Supply Risk Learnings From the Litvinenko Radiation Poisoning

The fallout -- no pun intended -- from the Polonium poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko serves as a great proof point for the supply chain calamities we might face if there is an act of terrorism involving more than a tiny dosage of radiation targeted at a single individual. According to one report tracking the aftermath of the incident no one is taking anything for granted when it comes to public safety: "Following the announcement by British Airways (BA) that small radioactive traces had been found on two of its Boeing 767 aircraft, Britain's national carrier said it would contact more than 33,000 passengers in a radiation alert ... A third Boeing 767, grounded in Moscow after BA cancelled its return flight to London Wednesday, would remain at the Russian capital's airport until the position is clearer."

As I write, there are now 12 sites which are considered contaminated (including now a fourth airplane, according to CNN) due to the radiation poisoning. One wonders in a far greater catastrophe involving a nuclear terrorist attack (even a small "dumb" bomb that just locally spreads radioactive material) how much of our global supply chain will come to a screeching halt in the aftermath and investigation. And now that terrorist groups know the economic and political impact that even a small, targeted attack on a single person can bring, one wonders if they will be emboldened to deploy similar tactics sooner rather than later.

Jason Busch

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