific purposes, according to

David Olney, a defense and security professor at the University of Adelaide, said the measure targets those who have no direct ties to organized terror networks but have criminal tendencies and should be kept away from dangerous materials.

"The real threat is from what we call 'cleanskins', or people who have gone under the radar," Olney said, reports. "This is about keeping people who meet certain criteria away from weapon-izable material and situations that are not necessarily going to be picked up by authorities."

Olney said that the restrictions are an acceptable measure considering Australia's zero tolerance towards terrorism risk.

In total, 3334,317 workers have been evaluated as part of the program. Of those, 1241 with criminal records have been granted limited access to sensitive areas and 1,474 have been banned entirely.