A successful campaign to educate the public about radiological terrorism must begin with scientifically credible and easily understood information about the potential threats. This paper provides the foundational information needed to understand radiological terrorism. In particular, the paper defines the different types of radiological attacks: dispersing radiation through using radiological dispersal devices or radiation emission devices or releasing radiation through attacks or sabotage of nuclear facilities such as nuclear power plants or plutonium reprocessing sites. Also, the paper examines the physical and psychological barriers terrorists confront when deciding whether to perpetrate an act of radiological terrorism. To date, few terrorist groups have expressed interest in radiological terrorism; however, it is important to understand that terrorist motivations are dynamic. Groups could become more or less attracted to radiological terrorism depending on internal and external influences, including the threat perceptions authorities broadcast to the public and terrorists.
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