Radiation Issues In Nuclear Blasts- Part 1, by Dr. Bones of doomandbloom.net

Although many don’t view a nuclear event as a likely disaster scenario, it’s important to learn about all the possible issues that may impact your family in uncertain times. Given the instability in the Korean Peninsula and elsewhere, the issue of nuclear blasts and the radiation they emit is a timely subject.

Understanding the Definition of Radiation

The quick definition of radiation is energy given off by unstable matter in the form of rays or high-speed particles. The following is some basic chemistry paraphrased from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (US NRC): All matter, including you, is composed of atoms. Atoms are made up of various parts; the central nucleus contains minute particles called protons and neutrons, and the atom’s outer shell contains other particles called electrons. The nucleus has a positive electrical charge, while the electrons have a negative electrical charge. Neutrons are, well, neutral. These entities work within the atom toward a stable balance by getting rid of excess atomic energy (called radioactivity). Unstable nuclei want to become stable and may emit energy; this emission is what we call radiation.

Types Of Nuclear Weapons

Until the recent missile launches by North Korea, most people were concerned about the use of “dirty bombs“ by terrorists. A dirty bomb is not technically a nuclear weapon. It uses conventional explosives to disperse radioactive material in the general area. Usually, the effect of the explosion causes more damage and casualties than the radioactive elements.

Atomic Bombs

Our concept of an “atomic bomb“ as developed by the Manhattan Project in the 1940s is one that uses “nuclear fission”. The explosion is caused by a chain reaction that splits atomic nuclei. The result is a wave of intense heat, light, pressure, and kinetic energy equaling thousands of tons (also called kilotons) of TNT. This is followed by the release of radioactive particles in a cloud that resembles a mushroom (if a ground blast). Mixed with dirt and debris, the particles fall back to Earth, contaminating crops, animals, and people. This will happen in the area of the detonation but will also be blown elsewhere by the prevailing winds.

Hydrogen Bombs

Atomic bombs gave way to hydrogen bombs. These are best described as “thermonuclear” weapons due to the generation of extreme heat during detonation. H-Bombs use a process known as nuclear fusion, which takes two light nuclei and forms a heavier one, using variations of hydrogen atoms called “isotopes”. This fusion process requires high temperatures and usually involves a fission reaction as discussed above to initiate. H-Bombs don’t just generate power in the kilotons; they can reach levels in the megatons (millions of tons) of TNT.

Neutron Bombs

Another type of thermonuclear weapon is the “neutron bomb“, which generates much less kinetic energy and thermal damage but much more radiation. Enhanced radiation weapons like the neutron bomb generate a fusion reaction that allows neutrons to escape the weapon with only a limited blast. Originally designed by the United States to counter massive Soviet tank formations, the neutron bomb is an example of a tactical nuclear weapon. The effect is to leave infrastructure mostly intact while wiping out human targets due to massive radiation.

Damage Caused By A Nuclear Attack

The impact of a nuclear bomb is dependent on its “yield”—a measure of the amount of energy produced. The Hiroshima A-Bomb had a yield of 15 kilotons, while the “Tsar Bomba”, detonated by the Russians North of the Arctic Circle in 1961, had a yield of 51 megatons (51,000 kilotons!). Most of the weapons stockpile of the U.S. and Russia consist of bombs in the 100 to 500 kiloton range, much stronger than Hiroshima and much weaker than Tsar Bomba. This is because they are meant to be fired at major cities in clusters rather than one large bomb, which would be easier to intercept than, say, 20 smaller ones.

What Causes Damage

Damage is caused by:

  • Blast effects (kinetic energy) – damage due to the explosion and resulting shock wave
  • Heat (thermal energy) – damage generated by extreme heat
  • Radiation (initially and later via fallout) – both local and, later, far-reaching
  • Electromagnetic pulses (EMPs) – disrupts telecommunications, infrastructure

You can expect a generally circular pattern of local damage, but various factors come into play besides the yield of the weapon. The altitude of the explosion, weather, wind conditions, and nearby geologic features play a role. The U.S. government estimates the distribution of damage for fission bombs as the following:

  • 50% shockwave
  • 35% heat
  • 5% initial blast radiation
  • 10% fallout radiation

Examples of Damage on Hiroshima and Tsar Bomba

The atom bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945 flattened buildings over a roughly four square mile area and killed 60,000 people immediately. Another 90,000-140,000 succumbed later to injuries and radiation exposure. Although this represents a total of 150,000 to 200,000 fatalities, the entire population did not perish. At the time of the explosion, there were about 350,000 people in Hiroshima, including 43,000 soldiers. This shows that, although horrific in its effects, that distance from ground zero and other factors play a role in a nuclear weapon’s lethality, as does the power of the bomb itself.

A 50 megaton H-Bomb like the Russian “Tsar Bomba“, however, would cause a much larger circle of devastation than the Hiroshima bomb, with widespread fatalities at least 20 miles from ground zero and third-degree burns 50 miles away. Windows were reported shattered from the test detonation as far away as Norway and Finland.

Types Of Radiation From Nuclear Blasts

This article will concentrate on the effects of radiation exposure. Put simply, radiation is divided into “ionizing” and “non-ionizing”. We are bombarded daily by radiation from multiple non-ionizing sources: the sun’s visible light and heat, microwaves, radio waves, radar, and others. This type of radiation deposits energy in the materials through which it passes, but it doesn’t break molecular bonds or destabilize atoms. These effects, however, can be caused by ionizing radiation, where the atom becomes charged and unstable, which is not a healthy state for living cells.

There are several types of radiation given off by a nuclear weapon: Alpha, beta, and neutron particles, and gamma and X-rays. All are caused by unstable atoms, which, in order to reach a stable state, must release energy in the form of radiation. Atoms can do this by, for example, shedding electrons, which causes them to become ionized.

Alpha Radiation

Alpha radiation occurs when an atom undergoes radioactive decay, giving off an alpha particle. Due to their charge and mass, alpha particles only travel a few centimeters and don’t even penetrate the outer layer of skin. If ingested, inhaled, or somehow injected, however, alpha particles are capable of causing considerable damage to living cells.

Beta Radiation

Beta radiation takes the form of particles. Due to the smaller mass, it is able to travel further in air than an alpha particle, but it can be stopped by a thick piece of plastic, a stack of paper, and even clothing. It can penetrate a short distance into exposed skin, though, causing “beta burns“,m which may require treatment. However, the main threat is from ingesting it, perhaps from crops growing in fallout areas.

Gamma and X-ray Radiation

Gamma and X-rays, unlike alpha or beta, are two types of radiation that do not consist of any particles at all but instead are pure electromagnetic energy. Think of gamma rays as X-rays on steroids. Gamma radiation can travel much farther through air than alpha or beta particles (which have mass) and is responsible for the most ill effects on humans after a nuclear explosion. It can, however, be blocked by various materials.

Neuron Radiation

Lastly, neutron radiation consists of high-speed particles with high penetrating power. Neutron particles travel further in air than other forms of radiation but can be blocked by materials that contain hydrogen, such as water (H₂0) and concrete. When neutron particles are absorbed into a stable atom, they make it unstable and more likely to emit radiation. Therefore, it’s the only type discussed here that can turn other materials radioactive.

Radiation Effects On Living Things

Atomic weapons can decimate a population from thermal blasts, but it also causes illness and death due to exposure from radiation. Although populated areas have experienced detonations only twice, (Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945), nuclear reactor meltdowns and other events have occurred from time to time since then, such as in Fukushima in 2011 and Chernobyl in 1986.

Deaths and Injuries Near Ground Zero

In an atomic explosion, radiation is just one of the possible causes of casualties; heat effects and kinetic energy damage near the blast will cause many deaths and injuries. Radiation released into the atmosphere, however, can have devastating effects far from “ground zero”.

Fallout Effects On Food Supply and Animals

A nuclear event produces “fallout”. Fallout is the particulate matter that is thrown into the air by the explosion. It can travel hundreds (if not thousands) of miles on the prevailing winds. It coats fields, livestock, and people with radioactive material.

The higher the fallout goes into the atmosphere, the farther it will travel downwind. This material contains elements that are hazardous if inhaled or ingested, like Radioiodine, Cesium, and Strontium. Even worse, fallout is absorbed by the animals and plants that make up our food supply. In large enough amounts, it can rapidly become life-threatening. Even in small amounts, it is hazardous to your long-term health.

Nuclear Power Plant Meltdown

A nuclear power plant meltdown is usually less damaging than a nuclear blast. The radioactive material doesn’t make it as high up in the sky as the mushroom cloud from an atomic bomb. The worst effects will be felt by those near the reactors. Lighter particles, like radioactive iodine, will travel the farthest. These are the main concern for those far from the actual explosion or meltdown. The level of exposure will depend on the distance the radioactive particles travel from the meltdown and how long it took to arrive.

Tomorrow, we will continue with Part 2 and begin by talking about radiation sickness, protection, remedies, and actions.

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25 Responses to Radiation Issues In Nuclear Blasts- Part 1, by Dr. Bones of doomandbloom.net

  1. Approaching Geezerhood says:

    For those concerned, may I suggest…

    Buy an ink on paper copy of “Nuclear War Survival Skills” by Cresson Kearney. READ IT.

    Build a K.F.M. NOW without pressure or stress. Learn how to charge it properly. Gain understanding of operating it properly. (Kearney Fallout Meter)

    Develop a strategy to build an expedient fallout shelter if needed. A permanent shelter can serve as a root cellar / storm, tornado shelter also. Plans in the book…

    Just my two cents worth…

  2. TexasScout says:

    A staggering thought:

    Of the 56 kilogram warhead of Little Boy which exploded over Hiroshima, only 780 grams or so exploded at the very heart of the Uranium sphere, or about 1-2% of the mass. That is because Neutron flux only attained criticality at the very heart of the sphere and not at the extremities where the Uranium 235 was wasted.

  3. Don Williams says:

    1) The following comments are not to quibble but to point out some details that are important. Details of how nukes are used/targeted affect which areas are safe and which are not.

    2) To the best of my knowledge there is no technology that can intercept nuclear warheads once they begin falling from orbital platform. Due to the lack of air resistance in the vacuum of space they accelerate to tremendous speed from the pull of gravity (about 22 MPH per sec.)
    After falling for 5 minutes they are moving at 6600 miles per hour. They can take less than 40 seconds to hit the ground after they hit the upper atmosphere/air resistance around 80 miles up. There are weapons that try to destroy the ICBM on its relatively slow moving climb upward but multiple warheads clustered on the ICBM are just as vulnerable at that point as one warhead.

    3) In theory, there is a Treaty banning secret deployment of nuclear warheads on platforms in space. But I don’t see any policemen up there enforcing that Treaty. Remember that Russian “communications” satellite in the movie Space Cowboys?

    4) The reason for MIRV (multiple smaller warheads instead of one big one) is that nuclear warheads are very inefficient. In the expanding sphere of blast wave, Pressure drops as a function of radius cubed. What this means is that getting the same pressure at 2 times the distance requires a weapon that is 2x2x2 or 8 times as powerful. To expand the damage to 3 times the distance requires a weapon that is 3x3x3 or 27 times as powerful.

    5) Hence it is more efficient to drop a carpet of smaller warheads dispersed so that their blast fields meet/reinforce each other at the desired pressure level.

    6) You may think you are safe if you are 10 miles from the center of a major city because the 2 psi blast pressure of a large 1 Megaton bomb is around 8.4 miles out from ground zero. But if your city is carpet bombed with MIRVs you may actually be in a high risk area.

    7) Note, however, that nukes applied to cities most likely will be detonated as air bursts –like Nagasaki and Hiroshima. An air burst at the optimum height can have almost twice the damage radius as a ground burst. If the 1 megaton nuke in the above example was detonated at ground level its 2 psi blast level would only be out at 4.8 miles from ground zero.

    8) The bright spot is that the more efficient air bursts generate little to no radioactive fallout compared to ground bursts. Ground bursts are mainly applied against heavily protected underground facilities like ICBM silos.

    9) This is important because the lethal radioactive fallout cloud from a ground burst covers a far larger area than the area damaged by blast.

    10) Which is why FEMA’s 1990 Nuclear Attack Planning Base shows an enormous blanket of extremely high radiation in the Midwest from a Russian attack on our Minuteman missile silos in Montana, Wyoming and the Dakotas. Whereas there is little fallout shown for the massive attack on our East Coast Cities. (California also shows high levels but I think that is likely due to the assumption that the Russians would also do ground bursts on the Minuteman test silos at Vandenberg Air Force Base to take out any armed Minutemans there as well.)

    http://www.backwoodshome.com/columns/pix/benson0201-5.gif

    11) Samuel Glasstone’s “Effects of Nuclear Weapons” is the standard reference , is unclassified and copies are available online. There are also some declassified DTRA references out there.

  4. Mike Andreotta says:

    Wonderful timing! I am currently scheduling time with my Emergency Management team to discuss issues related to current events and Surviving Nuclear War (Kearny) is going to be our bible. I am looking forward to Part 2. Your post is more concise and more adaptable to discussion than the larger manual/book by Kearny.

  5. Steve says:

    Don Williams is correct. The silo based Minuteman III and various Command and Control facilities would likely draw ground bursts that produce massive amounts of fallout. Cities, airports, and other soft targets would likely draw air bursts that produce negligible fallout. Since the upper air wind pattern is SW to NE, the upper mid-west bears the brunt of the fallout from the Minuteman sites. The NE Coast would also receive fallout from the C&C facilities in the East.

  6. GD says:

    The ability of people to construct a functional KFM, the homemade radiation detector described in Kearny, was tested and is minimal. Even engineers were unable. If you are concerned about fallout, buy a radiation detector. They are much more accurate, easier to store, easier to use, and can be found at reasonable cost.

  7. john316 says:

    https://archive.org/details/TheEffectsOfNuclearWeapons
    https://archive.org/details/TheEffectsOfNuclearWeapons

    This compressed summary aims to make the key facts clearer. The full text of all editions of Glasstone and Dolan can be read online at HathiTrust’s digital library, http://www.hathitrust.org/

  8. Don Williams says:

    @GD
    1) A radiation detector that has been designed/tested to withstand a nuclear electromagnetic pulse would be even better, although more expensive. May radiation meters are not.

    You could keep a non-EMP resistent meter in a protective metal box but it would be vulnerable to a sudden EMP burst whenever you used it.

    2) When I last checked a few years ago, the military and Homeland Security used the Canberra
    model –green for Army (as AN/UDR-13 ), black or yellow for Homeland Security , including first responders (police, firemen in selected areas.)

    http://www.canberra.com/products/emergency_response/ultraradiac-plus.asp

    http://www.dtra.mil/Missions/WMD-Training-and-Education/VIRTUS/Operations/

    3) The NukAlert web page says it has also been tested to EMP standards, although it is more of a warning meter (chirps to indicate a defined radiation rate) than a meter. However, the chart on the back of the Nukalert is misleading — radiation rapidly declines at a rate of 10 to 7. E.g, a radiation rate of 1000 R at hour 1 will fall to 100R at hour 7 and to 10R at hour 49 (7×7) –2 days — and to 1 R at 2 days x 7 or 2 weeks later.

  9. Charlie Benjamin says:

    Would someone please speak to the fires which will burn out of control in our forests should we take a hit in the northwest.

    • Don Williams says:

      @Charlie
      I’ll take at stab at it. Anyone with better data feel free to correct me.
      1) Largest warhead (MIRVed) on Russian ICBMs is 800 kt (Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, 2016 report on Russia nuclear inventory.) Glasstone Table 7.40 says thermal pulse from a 1.2 MT nuke can ignite leaves with a heat of 6 cal/cm sq. Takes 16 cal/cm sq to ignite pine needles.
      2) Nuclear bomb effects computer says thermal pulse of a 800 kt nuke will be 6 cal /cm sq or greater out to about 7 miles. That’s slant range for an airburst, I believe.
      3) However, at 7 miles out the blast pressure is 2.3 psi with winds around 78 miles per hour. So your hair is getting mussed , windows are blowing out of houses and some roofs may be lifting off.
      4) Thermal pulse arrives almost immediately and burns for about 18 seconds, although the computer says 80% of the heat gets dumped within the first 3.5 seconds.
      5) Blast wave doesn’t hit until about 32 seconds later and might snuff out many of the fires. Like blowing out a candle.
      6) I have a vague recollection that fires from ground bursts are less likely because dirt thrown up by the blast wave obscures the thermal pulse after the first second or so. But I could be wrong.

  10. Skip says:

    Question, does anyone think only one nuclear weapon will be used in an attack on the US.
    Has anyone seen the TV show Jericho in which 28 nukes took out most major US cities.
    I would think if an enemy planned a attack with nukes on the US it could be well over 500 nukes and that would provide massive radiation over vast swaths of the Continental US.
    Just a thought on the scope of a possible attack.

    • Don Williams says:

      @Skip
      1) Due to several arms reduction treaties, Russian nukes are roughly 17% of what they were in 1988.

      2) Strangely enough, that might be bad news. The US News Media has been strangely deceitful about the lethal threat that Obama’s Ukrainian coup poses to Russia –and the risk it poses to US cities.

      3) Ukraine is within 300 miles of Moscow and some Russian ICBM sites. If we get NATO bases in Ukraine –as George W Bush tried to do — then we could destroy Russia’s nuclear defenses in a single surprise First Strike one night.
      4) At close range, Stealth tech circumvents Mutual Assured Destruction. A swarm of our RD-180 stealth drones, launched from Ukraine and carrying 300 kt warheads, could take out Russia’s ICBMs without warning if guided by GPS and timed to explode at the same moment.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northrop_Grumman_RQ-180
      5)Note that fixed ICBM sites could be attacked by drones guided solely by GPS and without a human pilot. The perfect suicide bomber.
      The mobile ICBMs would be more difficult but could be tracked and attacked with drones remotely guided by human pilots in US, although the sat comms link might be vulnerable to jamming.
      6) Risky? Sure. But consider the enormous wealth of Russia’s immense natural resources if she is defenseless. And with no real opponent left to prevent US elites from conquering the world for all time. The elites just need a heads up to take refuge somewhere until the dust settles.
      7) Which is why Russian Bear bombers are flying down US coasts and may be carrying the KH-101 cruise missile with nuclear warheads. That’s the optimistic view.
      8) The dark view is that they may be carrying the rumored KH-102 stealth cruise missiles — that could hit us without warning if Russia feels it’s back is to the wall.
      9)You see, Bill Clinton stupidly lost a stealth fighter in Serbia in 1999, failed to bomb the wreckage and let the Serbs hand stealth debris on a platter to Russia, China and God knows who else. A high school chemisty teacher could analyse the debris.
      10) Note how Obama suddenly dropped our long isolation of Cuba — in order to keep Russia from returning to bases there like they had in the 1960s.
      11) The REALLY dark view is that China may decide to stir the manure and launch a stealth cruise missile at us from an offshore ship when a Russian Bear passes overhead — to make it look like a Russian attack, provoke a nuclear war between us and Russia so that China can be the last hegemon standing.
      12) The Cuban Missile Crisis had both Washington and Moscow wetting their pants so we avoided direct conflict in the decades afterward. We suckered the Russians into bankruptcy by setting up nuclear war as a prolonged chess match in which we would each incrementally attack military bases and economic nodes while leaving city populations in reserve as hostages.
      13) But Russia no longer has enough nukes to play that game. So if she strikes she may just ignore our Minuteman ICBMs and use her limited try to destroy as much of our population and cities as she can so that we can’t reconstitute enough to invade her in the aftermath.
      Gambling that our retaliation will not be 100% because each launch we make will make nuclear winter/ global famine even worse.
      14) Of course, I could be wrong.

      • USexpat says:

        Your war gaming is simplistic. Russia has numerous missile fields throughout the country. They also have heavy bombers a well as missile subs, as do we and Britain and France and Israel.
        As to the elites wanting Russian resources. Why? Cheaper to buy them on the free market than steal them and sell to dead people.

        • Don Williams says:

          1) See my comment below re Russian bombers and missile subs.
          2) Many Russian ICBMs are in the west and are in range of an attack from Ukraine.
          3) The sites in the central/west (Barnaul, Novosibirsk, Uzhur, Irkutsk) are in range of attack from our bases in Afghanistan. Near the end of his term, Obama signed the Bilateral Security Agreement with our Afghanistan puppet, making our bases in Afghanistan
          PERMANENT. So much for the widely reported “withdrawal”.
          4) Conquering the world –for all time — is a prize beyond measure for our elites. Which is why the Python is slowly squeezing the Russian pig to death.
          5) Why else dump $5 billion into subversion/coup in a bankrupt Ukrainian manure hole that is on Russia’s doorstep but 4500 miles from us. What other motivation is there?

          • Don Williams says:

            PS The RQ-180 drone is the stealth version of the Global Hawk. In 2001, the Global Hawk flew from California to Australia, a distance of 8200 miles. Air Force gives its range as 12,300 nautical miles (14,154 statute miles.)

  11. Paul Seyfried says:

    The reason MIRVs were deployed over single, high-yield warheads is for targeting flexibility, not shotgunning an area, although the earlier versions, MRVs, were intended to be used this way. But MIRVs, and now, MaRVs…..(Maneuvering Re-entry Vehicles) are very precise, and can be independently targeted on any number of targets within its “footprint”. Example: the SS-18 Mod 5, with up to 14 re-entry vehicles, has a footprint shaped like an ellipse….600 miles long and 200 miles wide. So, in theory, a single SS-18 (now being replaced by an upgraded version) can hit Mountain Home AFB in Idaho, Hill AFB in Ogden, Utah, Salt Lake City Intl Airport runways (yes, they will use ground bursts to heave these long runways so our strategic aircraft can’t use them later), Dugway Proving Ground (15,000 foot runway), and targets all the way down to Nellis AFB in Las Vegas.
    A Trident D5 SLBM can put 50% of its warheads within 90 meters (published figure) of the desired point of impact from 6,000 miles away. From 8 to 14 of them on a single missile. Some are loaded with as few as 4 to achieve more range.
    It’s good to see some interest in nuclear effects…the world is getting a bit sketchy.

    • Don Williams says:

      1) I doubt they will use their now limited warhead inventory to attack runways as a high priority target. We have tens of thousands of miles of interstate highways, parts of which probably have been secretly reinforced to serve as ad hoc runways in war. After all, you only need need to park some maintenance trailers, nuke containers and fuel tankers on the opposite side.
      2) Kinda like the mobile command post Stratcom set up to handle nuclear command and control — the convoy of tractor trailer trucks. MCCC.
      https://fas.org/nuke/guide/usa/c3i/cmah.htm

      • Steve says:

        Don, my analysis of current Russian capabilities says they have between 1500-1700 immediately available warheads. I assume that they would attack NATO in addition to the US, and keep a reserve for dealing with the Chinese. If they hit the 400-450 targets associated with our Minuteman III missiles, another 50 for Navy and DoD Command and Control facilities, that leaves 500 for China and 500 in reserve. There are innumerable variations on these numbers, but the biggest change would be to ignore the Minutemen, assuming we would launch on warning and the silos would be empty. What Putin and his henchmen would do is unknown.

        • Don Williams says:

          1) The Minuteman silos are spaced so that the Russians can’t hit them all simultaneously.
          The nuclear explosion that destroys one silo will likely also destroy warheads coming in to attack the silo’s neighbors — “fratricide”.
          2) The number of Minutemen have also been greatly reduced by arms limitation treaties– I believe there are now only 3 missile fields instead of 6. Hence the dark brown fallout cloud in the 1990 FEMA map could maybe be cut back roughly in half.

          3) I use the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists annual report “Russian Nuclear Forces”:
          https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/russian-nuclear-forces-2016-jorge-morales-pedraza , table 1

          a) Note the 81 mobile ICBM launchers with 270 warheads, albeit 252 being only 100 kt. Total ICBMs being 307 launchers, 1040 warheads ranging from 100kt to 800 kt.

          b) I don’t take Russia’s submarine ballistic missiles too seriously yet — they are rebuilding the fleet but the old Deltas are noisy/easy prey and the new Bulava missile was having teething problems a while back.

          c) In theory the Bear bombers are easy prey but nuclear cruise missiles with a 1500 nautical mile standoff range
          makes them more dangerous –esp on a surprise strike — than Bears carrying bombs that have to be dropped over
          the target. Esp if the rumored KH-102 stealth cruise missile exists in significant numbers.

          4) Russia’s shorter range launchers are Europe’s problem. I doubt Russia would attack EU until well after war with the USA was finished.
          a) In theory, Britain’s Trident sub could hit the Russians but I frankly doubt Britain will act so long as Russia
          just hits the USA. London could be easily reduced to ashes and without London there is no England. All their
          cherries are in one bowl.
          b) The French? ha ha ha ha
          c) Germany? No nukes. Well, except the few we loan them and I kinda doubt we gave them the codes. Or that
          Merkel would use them if we did. A EU that let 1 million unarmed invaders past its borders in 2015 and spends less than
          1% of GDP on defense doesn’t have the stones.

  12. Approaching Geezerhood says:

    @GD

    Engineers unable to build a K.F.M. not suprising. Not a lot of engineers are so much builders. Besides, they have no real incentive. The first K.F.M. built is a challenge. ESPECIALLY if you want to get it accurately correct. Charging & reading one takes diligence and care.

    As for a purchased unit… calibration accuracy and the need for recalibration would be an important factor. Also a warning for out of range. When a supply of batteries to power a meter is consumed, it becomes a paperweight untill new batteries are obtained.

    Bottom line… pick which set of possible issues concerns you the least!!

  13. Carney says:

    Two things:
    First, Kearneys book The Effects of Nuclear Weapons is a fine technical read However, The 1964 or earlier edition contains the full text. The latter editions are missing some vital information. I recommend the 1964 edition.

    Second, It is useful to note that one should not trust published warhead yields as all warheads can change the yield with a push of a button. Even more importantly, Why would anyone trust the US Gov or Russian Gov or Chinese Gov to remain true to an unwanted treaty in heady times. All that needs to happen is a change in parts to go back to old standards or indeed create a new standard of weapon yield.

    Daily maintenance of a Nuk is continuous but easy. Stockpiles of Nuk parts is a matter of storage. It is not that big of a stretch to secretly assemble a large number of high yield toys if you want to.

    Keep this in mind. The Tsar Bomba was the largest yield in history at 51, 52 or 53 right….wrong, it was selected to yield that low. It was, in reality, a 105mt yield weapon that was “selected” to yield at 50mt. They did so out of fear of the unknown…ie afraid they would set the atmosphere on fire. Our governments know how to make big bombs even if they don’t publicize it. And in the case of desiring to go to war, I suspect they will not choose to do as little as possible.

  14. Charlie Benjamin says:

    Thanks for the explaination Don. Much appreciated sir.

  15. Skip says:

    The topic has spurred a Great War game strategy but if any wide spread attack ever happens the US population will drop by 90%.
    The only powers left in the world will be military and with their hardened satellites they will be able to spot the heat signatures of the few survivors anywhere in the world.
    The living will truly envy the dead since all they have done has bought them a very short period of time of existence.

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