All these questions and more are pondered in a great book called Nuclear Paranoia. I realise this thread might belong in the books thread, but I find this subject compelling and disturbing in equal measure and wanted to see what some of you intelligent folks thought.
"Weighing in at 5 tonnes, the first ever nuclear bomb, nicknamed 'the gadget', was resting atop a 100 foot steel tower, ready to be detonated. At 5:30am, July 6th 1945, the bomb was detonated and the world changed forever..."
Regarding the bombing of Hiroshima, Co-pilot Captain Robert A Lewis kept an astonishing minute by minute account of the attack. His reaction to the mushroom cloud is recorded thus : "My God, what have we done?? Everyone in the plane is actually dumbstruck, even though we expected something fierce. This was the greatest explosion man has ever witnessed......just how many did we kill??"
Now some TRUE stories to scare the hell out of you :
On June 3rd 1980, a training tape used to train radar and computer operators to recognise a full scale soviet nuclear attack, was mistakenly run at the NORAD detection operation. The commander of operations, thinking he was viewing the scenario for real, alerted those higher in command, and over 100 B52 bombers loaded with nuclear warheads were made ready for retaliation. The error was realised at the last minute and the alert was cancelled.
On 24th January 1961, two 25 megaton nuclear warheads were released after a B52 bomber broke apart over north carolina. One bomb parachuted to safety, but the other crashed into a waterlogged area of farmland. When it was found, it was discovered that 5 of the 6 safety devices had failed, and an explosion one thousand times more powerful than the hiroshima bomb had almost took place.
On July 26th 1957, a US B47 plane was practising a landing at an RAF airfield in cambridge. The pilot lost control and the plane smashed into a storage building that housed 3 nuclear bombs. The planes fuel threatened to ignite the TNT components of the bombs, but firefighters managed to put out the fire.
The cuban missile crisis needs no introduction, Mutually Assured Destruction was almost put into practise.
We all remember the millenium bug - many religious fanatics prophecised the end of the world, computer experts worried that computer crashes and destruction of valuable data would occur - vital systems would fail and chaos would reign. This was only the half of it. Nuclear arsenals, satellites, radars and triggering devices were all under the control of computers. The west spent billions of pounds bringing systems up to speed, but even with such massive expenditure, there were still doubts among high ranking specialists that the 'quick fix' would work. In the former soviet union the picture was even bleaker. Until february 1999, Russia's military leaders flatly denied that their nuclear forces could possibly face problems from the millenium bug. Most worrying was Russia's nuclear control system, named 'perimeter', which ensured that if Moscow looked to be under attack, or even if command links to key Russian leaders were interrupted, Perimeter would automatically launch thousands of nuclear weapons. President Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltzin planned a joint US/Russian early warning centre to prevent any 'mis-haps'. This was reassuring, until a US Department of defence worker was asked when it would be ready for use. "We're hoping to have it done for late '99, it could be early 2000. It's a complex process, obviously ....". In the end it was widely argued that the only way to be sure to avoid catastrophe was for all nations to agree to de-arm their nuclear weapons during the danger period. None of the worlds nuclear powers were willing to do this, so as we entered the new millenium all we could do was pray.
What are your thoughts on this? Is a major nuclear incident or exchange a possibility? Which nations on this planet are stupid enough to destroy their enemies and themselves just to prove a point? Where does the nuclear danger lie primarily? Is the middle east destined to become the nail in our coffins? Are we completely powerless? What gives ANYONE the right to have THAT much power?
Thanks for reading if you did!
> One almightly BANG followed by a whimper
Would there even be a whimper ?!
> Who gives a Cr*p i'm not worrying about a Nuclear Apocalypse.
> Theres Millions of ways in which you can die and this is by far one
> of the most unlikely.
fair enough you're not bothered, but it IS likely.
I think there is an assumption by the british and american public that we are unrivalled superpowers and are relatively safe.
September the 11th should have changed a lot of minds, but here we are several years down the road and it's all but forgotten apart from those directly affected.
The former soviet union manufactured over 30 nuclear bombs small enough to fit into a large briefcase. when it broke up, management went to pot, and they freely admit that several are unaccounted for, and they have no idea where they may be. These bombs are capable of levelling several city blocks, and radioactive fallout from them would ensure many more deaths.
Bin Laden approached the soviets years ago to buy uranium and other materials, used to make nuclear warheads. The soviets refused, but who is to say just where these bombs have ended up.
> Don't believe that supposed reaction from the crew of the Enola Gay.
> I've seen interviews with them before and they were very gung-ho
> about the bombing. I think History is being 'toned down' to fit into
> modern attitudes to the evil of nuclear war.
As for by far the most unlikely way, I'd rank being gored by a small raspberry cookie less likely. However, perhaps I'm merely naive. I tend not to worry too much now - in my current situation there's little I could really do to avert the problem if a nuke were to descend upon Sunny Saffron Walden..
Theres Millions of ways in which you can die and this is by far one of the most unlikely.
> One almightly BANG followed by a whimper
Are you sure you're talking about a nuclear explosion?
> what sort of noise do you think an atom bomb makes.
I imagine it makes a sound like a big ghost, followed by a camera-shaking low and long rumble.
Something like, BBBOOOOOOOOO - WHOCKOOAHssshhh!
or a FIZZZZZZZ-POP
I can see it now, American nuke kills the world.
Skarra (from underground bunker) writes:
> Well Russia started it...
> American stupidity/carelessness will lead to an accidnet, or else
> terrorists may somehow get hold of a nuclear weapon. Who knows?
Why American, they yake much better care of their Nuke's than say, Russia!