How Better Cancer Treatment Can Also Mean Better Nuclear Security

An Iraqi policeman inside Mosul's main hospital complex after it was retaken from Islamic State militants, July 4, 2017 (AP photo by Felipe Dana).
An Iraqi policeman inside Mosul's main hospital complex after it was retaken from Islamic State militants, July 4, 2017 (AP photo by Felipe Dana).
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A recent report in The Washington Post that the self-proclaimed Islamic State almost stumbled upon radioactive material in Mosul—in the form of cobalt-60, a substance used in radiation therapy—raises a profound dilemma about cancer treatment in developing countries and the risk of terrorists obtaining a key ingredient for making “dirty bombs.” Cobalt-60 radiation machines are one of the many tools doctors have used in the treatment of cancer for the past 50 years. In North America, nearly all of these units have been replaced with more advanced technology called linear accelerators, which do not contain radioactive material and provide medically […]

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