The Boston Marathon attack has drawn new attention to the risk of radiation poisoning from a dirty bomb detonated in a heavily-populated urban area. Bostonians were inconvenienced by the shutting down of their city for a day; imagine if it had been a dirty bomb and a quarter million people had been ordered to evacuate their homes and offices, because of false fears about the amount of radiation which is actually dangerous. As Jon Basil Utley explains, the best way to prevent unnecessary future panics is by understanding the real levels of radiation risk.
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