The Big Bad Nuke




 
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November 6th, 2004  
playstation60
 

Topic: The Big Bad Nuke


Hey guys,

Just some more research questions. This one is dealing with nuclear weapons and the such.
I am looking for generalized information on nuclear payloads. I would like to know roughly what the average nuclear warhead has for a payload. We're not looking for the motherload of destruction, just what the average weapon is going to contain.
Also I would like to know the average blast radius for an average nuclear weapon. The % of destruction that it decreases. At one point in time I had heard the average nuke is capable of destroying nearly everything within a 50 mile radius of the explosion. I can't recall where I got the information from, so please pardon me if it is way off.
Finally, what kind of explosives are required to explode a nuclear warhead. With all the stuff in the news about the arms that were stolen out from underneath our noses in Iraq, I just recently realized that there was a certain amount of other components to a nuclear weapon. I thought it was just the nuke itself.

Ben
November 7th, 2004  
egoz
 
Nuc Effects Calculator That should answer your questions about damage.
For starters you can use the largest nuc ever tested, which was 60 megatons, and was used by the Soviets. But you have to remember that as weapons became more accurate they scaled down the size of the weapons. The goal was to make nuclear war more "humane" by doing less collateral damage to the society and more to military targets. This also meant that there were more warheads.

There are different types of nucs. Each one having it's own way of detonation. For example, to detonate an H-bomb you have smaller a-bombs that will start the nuclear fission process. When the core explodes it will force the uranium casing to undergo nuclear fusion which will cause more fission and result in a very very large explosion. A neutron bomb is exactly like the H-bomb except that it releases less radiation because it doesn't have a uranium casing. There were some other details that I learned in chemistry but I doubt you really need to know them, it's boring anyway. Btw, the same process is being investigating to get cold fusion.

The biggest threat by terrorists isn't seeing an a-bomb in our backyard, but a dirty bomb. It's a lot easier to make and doesn't require a lot of that crazy nuclear science stuff. That is just a regular old block of C4 or TNT wrapped with radioactive material. In most cases the device would cause more panic than danger to the civilian population because the amount of radiation released is minimal. Now if they were to use weapons grade plutonium or spent nuclear fuel, then there could be an issue. But that is harder to acquire and handle. Medical supplies that contain radioactive material would cause little damage. But that is a lot more common and easy to get a hold of.
November 7th, 2004  
playstation60
 

Topic: Big Bad Nuke


Hey, thanks for the info. I really wasn't sure where to start on the whole thing.

Do you or anyone happen to know how long an area is uninhabitable with an average nuclear explosion? How about how much the amount of radiation decreases with the payload?

Ben
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November 7th, 2004  
egoz
 
the half life for uranium 238 is 4.47 billion years, so it'll be a while. The amount of radiation present depend on the explosive device used.
November 21st, 2004  
Missileer
 
 

Topic: Re: Big Bad Nuke


Quote:
Originally Posted by playstation60
Hey, thanks for the info. I really wasn't sure where to start on the whole thing.

Do you or anyone happen to know how long an area is uninhabitable with an average nuclear explosion? How about how much the amount of radiation decreases with the payload?

Ben
Use Google and search on "uranium enrichment" and you will get the technical info on processes as well as why it is so difficult and expensive to produce a real nuke. There is also quite a bit of lower level technical discussion of effects and reactions of different types of elements that are needed to produce a critical mass.
December 1st, 2004  
Mark Conley
 
 
try here for answers:

http://nuclearweaponarchive.org/


probably one of the best non classified nuke weapons sites on the web