reply to post by CeeRZ
Very interesting story. Initially it didn't seem to make sense to attack such a minimally important target as a earth-and-rockfill embankment dam.
But after expending a little more thought on the matter, I determined that there are actually some good reasons to use the reservoir as an attack
If a terrorist were to simultaneous detonate dirty-bombs (DB) at both the North and South ends of the reservoir the attack could have an enormous
1. At the South end of the reservoir is the dam. The explosive impact of the DB will take out the dam and the hydroelectric generation capacity.
- This would result in a very sudden change in the amount of power available on the grid. As we saw with the Northeastern US power outage a few
years ago, one small electric utility caused a cascade failure in the grid that caused loss of power to several million people. Even a localized
cascade failure would likely impact Salt Lake City. Ironically the best time to attack the grid in this manner is late at night when there is less
spare capacity to handle such major changes.
- The DB poisons the reservoir and the dam collapse releases the radioactive water in an uncontrolled fashion. The river would take this poisoned
water downstream to other reservoirs. Along the way, much of the irrigated land that depends on that water supply would be contaminated by the
radioactive water. This denies access to that property for quite some time.
- Once other reservoirs become contaminated, the entire Salt Lake City metropolitan area would be denied sufficient water to function.
- Collapse of the Salt Lake City infrastructure has enormous economic impacts including the loss of the use of an International Airport.
2. At the North end of the reservoir is the intersection of Interstates 84 and 80. Given the proximity of the reservoir to the intersection, a DB
detonated at that end would cause radiological contamination of that road section.
- Interstate 80 is a major corridor that connects California to the Great Lakes. If that corridor is interrupted at this point, detours would cause
overloading on other highways that are not designed to handle that level of traffic. Slowdowns mean more fuel wasted and greater transportation
- Any attempts at evacuating SLC would be hampered by the loss of the Northeastern Interstate route.
3. Presumably the DBs would be detonated at a water depth that would allow the greatest possible distribution of water into the air and onto the land
that surrounds the reservoir. The prevailing lower level winds would carry the contaminated water over an even wider area. All vegetation becomes
permanently radioactive, underground water system become contaminated.
4. While it may not be affected, the current jet stream is running directly over this part of Utah and is experiencing strong wind gusts.
- SLC is crippled.
- International commerce is hampered.
- Wide area power outages.
- Mass evacuations hampered by loss of evacuation routes.
- Permanent radiological effects on a significant amount of territory including agricultural land.
- Interruption of a major shipping and travel corridor.
- Possible contamination entering the jet stream, affecting the entire East Coast of the US.
Now here's the good part. If the dirty bombs were replaced with small nuclear weapons.
- The amount of water and other contaminated material propelled into the atmosphere is increased exponentially.
- In addition to the water, super heated steam is also created by the detonation.
- Given the location of the jet stream and its current activity level, there would be no doubt about contamination being carried aloft to other parts
of the country.
Now here's the better part. Even if the contamination levels are within tolerable limits, the public mindset will likely cause them to avoid the
water. The terrorist don't actually need to attain the destructive levels that I've detailed here, all they need to do is to instill the fear that
these destructive effects are real.
NOTE: If this sounds like the plot of a good disaster movie, then great. When the motion picture is released, please make sure to comply with the
Above Top Secret terms and conditions of use.