There's a difference, Stacy, between a true thermonuclear bomb and a so-called dirty bomb. A dirty bomb uses conventional explosives to spread radioactive material around. Depending on the circumstances, this can be quite deadly, and is hard to clean up after, and its effects can be pernicious, but are relatively small-scale, and the structural damage is largely confined to the initial conventional explosion. Thermonuclear bombs, which come roughly in two types -- fission-based and the more powerful fusion-based -- actually obtain their very destructive power from nuclear chain reactions, to oversimplify a bit. But the point is they are far more destructive to property, to those in the blast zone, and in the long run, to many others. The type of material used in true thermonuclear devices has a longer half-life (remains radioactive longer), and also gives off more energetic gamma radiation (which is more dangerous), and can contaminate clouds which carry it long distances, where it falls as part of the rain (so-called "fallout").
Thermonuclear devices depend a lot on the extremely powerful shock wave they create (the explosion is more "intense"), so are often detonated while still in the air, so the shock wave can travel further, not inhibited by horizontal vector barriers like buildings. OTOH, ground-detonated bombs cause more fallout. One interesting variant is the so-called "neutron bomb" which doesn't have much of a shockwave, but unleashes a spray of ionizing (very energetic) neutrons. So it spares the buildings but kills the people. It's the ultimate "clean bomb" so to speak. The two bombs used over Japan were small and crude by today's standards, and used conventional explosives to drive two pieces of carefully-shaped radioactive metal (uranium, plutonium) together, causing a fission chain reaction, which is highly "exothermic" (releases a lot of energy in a short period of time). Fusion bombs use the same fuel process as the sun: hydrogen is fused together by another, initial explosion, to form helium, which is even more exothermic than fission reactions. One substance that's unlikely to be used in dirty bombs, incidentally, is plutonium. Plutonium is actually not that toxic (IF -- and naturally this is a big "if") you ignore its radioactivity; mercury, lead and cadmium are far more toxic. You could actually eat food with plutonium, and it would just pass through your body. The problem is when it's in tiny particle form (as in fallout) and you breathe it in. It sort of turns your lungs into radioactive organs, which can, of course, be very destructive to body tissue, either in the short term (radiation burns, which can be fatal if they're extensive enough) or cancer in the medium to long term. The problem with plutonium, as far as terrorists are concerned, is that it's a very rare metal and hard to come by, and even harder to handle without damage to yourself. It requires very expensive facilities to treat, such as a research or military reactor. Canada, just as an example, was a pioneer in atomic technology*, supplying the uranium that went into the Manhattan Project, which produced the bomb. The best known Canadian in the field was Ernest Rutherford (although I don't think he worked on the Manhatten Project per se -- but I think he was still at McGill by then, and might have acted as an advisor; I'd have to check). But while we have a lot of power reactors (especially in Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick), the only research reactors we have that are capable of handling plutonium are at Chalk River ON and Whiteshell MB. The former I've been to. It's upriver of Ottawa, and I once gave a lecture there on the medical applications of Cobalt 60. The latter is NE of Winnipeg on the edge of the Canadian (or Laurentian) Shield. Incidentally, one little irony that I'm not sure has been brought up, although I'm sure Mark especially knows this, and probably many others here, is that Nagasaki wasn't the first choice for the second bomb. The original target was clouded over that day, so Nagasaki got hit. The irony is that Nagasaki is the historical centre of Japan's Christian community. So I guess today's trivia question is: what was the original target? *we invented the cobalt machine, long a mainstay in radiation therapy in cancer, for instance, and the world's largest supplier of medical isotopes is still a Canadian company, Nordion, in Kanata ON (a suburb of Ottawa). They're part of MDS, a large Canadian medical services company based in Toronto. If you hang around Ottawa, you can see Nordion's white trucks rushing isotopes to the airport so they can be flown on private jets directly to big tertiary care hospitals around the world, but especially the US (many of these isotopes, made of very exotic materials like molybdenum ("molly" for short) have very short halflifes so have to be used within a few days). I used to watch technicians working behind metre-thick glass (filled with mineral oil), working with remote arms to load Co60 into their canisters. There's a cooling tank where spent Co60 is stored, and some of it is energetic enough that you can see the beautiful "Cerenkov effect," a bluish glow that comes from the water around the canisters. Every year Nordion has a company picnic and open house, and the public is given tours of the facilities. We and I think Sweden are the only two countries in the world with the *capability* of being a nuclear power but who have deliberately decided not to be (well, aside from Japan and Germany, too, I suppose, but they're special cases). JFK tried to get our prime minister at the time, John Diefenbaker, to accept nuclear-armed BOMARC missiles on Canadian soil, but Diefenbaker refused. Anyone in the Edmonton area can see a BOMARC, incidentally -- there's one on display outside of a hangar on 123rd St, by the Municipal Airport, just as you're coming up to Princess Elizabeth Avenue from the Yellowhead. It was developed by a Canadian aeronautics company to replace the AVRO Arrow, which was cancelled by Diefenbaker, almost certainly under pressure from the U.S. to use their fighters rather than develop our own (which we've done ever since; our workhorse fighters are modified F-18's called CF-18's). Stacy Smith wrote: > Then why weren't the Japanese able to overcome the effects? The key here, > I believe, is how would we know we had been hit to take the showers? Plus, > what if they're laced with bioweapons? > > Stacy. > > At 01:52 AM 11/09/2002 -0500, you wrote: > > >Actually, dirty bombs are not a big deal from a radioactivity point of view. > >If one is exposed to a dirty nuke, one only has to get to a complete shower > >(at home will do just fine) within a couple of hours, and there will be no > >long term effects. The cleanup will be a pain to be sure, but not a really > >big deal either. > > > >Of course, with all the hysteria over nuclear power that the envirowackos > >have stirred up, the emotional damage would be much greater. > > > >But that's a topic for another thread, one that I have begun doing detailed > >and extensive research on. You will be the first to see the fruits of that > >research - sort of a test market! > > > >Jon > > > >Marc A. Schindler wrote: > >I think the most imminent threat isn't from a conventional nuke but from > >so-called dirty bombs, which are conventional explosives packed with a messy > >radioactive substance such as caesium (which is a powder in natural form). > > > >///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// > >/// ZION LIST CHARTER: Please read it at /// > >/// http://www.zionsbest.com/charter.html /// > >///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// > > > > > > > > > > > >--- > >Incoming mail is certified Virus Free. > >Checked by AVG anti-virus system (http://www.grisoft.com). > >Version: 6.0.399 / Virus Database: 226 - Release Date: 10/10/2002 > > ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// > /// ZION LIST CHARTER: Please read it at /// > /// http://www.zionsbest.com/charter.html /// > ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// > -- Marc A. Schindler Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada -- Gateway to the Boreal Parkland “Man will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of the time he will pick himself up and continue on” – Winston Churchill Note: This communication represents the informal personal views of the author solely; its contents do not necessarily reflect those of the author’s employer, nor those of any organization with which the author may be associated. ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// /// ZION LIST CHARTER: Please read it at /// /// http://www.zionsbest.com/charter.html /// ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// ==^^=============================================================== This email was sent to: email@example.com EASY UNSUBSCRIBE click here: http://topica.com/u/?aaP9AU.bWix1n.YXJjaGl2 Or send an email to: [EMAIL PROTECTED] T O P I C A -- Register now to manage your mail! http://www.topica.com/partner/tag02/register ==^^===============================================================