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Where are all the nuclear weapons?

Discussion in 'Science' started by ThankDog, Aug 14, 2013.

  1. ThankDog

    ThankDog (Banned or Deleted)

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    If this is a dumb question then I apologise. I couldn't think of anywhere else to ask it.

    Doing some reading on the nuclear bomb tests during WWII, I found it odd that the actual development of the bombs only took just over two years from when the team was brought together to when the bombs were dropped, and yet they only had theories to work with back then and on top of that, were working with 1940's technologies. Yet the knowledge of making the bombs is now well known and yet countries like Iran have been "developing" them for... how many years now?

    So where are all the nuclear weapons? If a team of scientists working from theories could do it in two years in the 1940's, why can't teams of scientists in Iran do it over the last thirty odd years?
     
  2. The Wolf

    The Wolf Member

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    We know how to do it, so we know how to stop others doing it. All the equipment needed, along with ores are heavily monitored. The Americans, soviets and Japaneese had access to what they needed, while Iran is being embargoed. It's the same reason why medical drug companies can pump out top quality drugs, but street level dealers pump out impure stuff. The chemicals and equipment needed are hard to get, so they need to try and do it with what they can find, in secret
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2013
  3. OP
    OP
    ThankDog

    ThankDog (Banned or Deleted)

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    Ok, I can accept that, but at the same time those materials weren't exactly easy to come by in 1942 either, especially since most of it hadn't even been invented yet. Hell, the first nuclear reactor was only made a few months earlier. And Iran has had nuclear power for over sixty years.
     
  4. The Wolf

    The Wolf Member

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    They know how to do it, it is a matter of logistics. Scientists are assasinated, stuxnet and no doubt other undiscovered attacks on infrastructure, The constant need to have plausable deniablility and hidden equipment from physical attack all hold them back from designing and testing a weapon.
    But they didnt enrich their own uranium
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2013
  5. luke o

    luke o Member

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    There is also something to be said for the scientists involved in the program, literally giant minds the like of which, in that field at least doesn't come around very often.
     
  6. RobRoySyd

    RobRoySyd Member

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    You're assuming Iran is trying to build a nuclear weapon. There isn't a shred of hard evidence to suggest they are. They are using gas centrifuges to enrich uranium to 20% U235. A nuclear weapon requires enrichment to around 80% and you need 56Kg of it.

    India detonated a nuclear weapon without the world having a clue they were about to. Their weapon like all modern nuclear weapons used plutonium. The plutonium was produced in a modified Canadian supplied CIRUS reactor.

    Pakistan followed shortly thereafter, it also used plutonium.

    As others have said the Manhattan Project was one of the greatest feats not only of human ingenuity but also of perseverance by virtue of the scale of the project. The spectrometer enrichment machines needed massive electromagnets and the copper to make the coils was committed to conventional arms so they borrowed silver from the Treasury. There's many other anecdote which are also covered in a number of documentaries.

    The project also ran two programs in parallel, one using enriched uranium and the other plutonium. The first test used uranium, the first bomb dropped also used uranium. The second used plutonium, the technology was never tested, it was just dropped. Huge risks were taken during the project and some paid with their lives.

    I doubt it's at all difficult today to build a nuclear weapon if you have the materials and any state that has a reactor should not have much difficulty. The challenges faced by the Manhattan project are well publicised and the solutions are now well known. What is still not so well known is how to build a nuclear weapon that can be delivered by a missile and having a high yield. There's serious doubts about North Korea's ability in this area.
     
  7. OP
    OP
    ThankDog

    ThankDog (Banned or Deleted)

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    Actually, I'm assuming they're not. Constantly being told they're doing it and yet haven't seemed to have managed it after X years (depending on where you want to start the clock from) seems far fetched. I mainly wanted to get a more educated perspective on it to validate (as being differentiated from confirmed) my suspicions that we're being lied to about it.

    As you might be able to tell by my sig, I'm not a fan of lies.
     
  8. RobRoySyd

    RobRoySyd Member

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    The reason given for the delay is lack of material. Iran doesn't have a lot of uranium ore and enrichment is slow. Iran has stated it's intent to develop fast breeder technology to enhance the value of its ore reserves. That also puts them in a much better position to develop a weapon. There's a possibility they'll skip the upfront work that the Manhattan Project went through and go directly to an advanced two stage device that can be delivered by missile.

    The problem is science cannot help here much at all, you're into balance of probabilities and politics. My personal opinion is no, today they are not embarked on a nuclear weapons program. I can back that up with hard evidence but my opinion is also based on what weight I give the various pieces of evidence. Others could take the same evidence, give different weight to each piece and reach the opposite conclusion. Also different actors would understandably want different levels of certainty.
     
  9. twisar

    twisar Member

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    If you actually read a decent book about the atomic project then you'll know it took some of western sciences best brains ever years with an almost unlimited budget to make several very crude bombs. The soviets, with minds of similar brainiosity but less of a budge, had an effective spy network but struggled for far longer to make a similar weapon. Most of that information is still hidden from 'the public' as sometiems small changes could have a big effect on the outcome. I dont think its much easier today, there must be hidden issues (which we're not even privy too) in making these weapons or else they would proliferate. One of them is of course the raw materials, they werent hard to get when no one wanted them much or cared what they were for. Even then there were very few sources of the stuff, I've even read that the US blackmailed the UK into giving up several years worth of the stuff in the late 40s to ensure sufficient a supply. Luckily this is the case I guess.
     
  10. BlueRaven

    BlueRaven Member

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    I remember reading that one of NATO's biggest nuclear concerns post cold war, aside from the warheads and delivery vehicles themselves, was the investment Russia had put into fast breeders and the large amounts of radioactive material they must have produced during the eighties, much of which was still in storage who-knew-where.

    I'm sure Iran has been trying to get hold of it in appreciable quantities for decades... easier said than done, thank god.
    The Soviet administration, civil and military, was in a bit of a shambles by the time the wall came down, but they weren't stupid.
    It would appear that the scare stories about vast quantities of radioactive material/waste lying around unguarded were rather exaggerated.

    I read a Cracked article not long ago which mentioned that 10% of America's annual power usage is generated by reactors running on fuel from dismantled Russian nukes,
    supplied under the National Nuclear Security Administration's "Megatons To Megawatts" program, and that this supply will be exhausted by the end of 2013.

    Nice to know that a substantial portion of all that potentially rogue nuclear material has now been expended in a comparatively beneficial manner.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2013
  11. RobRoySyd

    RobRoySyd Member

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    That was only the uranium. The USSR produced and the USA produced massive amounts of plutonium. There's agreements in place for its use to produce power. The USA appears to be mixing it with uranium, the Russians are building a sodium cooled fast reactor that'll be the world's only reactor to burn weapons grade plutonium.

    http://www.spiegel.de/international...e-electricity-with-former-nukes-a-854318.html

    The Russians are the only ones to run a fast breeder for power generation with any success so initially reading that article I wasn't too concerned but by the end...

     
  12. OP
    OP
    ThankDog

    ThankDog (Banned or Deleted)

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    Bureaucracy at its finest!
     
  13. BlueRaven

    BlueRaven Member

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    Chernobyl 2.0 in the works?
    Granted it was an old reactor and a lot of mistakes/poor judgement contributed to the meltdown
    But with the risks of sodium-cooled vs. the latest advancements in water-cooled reactor technology taken into account, is it worth it?

    I guess fast-breeder designs require sodium cooling to be viable, but it's nasty stuff in it's natural state, let alone once irradiated...

    (I love that video and wish I saw it posted online more often :D)
     
  14. RobRoySyd

    RobRoySyd Member

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    Sodium + water sounds nasty and it sure can be. The British did a controlled experiment using molten sodium metal and water and it didn't go bang. The Leidenfrost Effect prevents a violent reaction. It's the same effect that makes sodium metal dance on the top of water. It eventually goes bang but that's from the hydrogen gas.

    As for this risk of the sodium itself becoming radioactive I'm not certain . http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isotopes_of_sodium Only 24Na seems a significant risk to life but I have zero idea how much of it would be produced in such a reactor. I think there's also two cooling loops so that the radioactive sodium never comes near water.
     
  15. kha-khees

    kha-khees Member

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    Great book to read that covers this topic: Physics for future presidents.
     
  16. BlueRaven

    BlueRaven Member

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    From my limited understanding of sodium-cooled powerplants, the liquid sodium coolant is run through the core then run through a heat exchanger which produces steam to drive the turbines, so efficiency requires the irradiated coolant to be in close proximity to the second-stage water loop at some point in the process.

    As I understand it, the Chernobyl disaster mainly resulted from poor judgement during a peak load test which failed to take into account the residual energy from the reactor's previous operating condition, and also failed to account for the fact that inserting the graphite control rods back into the core once a runaway reaction has begun actually pours more fuel on the fire. Hence, a rupture in the primary coolant loop which allowed the cooling water to flash to superheated steam, blowing the whole bloody lot into the atmosphere. If it were sodium-cooled and a rupture allowed the sodium and water to meet, god knows how much worse it would have been.

    Combine that quote with your earlier one about inexperienced people taking the helm, and it's easy to worry that there may be another disaster in the works.
    I'd be the first to proclaim the many huge benefits of nuclear power, done right.
    It doesn't sound like this is being done right. :Paranoid:
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2013
  17. digizone

    digizone Member

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    Perhaps weapons have been kept closer than you would think ...

    Some people swear a nuke was set of in our own back 20 years ago by the Aum Shinrikyo sect. Not long afterwards they set off Sarin and VX in the Tokyo subway system.

    They had the money, the ability and will to do it, perhaps they did.

    No one appears to know exactly what happened in a remote part of Australia on the night of May 28 1993 .

    The government would have us believe nothing, however many that were in the area would think otherwise.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banjawarn_station

    http://whale.to/b/mason1.html

    http://whale.to/b/mason3.html - nore details on the sect connection.


    THE BANJAWARN FIREBALL EVENTS

    Whilst visiting a small underground gold-mine John had noticed a Kalgoorlie Miner newspaper article, dated 1 June 1993, attached to the barracks' kitchen fridge door. This reported that on 28 May 1993 at 23.03 hrs a meteor fireball was seen by several observers to be flying from south to north between Leonora and Laverton. This was immediately followed by a significant 3.9 Richter-scale earthquake - picked up by 23 seismic receivers around WA and the Northern Territory (NT). Ed Paul, a geophysicist at the AGSO (Australian Geological Survey Organisation) Mundaring Seismic Observatory near Perth, had received several telephone calls from the public, as had the Laverton Police. Ed had reasoned that there was a possible connection between the meteor fireball and the quake due to an impact with the ground.

    The small gold-mine (the Alycia mine) experienced this quake event as underground three-inch steel pipes sheared clean in half and drives and shafts collapsed. My friend John has done a considerable amount of earthquake risk assessment during his consulting career and thought that this damage pattern was more like instantaneous blast damage, as is normally caused by big explosions, rather than standard earthquake damage. The key to this was the underground damage, and the type of damage caused, in comparison to the more normal quake mine damage which is usually limited to surface building collapse caused by quake-induced seismic ground waves.

    Many observers reported that the fireball passed overhead making a pulsed roaring noise, similar to a very loud road-train diesel engine, and that after the seismic wave hit they heard a huge, long-drawn-out explosion - similar to a very major, but long-drawn-out mine blast, but somehow peculiarly different. (Note: The seismic ground wave moves much faster than the speed of sound from an explosion).

    At the time we reasoned that Ed Paul was probably correct and that a meteor fireball (a bolide) could have impacted explosively into the ground and caused the apparent "earthquake" by impact or by airburst-explosion shock-wave induction. This area of WA has had no recorded quakes since seismographs were first installed in 1900, nor Aboriginal racial memory of any quakes.

    As such an impact event is a major geological curiosity, often observed in the Earth's geological record but rarely recorded as occurring in human history, we decided to embark upon a private research project to document the event - leading, we hoped, to scientific fame and glory. We did not then appreciate just where this research work and interest would lead...

    I visited the area in May and June 1995 and began to interview, by personal visit or telephone, the inhabitants of a 300-kilometre-radius area centred upon Laverton. This Eastern Goldfields region of WA is semi-desert and very isolated with an extremely low population density. It contains several very large sheep stations, a couple of small gold-mining towns (Leonora and Laverton), plus several isolated gold-mine sites, a few gravel or dirt roads, a lot of thick mulga bush and gum-tree scrub vegetation with some sand dune fields and spinifex-grass cover.

    I hired a light plane so I could visit outlying stations and Aboriginal settlements to search for eyewitnesses and for "ground zero". This took some three weeks. A summary of all currently available witness data follows:

    A large orange-red spherical "fireball" with a very small bluish- white conical tail had flown from low down in the south over observers to the north. Some observers reported that the fireball was cylindrical in form and more yellow-blue-white in colour. It was heard as a pulsed, roaring or loud diesel-engine sound - well before it passed overhead. It dropped off no glowing fragments, and had no long, luminous tail or sparks - as is common meteor activity. Its speed was similar to a 747 jetliner or a fast jet-plane and was obviously less than the speed of sound since loud noises were heard in advance of its arrival.

    The sounds heard before the "object" arrived were most definitely not "normal" electrophonic sounds as have been quite commonly reported from historical meteor fireball events. Such electrophonic sounds are experienced as weird "pings" and "whees" of low-volume intensity and are not fully understood at this time, but they are believed to be due to hertzian electromagnetic (EM) waves produced in the bolide plasma trail and propagated at the speed of light to the observer - in advance of the bolide. These sounds are thought to couple harmonically with the inner ear or cause nearby objects to vibrate sympathetically, thus producing the characteristic low-volume sounds. No sonic booms were reported, and no observer believed that any explosion was heard until the object had got to ground level, or very nearly so, behind low hills or treeline cover and then exploded or impacted.

    The fireball object flew apparently parallel to the Earth's curvature in a long, "nap-of-the-Earth" arcing trajectory at low altitude (possibly some 1,000 to 2000 metres), from low down on the southern horizon - not with a "normal" meteor's inbound high-angle, high-altitude trajectory.

    The fireball lit up some observers and their vicinity as it passed overhead. Its flight trajectory was observed over a distance of least 250 km - although it probably had a much longer flight path well out over the southern Indian Ocean from Antarctica. It then appeared to arc down towards the ground before it disappeared out of sight behind trees or low hills.

    This was followed by a near-blinding, massive high-energy burst of blue-white light that rippled for about three to five seconds. This lit up the windless, cloudless, moonless night sky as if it were daylight. Observers could see for some 100 km in every direction at ground level - "as clear as day". The energy intensity involved in this light flash was similar to the light flash generated by a significant nuclear blast, and in many respects the incident strongly resembled a night-time nuclear test.

    A huge red-coloured flare then shot vertically skywards for some considerable distance (several kilometres?). This event was immediately followed by a massive seismic ground wave that hit the observers nearest to "ground zero" such that rocks and beer cans vibrated off tables and the ground shook so violently that persons tending a campfire fell over.

    Then followed a very loud, major explosive blast that was heard over a 250 km by 150 km corridor. Minor quake damage was reported as far as 150 km southeast of ground zero (the other directions, excepting Leonora to the southwest, being largely uninhabited). Located that night in Laverton was an engineer - with Gulf War experience of missiles and aircraft breaking the sound barrier - who described it as "definitely a major explosive concussion-wave blast [not a sonic boom], similar to, but much bigger than, a normal open-pit mine blast".

    A large, deep-red-orange-coloured hemisphere of opaque light, with a silver outer-shell lining, then rose from ground level to hover around over the "ground zero location". This structure, when fully developed, was approximately three times the size of a typical Goldfields setting Moon, as seen by observers located 30 to 50 km away (in other words, it was very big), and it "bobbed around a bit for nearly two hours before disappearing suddenly - as if someone threw the light switch off".

    This "half-soup-plate structure", looking like a "deep-red, very large and half-set Sun", was seen by two observers from widely separated locations, one at the Banjawarn station buildings and one at the Deleta station buildings. Dogs at both locations went totally berserk, whining and howling and attempting to get off their leads whilst the aerial light hemisphere was up. Presumably there was an ultrasonic or EM wave propagation to which the dogs were extremely sensitive.

    Aboriginal prospectors who were camped very near to ground zero at the Freeman's Find gold prospect were extremely spooked by the event, believing that it was "the end of the world". Some of them thought that they had witnessed a "jumbo jet" crash behind a range of low hills. They gathered their swags (bed rolls) close together as they were too scared to sleep apart. In the morning they climbed a hill to look for fires in the distance but could see no smoke. They quickly departed the area for the safety of Leonora.

    One Aboriginal stockman observer, located at the Banjawarn station buildings, believed that he was witnessing a fairly slow-moving "UFO" and became very worried that they were going to land and abduct him and his two companions - since it flew directly at him and then passed, very noisily, low overhead before going into its final downwards-arcing plunge.

    Almost exactly one hour after the first big event, three observers located at the Banjawarn station buildings saw a second, much smaller fireball which they described as being more of a blue-green-white colour. It appeared to rise from ground level, but definitely rose from behind distant trees well south of the station perimeter, and then flew to the north in a high mortar-shell-type arc before coming down to ground level behind distant bush. Its flight path was divergent to the north-northeast when compared to that of the first major fireball event of that night.

    This later event then created a second but very small explosion and concomitant minor ground shake, similar to the first event but much smaller in size and with no resultant rising hemisphere of opaque light. A prospector located north of the Mulga Queen Aboriginal settlement also reported seeing parts of this second event.

    This second event does not appear to have been of sufficient enough magnitude to register on AGSO seismographs. However, analysis of the best AGSO seismic records by USGS (US Geological Survey) energy conversion equations suggests that the energy involved in the first main event quake was probably of the order of one to two kilotonnes of TNT equivalent. The blast itself was probably bigger, as not all such explosive energy is transmitted efficiently into the ground and along the Earth wave path to the seismic observatories.

    The main fireball eyewitness "explosion ground zero" was located near to the northern edge of Banjawarn station, whereas the calculated AGSO quake epicentre fix was close to the southern perimeter of Banjawarn station, the difference reflecting the difficulties involved in calculating accurate quake epicentres from remote seismographic locations.

    In spite of the excellent eyewitness "ground zero impact" cross-fixes, a considerable time in the air in a Cessna-172 failed to find any crater or ground anomaly of any kind there or anywhere else in a 300-km-diameter search area. Ground and air examination of the nearby Celia fault lineament produced no evidence of any movement on this structure.

    Banjawarn is arguably the most isolated station area in the Eastern Goldfields region of WA. This sheep station has gained notoriety since its purchase the same year (1993) by the Japanese Aum Supreme Truth (Aum Shinrikyo) sect - of 1995 Tokyo subway gas-attack fame. Research soon showed that a Japanese Aum Supreme Truth sect representative - deputy leader Hayakawa - had been inspecting sheep stations for sale, around and including Banjawarn, in early April 1993.

    Hayakawa initiated purchase procedure for Banjawarn in late April 1993, desiring to "conduct experiments there for the benefit of mankind". The station actually changed hands when papers were signed and a bank cheque was provided on 1 June 1993 - only three days after the fireball event. However, the agreement regarding the sale to the Aum sect was completed on 23 April 1993 - some 35 days prior to the fireball event.

    As the 28 May 1993 event did not appear to fit any normal meteor impact scenario, we began to joke that the Aum sect had probably sent a cruise missile with a pulse jet engine and detonated a nuclear weapon on the uninhabited desert fringe immediately north of Banjawarn station...
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2013
  18. Goose1981

    Goose1981 Member

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    ...an extract from Nexus magazine. Let's have a quick look at how Nexus magazine describes itself, shall we?

    *WOOOOP* WHACKJOB ALERT *WOOOOP*

    Please don't post nutjob bullshit in the Science forum.

    EDIT: oh, and i find it hilarious that a geophysicist working in Western Australia thinks that seismic activity doesn't damage stuff underground. I'm a geotechnical engineer. I manage seismic systems on underground mines as part of my daily duties. This 'Ed Paul' bloke either doesn't know his arse from his elbow, doesn't exist, or has no idea he has been referenced in an article which doesn't appear to know the first thing about seismicity (especially it's effects in underground mines).

    EDIT 2: the mine is spelt 'Alicia', not 'Alycia'.

    EDIT 3: trying to find contact details for Ed Paul. Would be interesting to get his reaction (if he exists) to the article referencing him.
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2013
  19. BlueRaven

    BlueRaven Member

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    Youtube playlist, w00t. Sounds cool, cheers.
    Thanks, just thanks. :thumbup:
     
  20. Foliage

    Foliage Member

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    This, they put the entire states budget into building it, if Iran did the same they would almost certainly get the same.
     

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