LAHORE After short lulls, international media repeatedly explodes with startling reports about 'insecurity of Pakistans nuclear facilities (Arnaud de Borchgrave, Hersh, et al). Hypersensitive analysts have postulated that terrorists may steal nuclear material to fabricate a dirty bomb, a euphemism for a radiological dispersal device. Post-graduate students in foreign universities have been analysing hypothetical implications of radioactive material falling into hands of so-called terrorists. A report by Henry Stimson Center, Washington (followed by several other reports) laments Nuclear and radiological terrorism remains a frightening possibility in India and Pakistan, and the source material for nuclear terrorism could come from illicit transactions of poorly protected materials originating outside the region, as well as material from within the region used for military or civilian purposes. The report even provides an analysis of the effects of a nuclear accident and/or nuclear terrorism from a 'dirty bomb attack on Indian and Pakistani cities. The Stimson Center warns, Depending on location and yield, a small nuclear explosion in either of the countries could cause more casualties than Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The report titled Nuclear terrorism and nuclear accidents in South Asia, also cautions that radioactive fallout from a dirty bomb in a major commercial center in either of the neighbors could have potentially disastrous economic, psychological and political ramifications. This report was provided to the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee to facilitate Cooperative Threat Reduction Program on nuclear proliferation in South Asia. The report concludes that although India and Pakistan 'have established regulatory bodies to deal with the safety and security of their nuclear materials, these may not be sufficient to protect against every potential threat. Yet another report, authored by Kishore Kuchibhotla, PhD (Biophysics) from Harvard, and Matthew McKinzie, a nuclear physicist serving as a staff scientist with USAs Nuclear Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council, argues that three other types of events could prompt unintended escalation in South Asia: a terrorist use of RDDs (radiological dispersal devices); a terrorist detonation of a nuclear weapon; and the accidental explosion of nuclear arms for example at military bases in either India or Pakistan... The report points out that while nuclear weapons themselves are closely guarded, all sorts of radioactive material could be found in research laboratories and hospitals that could provide the basic materials for the making of a dirty bomb.... Nearly 10,000 radioactive sources are used throughout India of which about 400 are particularly worrisome.. The report predicts that dirty bomb detonation in Karachi, New Delhi, Mumbai or Islamabad could result in casualties that at the very minimum would number in the tens of thousands (It is eerie to note that The Time (Pentagon) correspondent Mark Thompson asserts in his article What Is A 'Dirty Bomb, Its unlikely to kill 10,000 people). The US authorities have recorded over 175 cases worldwide of nuclear materials (not bombs) being smuggled out of former Soviet Union territories and other countries. The Federation of American Scientists, nevertheless, admits, radiological attacks could result in some deaths but not hundreds of thousands of casualties that could be caused by a crude nuclear weapon. The US scientist conclude, Significant quantities of radioactive material have been lost or stolen from US facilities during the past few years. Radiological materials, is stored in thousands of facilities around the US, many of which may not be adequately protected against theft by determined terrorists. Materials like Iridium-192, Cobalt 60 (Gamma emitter), Cessium-137 (Gamma emitter), Americium (Alpha emitter) and even plutonium could still be stolen from over 21,000 laboratories, food irradiation plants, oil drilling facilities and medical centres in the USA. But, it is not an easy job to make an effective dirty bomb. It appears that the concern about the dirty bombs is overblown. History of terrorism reflects that terrorists are interested in symbolic targets (which could yield widespread publicity), not in mass killing (Verinder Grover, Encyclopaedia of International Terrorism). A dirty bomb is not known to have been tested by any country or detonated by any terrorist anywhere in the world. So, its composition and scope of its destructive power is shrouded in mystery. However, it is generally believed to consist of a bomb made of conventional explosives such as TNT, salted with radioactive material. Contrary to the dirty bombs, fall-out of the tested A-bombs is well recorded. The major powers declared moratoriums on nuclear-bombs testing only in 1992. The pre-1992-period test scoreboard of the USA, former Soviet Union, France, and Britain is an explosion every 18 days, 21 days, 61 days, and 331 days (R Venkataraman Nuclear Explosion and its Aftermath). It is much easier and cheaper to make a chemical or biological bomb than a dirty bomb (It is believed that the chemical bombs used by Saddams Iraq against Iran were made with Indian know-how). Though a dirty bomb has never been used by any terrorist, a bio/chemical bomb was actually used by Japans former doomsday-cult Guru Shoko Asahara. The Guru was sentenced to death for masterminding the deadly 1995 nerve/chemical gas (sarin) attack on the Tokyo subway and a string of other crimes that killed 27 people. According to the Central Intelligence Agency, 'Terrorist interest in chemical and biological weapons is not surprising, given the relative ease with which some of these weapons can be produced in simple laboratories... Although popular fiction and national attention have focused on terrorist use of nuclear weapons, chemical and biological weapons are more likely choices for such groups. Experts agree that it is more difficult to manufacture Sarin gas, used by the terrorists in Japan, than mustard, tabun, soman, et al. To some experts, an effective bio-terrorism facility could be built at $ 200,000 to 2 million. Hence, it appears that dirty bomb is a nothing except a hoax to exploit nouveau-nuclear or nuclear-threshold nations. It could be a weapon of mass disruption, but not a weapon of mass destruction.