The Effects Of Nuclear War Essay Research

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The Effects Of Nuclear War Essay, Research Paper The detonation of a single nuclear bomb or “warhead” would cause a local disaster on a scale that few people in the world have seen and survived. However, it should not be confused with the effects of a nuclear war, in which many nuclear bombs would be exploded. That would cause the end of civilization in the countries concerned, and perhaps over the whole world, as well as radioactive contamination of whole continents, and terrible damage to the environment and ecology. The effect of a single bomb would depend on its power, and where it exploded — high in the air or at ground level — and whether in a densely populated and built-up area like a city or in open country like an attack on a missile silo. The nuclear bombs

available to the great military powers of the world (China, France, Israel, Russia, United Kingdom, United States) range in power from several megatons down to a few kilotons (and some even smaller). A “megaton” is the explosive power of one million tons of TNT. A “kiloton” is the power of one thousand tons of TNT. Bombs likely to be available to terrorist organizations or governments other than the great military powers would be in the 10- to 100-kiloton range. Bombs made by amateurs might not explode with the full power they were designed for. The two bombs that have been exploded over cities, Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan in August 1945, were in the ten- to twenty-kiloton range. A ONE-MEGATON BOMB DETONATED IN THE AIR First, we will look at the result of a single

bomb of one megaton detonated at an altitude of 2,500 metres above a city, to cause maximum blast effects. This is believed to have been a main part of the targeting strategy of the Soviet Union and the United States during the “Cold War”. The Russian and U.S. governments have stated that missiles would not remain targetted on cities. However, thousands of missiles and warheads are still deployed, that could be targetted on any city in the world. Flash and fireball The first effect of a nuclear explosion in the air is an intense flash of light, as quick as a lightning flash but a thousand times as bright. It is accompanied by a powerful pulse of heat radiation, sufficient to set fire to light combustible material out to a distance of fourteen km., and to paint or wood at half

that distance. There is also an intense pulse of X-rays, sufficient to be lethal at a distance of three km.; in fact that would be a rather small factor, since people that close would all or nearly all be killed by the blast that follows. Immediately after the flash, a “fireball” forms in the air and rises for several seconds, blindingly bright and radiating much heat. On a clear day or night, people up to eighty km. away who happened to be facing that way, or who turned their eyes to look where the flash came from, would be temporarily or permanently blinded. Within ten km. of “ground zero” (which is the point directly under the explosion) all parts of the body exposed to the flash would be burned deeply into the flesh. Superficial burns would be caused at greater

distances, out to fifteen km. at least. Clothing that caught fire would cause many more burns. The weather conditions prevailing, and the time of day the bomb exploded, would both influence the degrees of damage. For example, the radii for skin burns and blindness would depend on the weather. Mist or fog reduces the range of the heat and light rays; on the other hand, darkness dilates the pupils of the eyes increasing the probability of severe eye damage from the flash. Blast Starting at the same instant, but traveling more slowly (like the sound of thunder following a lightning flash) is an enormously powerful blast wave. It would destroy even reinforced concrete buildings for a radius of two km., and ordinary brick or timber frame houses out to eight km. Major damage to houses