A Critical Point Of View On Nuclear
Testing Essay, Research Paper
A Critical Point of View on Nuclear Testing Man has continually upgraded everything, from the abacus to the xylophone. This includedweapons, starting with the most elementary, clubs and evolving into the most devastating weapon yet, theatomic bomb. The testing of this weapon has been ceased nationally, but not throughout the entire world.Some countries have yet to achieve a nuclear power position. Countries like, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, India,and Kuwait are just a few. Everyday the possibility of another country reaching a status as a nuclear powerbecomes more possible. The only way we know when they attain such a position, is the same way the do,we see the results of their tests. Nuclear testing is both dangerous and intesting, as you will discover asyou read on. Research on atomic bombs was begun around the same time in several countries, includingGermany, but in the United States, the actual building of an atomic bomb was already underway by 1942under the code name “Manhattan Project.” The project was carried out in extreme secrecy using a largeamount of the national budget and outstanding scientists. In September 1944 it was determined that anA-bomb would be used against Japan. On July 16, 1945 in the desert near Alamogordo, New Mexico, theUnited States successfully conducted the world’s first nuclear test.(Atomic bombs… page1) The UnitedSates decided to make two drops on Japan, one in Nagasaki and the other in Hiroshima. The splitting of atomic nuclei is called “fission.” When a single neutron strikes the nucleus of afissile material such as uranium 235 (or plutonium 239), two or three more neutrons are released. Whenthose neutrons are ejected, enormous energy is released. The flying neutrons then hit other nuclei of theuranium and cause them to split in a similar manner, releasing more energy and neutrons. When thisfission spreads, a huge amount of energy is generated instantaneously. The energy released from theHiroshima A-bomb was originally thought to be equivalent to the destructive power of 20,000 tons ofTNT. Later estimates, however, put the energy equivalent to approximately 15,000 tons of TNT, based ondamage done to buildings and research on the bomb’s composition. Despite the release of such enormousenergy, it is believed that less than one kilogram of the 10 to 30 kilograms of uranium 235 housed in thebomb achieved fission. In the Nagasaki bombing only slightly more than one kilogram of the plutonium239, which is what was used in place of the uranium, is thought to have achieved fission, but the energyreleased is estimated to be equivalent to the destructive power of about 22,000 tons of TNT. See the chartbelow.(Atomic bomb… Page 1) Hiroshima NagasakiHeight of explosion 580+-15 m 500+-10 mRadius in which ceramic roof tiles melted 600 m 1,000 m Radius in which granite stone melted 1,000 m 1,600 m The effects of the bombing was horrific, especially on humans. Burns were wide spread and severe. Within about 1.2 km of the ground zero, those exposed in the open to the direct heat rays were burnedthrough the skin and into the tissues below. Internal organs were damaged. The vast majority diedimmediately or within a few days. Within 2.0 km direct exposure resulted in severe, incapacitating burns.Beyond 3.0 km the burns affected only the surface of the skin, but workers who had removed their shirtsto escape the heat of summer were burned noticeably at distances of up to 3.5 km. In the city, where nearlyall standing structures were toppled, thousands were trapped under the debris. Unable to free themselves,they burned to death in the sea of fire ignited by the bomb.(Damage To… Page1) In the initial blast thousands were hurled through the air, their clothes burned by heat rays andblown instantly to tatters. The skin of those who had been burned by the heat rays was peeled away or lefthanging in strips. Glass windows were shattered, and large numbers of victims were covered withhundreds of glass fragments piercing their bodies. Decades later survivors still occasionally had suchfragments surgically removed from deep in their flesh; some continue to live with fragments stillembedded in them..(Damage To… Page1) Long after the initial effects of radiation had subsided, radiation damage continued to produce awide range of physical problems. After effects, including leukemia, cancer, and many others, appearedtwo, three, even ten years later. Exposure to radiation in 1945 continues to this day to threaten the healthand well-being of the survivors. (1) KeloidsBeginning in early 1946, scar tissue covering apparently healed burns began to swell and growabnormally. Mounds of raised and twisted flesh, called keloids, were found in 50 to 60 percent of thoseburned by direct exposure to the heat rays within 2.0 km of the ground zero. Keloids are believed to berelated to the effects of radiation. They caused extreme pain, both physically and emotionally. (2) Leukemia Leukemia is a malignancy of the blood. Young white blood cells reproduce uncontrollably to such anextent that their function is lost. The victim loses resistance to disease. (3) CancerRates of thyroid, breast, lung, salivary gland, and other cancers rose rapidly in the 1960s. Radiation wasshown to be an important factor. In some cases, researchers have reported a direct correspondencebetween distance from ground zero, probable radiation absorbed, and malignancy rates. (4) In-utero ExposureExposure to the A-bomb had a variety of devastating effects on fetuses exposed in their mothers’ womb.Some were born normally and apparently unaffected, but many died in the womb. Those who survivedinfancy continued to die at a higher rate than unexposed children. One common symptom wasmicrocephaly, a smaller-than-normal skull. In severe cases this symptom is accompanied by mentalretardation. (5) Genetic EffectsAfter the bombing, many feared that the radiation would cause genetic effects. Several surveys have as yetfailed to discover any harmful influence on the children of survivors. Continued long-term observationsand research, however, will be required to rule out such effects. (Damage To… Page1) A survivor of the wreckage was quoted as saying “I’ll never forget that day. After we finished ourmorning greetings in the schoolyard, we were waiting in the classroom for our building demolition workto begin. Suddenly a friend by the window shouted ‘B- 29!’ At the same instant, a flash pierced my eyes.The entire building collapsed at once and we were trapped underneath. I don’t know how long I remainedunconscious. When I came to, I couldn’t move my body. Cuts on my face and hands throbbed with pain. My front teeth were broken and my shirt soaked in blood.As I crawled along, encouraging myself, I somehow managed to poke my head out of the wreckage. Theschool that should have appeared before my eyes was nowhere to be seen. It had vanished and onlysmoldering ruins remained. Beyond the school toward the center of town, all I could see was a sea offlames. I was so terrified I couldn’t stop shaking. Moving my body a little at a time, I was finally able towork free of the collapsed structure. Making sure to head upwind to escape the fires, I made my waystaggering haphazardly through the rubble of the city and escaped.” The survivor was Shigeru, afirst-year student at the Hiroshima Prefectural Hiroshima Middle School #2 and was mobilized everyday
with his classmates to work on clearing demolished buildings. He was exposed to the A-bombing onAugust 6 in Nakajima Shinmachi. His mother walked around the A-bombed city looking for her son,eventually finding him with a lunch box strapped around his stomach. The body was unidentifiable, andthe lunch box, with its contents that he never ate, was burned black. (An Eyewitness… Page1) Now, there have been laws to protect the innocent people of the world. Laws by many countriesincluding our own. The people of this nation have spoken out against the testing of nuclear weapons. Infact this bill is urging the president to make a comprehensive treaty. The bills intent is below. Whereas the United States has sought to limit nuclear testing through the 1963 Treaty BanningNuclear Weapon Tests in the Atmosphere, in Outer Space and Under Water, the Treaty on theNon-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons of 1968, the Threshold Test Ban Treaty of 1974, and the PeacefulNuclear Explosions Treaty of 1976; Whereas a multilateral, comprehensive ban on nuclear weaponstesting would help protect individual health and the environment, and enhance efforts to halt theproliferation of nuclear weapons; Whereas both France and the Russian Federation have voluntarilysuspended their underground nuclear testing programs; Whereas the United States has joined France andthe Russian Federation in suspending nuclear testing to enable a full review of United States undergroundnuclear testing policy and to promote negotiations to end nuclear testing worldwide; and Whereas, sincethe beginning of the nuclear age, United States presidents have supported and sought to negotiate acomprehensive nuclear weapons test ban: Now, therefore, be it Resolved by the House of Representatives(the Senate concurring), That the Congress urges the President to initiate, at the earliest possible time,multilateral negotiations toward a comprehensive nuclear weapons test ban. This means that they want the president to sign a treaty saying that no tests of any kind, willoccur anywhere, and be controlled by the United States of America. It seems odd that the congress shouldhave a need to urge the president in this matter, Public belief thought we had already signed such atreaty(Mr. KOPETSKI, et al. Page1) There are two sides to every coin, including nuclear testing. Some people say that it will be thedownfall of the world, others believe that without the ability to detonate nukes that their country will beover run by the ones that can. Who is correct in this battle? No one knows, but it wages on never the less.Some arguments below may help you pick a side.Some people believe that nuclear testing of weapons does more harm than good. People like thishave stated “Whereas on February 2, 1998, former President Jimmy Carter and more than 100 former orcurrent heads of state and civilian leaders from 46 nations issued a statement that the world is notcondemned to live forever with threats of nuclear conflict, or the anxious fragile peace imposed by nucleardeterrence’ and that `the sheer destructiveness of nuclear weapons invokes a moral imperative for theirelimination’” [sic] (Ms. Woolsey, et al) This refers to a treaty signed by Jimmy Carter agreeing to stop allabove ground nuclear testing, and to scale down the worlds nuclear weapons stockpile. Anotherconcurring argument was stated by General Lee Butler Whereas on December 5, 1996, General Lee Butler(U.S. Air Force Et.) and more than 60 other retired generals and admirals from 17 countries issued astatement that `the continuing existence of nuclear weapons in the armories of nuclear powers, and theever-present threat of acquisition of these weapons by others, constitute a peril to global peace and securityand to the safety and survival of the people we are dedicated to protect,’ and that `the creation of anuclear-weapons-free world’ is both `necessary’ and `possible’.” [sic] (Ms. Woolsey, et al) This is not onlyexperienced military leaders of our nation but 16 others and they all concur that the nuclear weapons havebecome a problem, and that we should limit if not eliminate them. Apparently the congress of the pastagreed with the above statements, when they stated “Whereas the United States has sought to limit nucleartesting through the 1963 Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapon Tests in the Atmosphere, in Outer Space andUnder Water, the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons of 1968, the Threshold Test BanTreaty of 1974, and the Peaceful Nuclear Explosions Treaty of 1976;.” [sic] (Mr. Kopetski, et al pg.1) Inthis statement they were using the above treaties to pressure the president into negotiating acomprehensive nuclear weapons test ban. Regarding all testing of nuclear weapons, The United States andFrance had already started to compile a treaty that was comprehensive. The entire congress concurredwith each other about this topic, sending a strong and clear message to the president. Then on September27, 1993, the President declared to the United Nations that one of the world’s most urgent priorities mustbe to impede the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Implying that the message from congresswas well received and heeded. Yet another opinion was that “Achieving a nuclear test ban was anobjective of every U.S. President from Eisenhower to Carter… The preamble of the NuclearNon-Proliferation Treaty, the mainstay of the international nonproliferation regime, seeks thediscontinuance of all test explosions of nuclear weapons for all time.”(Hon. Rick Lazio, pg. 1) This sumsup the feelings of all the opposing factions in the nuclear war of the world. The other side is in favor of the nuclear testing, for many reasons. Such as protection and just tokeep ahead. In fact it was said that We in Pakistan will maintain a balance with India in all fields, Pakistan s foreign minister, Gohar Ayub Khan, said today in Islamabad. We are in a headlong arms raceon the subcontinent. (ABCNEWS, Wouters)The term Keeping up with the jones es comes to mind.Barry Blechman, chairman of the Henry L. Stimson Center in Washington, which tracks nuclearproliferation issues said I think the Indian action is unbelievably stupid, They are now marchingdown the path to an arms race in the subcontinent. This race could lead to a war which could obliteratethe world. If these tests are not isolated and they weaponize, then why not Pakistan, why not Iran, whynot Iraq? said Joseph Cirincione, senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. You can no longer hold the line. Will everyone have nuclear weapons one day?? Cirincione also said The Pakistanis will say, The Indians got away with it, why shouldn t we? Then the Iranians will say thesame thing, and then the Iraqis. This could be a really landmark event. Another idea They may bepulling a Nixon Goes to China, said Parachini. Let s do a test and come back into the fold like aprodigal son like the French did. (ABCNEWS, Wouters) A lot of people seem to side with the majority regardless, but this researcher is a little different. Ido my best to remain objective and see all of the facts. This is what I saw, No matter what it seems thatthe testing of nuclear weapons brings out the bad in people. SO I am against it, even in extreme situations.The use of nuclear power and the furthering of our knowledge is okay as long as sub critical tests areperformed. If I were a senator, or even president, these would be my views. In conclusion, nothing but pain and suffering has come from these of nuclear weapons. It hasbrought tension among the world, simply by the test done in India and Pakistan. The actual use of bombshas killed and devastated beyond the belief of the common man. When it comes to voting on nucleartesting, just say NO.