radiological weapon,a bomb or warhead that uses conventional chemical explosives to disperse radioactive material, sometimes called a "dirty bomb." Designed to produce radiation sicknessradiation sickness,
harmful effect produced on body tissues by exposure to radioactive substances. The biological action of radiation is not fully understood, but it is believed that a disturbance in cellular activity results from the chemical changes caused by ionization (see
..... Click the link for more information. in a military force or a civilian population instead of destroy a target, radiation weapons typically consist of a highly radioactive material encased in lead and surrounded by a high explosive. During the 1980s, Iraq developed and tested a radiation weapon that was intended to produce health effects that would be difficult to explain, but decided to abandoned the project because a radiation level low enough to escape detection was also insufficient to cause significant medical problems in the weeks following an attack. See also nuclear weaponsnuclear weapons,
weapons of mass destruction powered by atomic, rather than chemical, processes. Nuclear weapons produce large explosions and hazardous radioactive byproducts by means of either nuclear fission or nuclear fusion.
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