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View Diary: Science Friday: A new generation of nuclear warheads? (104 comments)

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  •  Oppenheimer (4.00)
    was right - destroyer of worlds.  The initial blast isn't the problem, it's the radioactive fallout after the blast.  We learned that after Hiroshima and Nagasaki - the living envied the dead.  How could anyone justify use of tactical nuclear weapons?

    Taking this step is no different than building a "new and improved" MIRV.  Nuclear weaponry in any size, shape, or form creates apprehension in our friends, and anger in our adversaries.  The last thing we need on this planet is another arms race - and it will happen if these warheads are deployed.  If we claim our actions are legal, then we can't complain about any other country making the same claim, and building like weapons.

    And this is one type of weapon where size doesn't matter.

    •  Fallout (none)
      Actually, most of the fallout over Japan blew out to sea.  The greatest harm to people came from the X-rays at the beginning of the nuclear explosions, the heat, and from the fires.

      Fallout is not a good thing, of course. And radioactive dust kicked up by a bunker buster would not be good.  But fallout is quite a minor side effect compared to the atomic blast.  Practically everyone around the globe has in his or her tissues some little souvenirs from the atmospheric testing era fallout.  But the dispersal by weather has diluted the radioactivity greatly.  So the dose is smaller than we get from natural background radiation.

      •  Rephrase (none)
        Radiation levels in the surrounding materials [Japan].  I'll take your word that the "cloud" blew out to sea, that fallout had minimal effect.  And I do understand the concept of dispersal.  Small comfort.

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