Radiological warfare

Radiological warfare is any form of warfare involving deliberate radiation poisoning, without relying on nuclear fission or nuclear fusion.

Radiological weapons are normally considered weapons of mass destruction, and are very commonly equated with a radiological bomb often mis-called a "dirty bomb" (which refers to a nuclear weapon with a radiological side effect). However, bombs are very inefficient ways to spread radiation, and all such special weapons have problems that render them likely impractical for military uses.

Rather, radiological warfare would be of vastly more use to terrorists spreading or intensifying fear, uncertainty and doubt. The release of radioactive material may involve no special "weapon" and include no direct killing of people, but rather make whole areas or structures unusable or unfavorable for the support of human life. The elevated radiation levels in the targeted areas would make these areas dangerous to humans. An area, once contaminated with radiation, is often extraordinarily difficult to clean up. Radiation is difficult to purge from the built environment, and may take a long time to fully decay in the natural environment.

Like land mines, radiological weapons can be used as an area denial weapons method.


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