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Report calls for securing medical devices

WASHINGTON, Jan. 13 (UPI) -- A new report calls on officials to secure widely used medical devices in the United States for fear that terrorists could seize the equipment to build a bomb.

The Defense Science Board recently released a report calling for a $200 million investment from the U.S. Defense and Homeland Security departments to ensure the security of medical equipment that uses radioactive isotopes, Government Executive reported.

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The Defense Science Board, a committee of experts assigned by the Defense Department to conduct research, said blood irradiators using cesium-137 radioactive isotopes could pose a security threat. Officials say the equipment could be used to construct a dirty bomb that could be detonated in a major metropolitan area.

Critics of the report say the blood irradiator equipment is critical for ensuring that blood products for transfusions and other reasons are safe.

The Defense Science Board called for the replacement, over a five-year period, of the equipment with irradiators using electron beam or cobalt sources, Government Executive reported.

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