6 April 2017Insurance

Economic impact of 'dirty bomb' could be tens of billions of dollars

A radiological ‘dirty bomb’ poses a major threat to the West due the accessibility of materials needed to craft it, as well as its potential multibillion-dollar economic impact, according to specialists from both UK mutual reinsurer Pool Re and Washington-based Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI).

Pool Re and NTI spoke to Intelligent Insurer ahead of their joint conference in London held on April 6, 2017 to discuss the risks of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) materials in the UK and globally.

“The economic impact could be in the order of tens of billions of dollars if a terrorist were to get their hands on a nuclear or radiological weapon and detonate it in a major city,” said Andrew Bieniawski, vice president for material security and minimisation at NTI.

The radioactive isotope Caesium-137 was identified as a material that can be used to create a dirty bomb, and can be found in more than 150 countries across the world, for example in blood irradiators in hospitals.

Pool Re underwrites more than £2 trillion of exposure in commercial property to terrorism risk across the UK mainland. It provides terrorism reinsurance, and develops loss estimation models, such as CBRN weapons risk models, in collaboration with external research partners such as NTI.

For a wider picture of the ‘major’ threat which CBRN attacks pose, the numerous threats and potential risk mitigation, click here.

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More on this story

6 April 2017   Chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) attacks represent a huge threat to large populated cities and the material is readily available to terrorists, according to Pool Re. Speaking ahead of a joint conference in London, Pool Re and the Washington-based non-profit organisation Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) explain to Intelligent Insurer why they are now focusing on this particular risk.
6 April 2017   Terrorist attacks increased 14 percent worldwide in 2016, and are affecting an ever-wider set of businesses in more countries with more diversified tactics and intent to kill, broker Aon said in its 2017 Risk Maps for Political Risk, Terrorism and Political Violence.