Nuclear Strikes Essay, Research Paper
Nuclear StrikesScientifically, there is no obstacle for a nuclear or atomic bomb. Thereare no secrets in Nuclear Science anymore. Anyone with a reasonable physicsdegree and access to a good technical library could design a workable atomicbomb in less than 6 months, so why hasn t anyone. Maybe there has been,no one is exactly sure. In the last 52 years there has been enough nuclearwarheads made to destroy every city in the world and still have thousands leftover.(Church 40) This all happened during the Cold War, a period of 45 years (1947-1991), between mainly the two superpowers (United States and the SovietUnion). Other nations were involved, and 2 wars were fought over it (Koreaand Vietnam) and a nuclear war was almost waged (Cuban Missile Crisis). Now with the breakup of the Soviet Union into a loose Commonwealthno one is exactly sure who has all the weapons. Certain nations inheritedthem, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, and Russia, while others tried stealingthem, Iran, Libya, and North Korea. And since the breakup certain peoplehave been caught stealing the materials needed to make a bomb. Theseterrorists have never been caught in the United States but numerous times inEurope.(www.pbs.org) As a matter of fact, the Russians say someone stole a bombsimulator, which will explode and make mushroom cloud but has no nuclearcomponent.(Wilkie) People know that despite efforts to keep control on the oldSoviet stockpile and waste, terrorists are getting the plutonium anduranium needed to make nuclear weapons to kill masses of people. This is kind of the history of the nuclear & atomic bomb: (all from Williams) The first atomic bomb was thought up by Albert Einstein in the late30 s. In 1942 Enrico Fermi brought about first nuclear reaction with isotopeUranium 235. From this the Manhattan Project was brought about and tookplace in Los Alamos, New Mexico. Then July 16, 1945 near Alamogordo,New Mexico world s first atomic bomb was set off. Three weeks later on August6, 1945 “Little Boy” hit Hiroshima and had the force of 26 million pounds ofTNT. Next on August 9, 1945 “Fat Man” missed it s mark but stilldevastated Nagasaki causing an unconditional surrender by the Japanese. Then in 1946 the United Nations tried to outlaw the weapons but the Sovietsused their veto power against it. Finally in 1949 they developed their ownweapons. In 1952 the first hydrogen bomb was made with a force of 800Hiroshima s. In 1953 the Russians did it too (thanks to the Rosenberg s). In 1958 the United States, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union stoppedtesting but in 1961 France started. Then the Cuban Missile Crisis happened. This event was the closest we have ever come to a nuclear war. This eventit really kind of woke the United States and Soviet Union up about whatcould happen. Because of this a direct phoneline was set up between the Kremlinand the white house. The main question today is who has control of the weapons. Theformer superpower Russia is in political turmoil. Now instead of two peoplewith their hands on the button there could be dozens! Even the CentralIntelligence Agency director John Deutch said he is afraid of loose nukesbeing smuggled out of Russia.(McGirk 35) The United States is in pretty good conditionbecause not much nuclear waste is stolen (they believe) and no missiles everhave been stolen. But in some countries nuclear technicians haven t beenpaid in six months (Russia). Security is breaking down, and waste is leakingout. What is everyone going to do the next morning after a nuclear terroristattack.The four new formed nations of Belarus, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, andRussia all have nuclear missiles. Although Ukraine and Belarus say theywant no part of them it is not known their real stance.(www.pbs.org) If they don t wantthem then where will they go. They will probably send them to third worldnations or terrorist with a lot of money, because they are so poor. OneRussian political columnist Vladlen Sirotikin said, “give me a million bucks,and I ll have a nuclear tipped missile bought or stolen and delivered anyplaceyou want.” The Pakistani Interior Minister General N. Babar admits hisgovernment has been approached by smugglers with nuclear shopping lists. In fact one Russian proverb which I think applies is, “The less you know,the better you sleep.”(www.pbs.org)There is 15 nations in the world with nuclear weapons. Besides theUnited States other Declared Nuclear weapon states are China, Russia, GreatBritain, France and Kazakhstan. The Undeclared but known nuclear weaponstates are India, Pakistan, Israel, and Bangladesh. The Soviet successor statesthat say they are getting rid of the weapons and waste are the Ukraine andBelarus. There is three countries with active programs and wide spreadgovernment condoned terrorism, Libya, Iran, and North Korea. The scarything about China is that they are a declared nuclear weapon state and it iswell known that Beijing is willing to sell nuclear weaponry (along withanything else) to any state with the cash to pay for it. (www.pbs.org) Another scary thingis about Iran because they have 10,000 students in our country, and Oliver Revell, the second highest in the Federal Bureau of Investigation, said that300 of the 10,000 who came as students are under a careful watch. Some ofthe 300 are members of Iran s Revolutionary Guard and their intentions arefar from academic. (McGirk 35)If they have nuclear capabilities, who knows? Plusanother suspected nuclear state, Libya, won t accept American passports. That shows how much they like us. What would it be like if one of these countries or terrorists did dropthe bomb? I mean if they don t make one they could just steal one. Thereis 18,000 warheads compared to 2300 cities throughout the world.(Williams) Maybeeven a crazy American president with followers could start it. In 1973 theUnited States signed the War Powers Act in which the president couldconduct and start a nuclear war for 60 days without congressional approval.(Mayers,Teena) And what if he does, in 1862 Henry Adams said, “Someday science mayhave the existence of mankind in it s power and the human race will commitsuicide by blowing up the world.”(Mollins) Since the 60 s the superpowers were ableto destroy each other over and over. This is called MAD, Mutually AssuredDestruction. What would it be like at ground zero after the fallout. The three maineffects of the blast is pressure, heat, and radiation. The pressure of theexplosion causes physical damage to anything that happens t be in the way. The heat of the blast burns everything, even things that aren t supposed toburn. With the combination of the two can even vaporize people near theepicenter. Then there is radiation which is just a side effect and can reekhavoc for generations with mutations and cancers etc. It s no wonder thata terrorist wants this against a certain ethnic group or nationality. EspeciallyIslamic fundamentalist countries, Iran, Kazakhstan, and Libya as well asIsrael and it s Jewish population.(Andrews)On November 23, 1994 the United States military completedOperation Sapphire. This took place in Kazakhstan and the U.S. had to
take 600 kilograms of very highly enriched uranium from the UlbaMetallurgical Plant. That is enough to build 25 Hiroshima-type bombs. (Sapphire)Iran had been at the base and was actually on it s way to pick it up whenPresident Clinton approved the operation and sent Americans on the waywith 20 million in cash to buy it and airlift it back to the United States andbrought it to Tennessee.Terrorists acquire the materials to build the nukes from either the thirdworld countries, China, or poor, underpaid, overworked, Russian nuclearpower workers who have not been paid in months. There has 14 differentoccasions in Germany alone of nuclear smuggling being caught at airports!There has many incidents involving a base in Obninsk and a mannamed Leonid Baranov. One such incident occurred when Baranov recruitedAleksandr Sherbinin to smuggle material out of Obninsk, roughly 30 milesoutside of Moscow, to Prague. Sherbinin was in Prague for six months tryingto sell his material. Finally on December 14, 1994 he was arrested. Theyfound 6 pounds (2.72 kilograms) or weapons grade uranium in the backseat of his car. That is only enough to build one tenth of a bomb, but whatif he spread it into part of a city. Then it could seep into the water supplyand air conditioning system, contaminate buildings and streets, and driftinvisibly without even an explosion! Baranov is a suspect in two othersmuggling cases in Germany. One such case involves three Spaniards,Justiano Torres Benitez, Julio Oroz, Javier Bengoechea. They were caughtin a German sting with 560 grams of MOX fuel (363 grams of uranium &plutonium). This is a very controversial case in Germany because theyallowed this substance to be let into Germany. It is also controversial inRussia because the Russians were notified of the sting and believe thatit was a ploy against them because they international atomic controlsimplemented against the Russians. Although it is well known it wasstolen by Leonid Baranov and from the Obninsk facility the Americansand Russians refuse to admit it. There is a way to tell where it is from byit s radioactive fingerprint but the Russians will not release theirs.(PBS)The first known theft of nuclear materials was by the Russians againstLeonid Smirnov at a train station in Podolsk. It was 98% enirched uranium238 with uranium 235. He said quote, ” I didn t know what I was doing,I needed money”. He had over 1.5 kilograms of the highly enriched uraniumand was going to just go around knocking on peoples doors trying to sell it. He got it by taking little by little over five months and no one noticed. Hisco-workers didn t suspect anything because he would take it when they wereon their smoking breaks. He was found guilty on March 11, 1993 of stealingand storing radioactive materials. His sentence was only 3 years of probationbut it could have been up to 10 years in jail. He still lives in the sameapartment as he has for 25 years. (PBS)On June 14, 1995, a training exercise was carried out at the KurskAtomic Power Plant in the summer of 1995, is an event that Russia’s security forces point out to show that they are taking seriously the threat ofterrorism involving nuclear and radioactive materials. In the scenario,terrorists take the nuclear plant hostage, declaring that they will blow up the reactor if their demands are not met. Local police, fire, andmedical facilities are involved in the exercise, along with agents of theFederal Security Service and other federal forces. When negotiationsfail, the command team decides to take the plant by force. A masked SWATteam is assembled, storms the reactor building, and is able to stop the roleplaying terrorists. The event was videotaped and made into a public relationsvideo that the FSB has used to successfully lobby for the creation of a newAnti Terrorist Task Force. And on an ironic note, this anti terrorist exercisewould have been declared a complete success if only it didn t happen thevery same day Chechen separatists had taken hostage a hospital full of peoplein the city of Budyonnovsk, Russia. Let s hope these attempts work sonuclear terrorists won t get the materials or be able to use them.(PBS)So in conclusion terrorists are able to get the materials required tomake a nuclear weapon or contaminate an area with nuclear waste. Agovernment official from Pakistan raises a good question when said, “Thismaterial is supposed to be strictly controlled, and if the Russian Mafia orwhoever else is smuggling it out then it is very serious. Many of the thingshawked out are radioactive There is potential for a terrorist group buyingup bits and pieces”. There is growing fear that sooner or later the IrishRepublican Army, or another extremist group could explode a bomb. Soif they are getting it from Russia why isn t there any extra internationalprevention in the former Soviet Union? Weapons are being dismantled at analarming rate. It s good thing to, because finding a needle in haystack iseasier than finding a bomb in an international city.(Waller 17) There is threemain ways they would destroy a terrorists bomb: 1. Use conventional weaponsto blow up the bomb without the nuclear aspect going off. 2. A 30 millimeter cannonblow a nuke to pieces without an explosion. And 3. Pour liquid nitrogen overthe bomb to freeze it s electronics.(Waller)There is obviously a higher risk for a strike now because so manypeople have their hands on the buttons with 15 nations and who knowswho else might have the button to kill millions. So despite attempts to keepcontrol on nuclear material terrorists and third world countries are gettingtheir hands on the material to kill large masses of people. Key players intrying to stop this is usually the United Nations or leaders (i.e. Reagan &Gorbachev). Looking into the future, it will be a time of either greatdestruction in the world or great reduction of nuclear based uses.
Allen, Arthur. “Operation Hades” New Republic August 21, 1995: 12. Andrews, Elaine. Civil Defense in the Nuclear Age Franklin Watts, NewYork: 1985. Church, George J. “Soviet Nukes on the Loose” Time December 16,1991:CD-ROM. Frontline: Loose Nukes PBS. WMHT Albany, New York. November 19,1996: 50 minutes. Luttwak, Edward N. “International Arms Control” Microsoft Encarta 1995Mayers, Teena. Understanding Nuclear Weapons and Arms Control.Education in world: 1983. McGirk, Tim. “Pakistan s Radioactive Bazaar” World Press Review July1996: 35. Mollins, Carl. “Paying for the Bomb” Macleans August 7, 1995: 38. Talbot, Strobe. “The History of the Bomb” Time January 30, 1989: CD-ROM. Waller, Douglas. “Nuclear Ninjas” Time January 8, 1996: 38-40Weiss, Ann E. The Nuclear Arms Race, Can we survive it? Boston:Houghton Mifflin Company, 1983. Wilkie Tom. “Terrorist and the Bomb” World Press Review July 1996: 37Williams, Gene B. Nuclear War, Nuclear Winter New York : FranklinWatts, 1989. WWW.PBS.ORG/WGBH/PAGES/FRONTLINE/SHOWS/NUKESNo author named. “Operation Sapphire” Macleans December 5, 1994: 35. No author named. “Bombs across the Ocean” Time April 20, 1989: CD-ROM. No author mentioned. “A Nasty Spat Against Friends” Time May 8,1989:CD-ROM.