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NOVA; Dirty Bomb


Horizon: Dirty Bomb - WIP

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Dirty Bomb
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Series Description

Premiered March 1974 NOVA is a general-interest documentary series that addresses a single science issue each week. Billed as "science adventures for curious grown-ups" when it first aired in March, 1974, NOVA continues to offer an informative and entertaining approach to a challenging subject. 1996 marked NOVA's 23rd season, which makes it the longest-running science program on national television. It is also one of television's most acclaimed series, having won every major television award, most of them many times over. Series release date: 3/3/1974

Program Description

Last summer, an American Al Qaeda sympathizer, Jose Padilla, was arrested on suspicion of planning a "dirty bomb" attack on the United States. Suddenly, one of the ultimate nightmare terrorist scenarios seemed a step closer to reality. But few know what a dirty bomb really is or what devastation it could cause. In this film, NOVA explores beyond the alarming headlines to answer crucial questions: How easy is it to acquire materials and manufacture a dirty bomb? How does it differ from a conventional nuclear bomb, and how destructive would it be? How can lives be saved if one should explode? The program dramatizes two credible attack scenarios based on sophisticated models developed by radiation experts. These models are then played out in two major cities, Washington, D.C. and London, with results that are both frightening and sobering.



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Broadcast program

Media Type


Chicago: “NOVA; Dirty Bomb,” 12/20/2002, GBH Archives, accessed July 23, 2024,
MLA: “NOVA; Dirty Bomb.” 12/20/2002. GBH Archives. Web. July 23, 2024. <>.
APA: NOVA; Dirty Bomb. Boston, MA: GBH Archives. Retrieved from
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