London, Jan.18 (ANI): A secret war is underway to stop terrorists smuggling deadly "dirty bombs" into Britain.
Hi-tech machines have been installed at major ports to detect materials that could be used to build the devices, reports The Sun.
Government security supremo Lord Alan West disclosed the covert operation to the tabloid.
He also revealed there will be a big rise in the use of dogs to sniff out explosives. Lord West stressed they could have snared the underpants bomber who tried to blow up a jet in Detroit.
"We have put in a whole range of measures to stop them but cannot be complacent. We have to be vigilant. We have looked much more closely at chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear materials which could be used to make dirty bombs and how we can stop them being brought in," he said.
"The portals enable us to see when a lorry or a container comes through whether it is has any of this kind of material on board. When the portals detect radiological and nuclear materials we can take whatever action is necessary. They are already in a number of ports and other places and will be going into more," he added.
Dirty bombs - known as "the poor man's nuclear weapon" - are crude devices that combine simple explosive with any radioactive material. They are designed not to cause instant carnage and destruction like traditional bombs but to contaminate whole areas, kill thousands with disease and spark panic.