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Study finds dirty bomb attack could cost DTLA $1 billion immediately, $16 billion later

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new study out of USC finds that a terrorist attack in downtown L.A. would do far more long-term psychological damage — leading to long-term economic damage — than previously thought.

USC researchers sought to measure the psychological impact of a so-called "dirty bomb," an explosive device designed mainly to spread radiation and cause widespread panic.

They determined that immediate effects would cost the city about a billion dollars. That includes dealing with injuries, reconstruction and general clean-up. 

The study says downtown could take as long as a decade to get back to normal. After showing a pool of 625 people mock news stories about the attack, researchers discovered that 41 percent "wouldn't go shopping or dining there" up to six months later. 

Angelenos who work downtown said they’d demand a 25 percent pay raise before even thinking about going back to their jobs.

Factor all that in, and the real cost could top $16 billion.


With contributions from Tony Pierce

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