Beijing to hold dirty bomb drill next month

Published 20 June 2007

In the run up to the 2008 Olympic Games, the Chinese authorities practice responses to various terrorist attacks

China has already shown itself to be a good customer for zNose, the chemical detector from Newbury Park, California-based Electronic Sensor Technology (EST). Environmental protection agencies in several Chinese provinces have acquired the device to monitor chemical pollution in rivers and lakes.

Makers of radiological detectors should keep a close eye on the Chinese market, too. Beijing’s municipal government is set to conduct China’s first-ever drill to test its responses to a potential terrorist nuclear attack next month. Organized by the municipal health bureau, the drill will involve several government bureaus, including environmental protection, the center for disease control, and fire brigade, said Shan Qingsheng, an official with the government’s emergency response office.

The People’s Daily reports that the drill would focus on a scenario in which a dirty bomb loaded with explosives and radioactive substances is set off outside an Olympic stadium, said Shan. The agencies involved would have to react to the bomb. Using radiation detectors, the fire brigade would first find a safe route into the scene of the “bombing” before rescuers could enter to give first aid. Medical teams would then give a radiation rating and define the type of radiation so that the injured could receive appropriate treatment. The national medical base of nuclear and radiation incident, located in the Third Hospital of Peking University, will receive and treat “victims” of the drill, according to the drill plan.

The organizers declined to give the exact time and location of the drill, nor how many people would be involved. The dirty bomb drill is one of several practice runs by the Chinese government. Yesterday afternoon, a state-level anti-terrorist drill was held in Beijing, testing the capacity of Chinese police to handle a large-scale hostage taking and helped improve China’s antiterrorist ability.