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I doubt it would work.

Reader comment on item: Might the Saudis Blow Up Their Oil Infrastructure?

Submitted by bernardz (Australia), May 12, 2005 at 15:44

Self destruct systems like this are very dubious in concept. In theory as long as you have life, you have hope. As once the Saudi use this weapon, they lose all.

If it's going to be tried, Alfred Kohler comments seem quite valid that such a self destructive deterrence would have to be publically known. Otherwise it's not going to deter anyone from attacking it.

Also I read these other comments on another site on Gerald Posner works

From Little Green Footballs site --->>>


#77 Kenneth 5/11/2005 01:13PM PDT
The alleged Saudi plot to booby-trap their oil industry with dirty bombs is an interesting theory, until you start to think about it. Here are a few reasons why it's nonsense.

Firstly, the threat is rather overblown. The isotopes cited all produce low energy beta radiation and are dangerous only if ingested or inhaled. Their presence might be hazardous and likely to cause panic in a city with a large population, but not at remote oil wells and pipeline installations, where the few workers required for service could easily be protected.

Secondly, the logistics don't make sense. Assume a small oil installation of 1 square kilometer. 1 tonne of material dispersed over that area would result in a concentration of only 10 micrograms per square centimeter, barely greater than background radiation levels. The entire Saudi oil infrastructure would require hundreds of thousands of tonnes of these isotopes. Is there any evidence such quantities have been obtained by the Saudis? I don't think so. In any event, the contamination would not stay in place due to wind errosion (it's a sandy desert out there!) I would be more worried about a getting a sun burn, than the effect of 10 micrograms of Sr 90 on my shoes.

Finally, petroleum is not chemically reactive to Sr, Cs or Rb. If the materials were introduced to the oil reservoirs, the isotopes could easily be removed during the normal refining processes. In fact, Sr & Cs both bind readily with sand, which is a rather effective filtering material especially plentiful in Arabia. On the other hand, Rb ignites in air and reacts violently with water, making it easily retrievable.

In short, the risk of such "dirty bombs" is minimal, the amount of material required is unrealistic, & the contamination will just blow away. Which is, I believe, what the author is trying to do: huff & puff and blow away at a junk-science political thriller.

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