Nuclear Strikes Essay Research Paper Nuclear Strikes

Nuclear Strikes Essay, Research Paper Nuclear Strikes Scientifically, there is no obstacle for a nuclear or atomic bomb. There are no secrets in Nuclear Science anymore. Anyone with a reasonable physics

Nuclear Strikes Essay, Research Paper

Nuclear Strikes

Scientifically, there is no obstacle for a nuclear or atomic bomb. There

are no secrets in Nuclear Science anymore. Anyone with a reasonable physics

degree and access to a good technical library could design a workable atomic

bomb 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 nuclear

warheads made to destroy every city in the world and still have thousands left

over.(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 Soviet

Union). Other nations were involved, and 2 wars were fought over it (Korea

and Vietnam) and a nuclear war was almost waged (Cuban Missile Crisis).

Now with the breakup of the Soviet Union into a loose Commonwealth

no one is exactly sure who has all the weapons. Certain nations inherited

them, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, and Russia, while others tried stealing

them, Iran, Libya, and North Korea. And since the breakup certain people

have been caught stealing the materials needed to make a bomb. These

terrorists have never been caught in the United States but numerous times in

Europe.( As a matter of fact, the Russians say someone stole a bomb

simulator, which will explode and make mushroom cloud but has no nuclear

component.(Wilkie) People know that despite efforts to keep control on the old

Soviet stockpile and waste, terrorists are getting the plutonium and

uranium 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 late

30 s. In 1942 Enrico Fermi brought about first nuclear reaction with isotope

Uranium 235. From this the Manhattan Project was brought about and took

place 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 August

6, 1945 “Little Boy” hit Hiroshima and had the force of 26 million pounds of

TNT. Next on August 9, 1945 “Fat Man” missed it s mark but still

devastated Nagasaki causing an unconditional surrender by the Japanese.

Then in 1946 the United Nations tried to outlaw the weapons but the Soviets

used their veto power against it. Finally in 1949 they developed their own

weapons. In 1952 the first hydrogen bomb was made with a force of 800

Hiroshima s. In 1953 the Russians did it too (thanks to the Rosenberg s).

In 1958 the United States, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union stopped

testing 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 event

it really kind of woke the United States and Soviet Union up about what

could happen. Because of this a direct phoneline was set up between the Kremlin

and the white house.

The main question today is who has control of the weapons. The

former superpower Russia is in political turmoil. Now instead of two people

with their hands on the button there could be dozens! Even the Central

Intelligence Agency director John Deutch said he is afraid of loose nukes

being smuggled out of Russia.(McGirk 35) The United States is in pretty good condition

because not much nuclear waste is stolen (they believe) and no missiles ever

have been stolen. But in some countries nuclear technicians haven t been

paid in six months (Russia). Security is breaking down, and waste is leaking

out. What is everyone going to do the next morning after a nuclear terrorist


The four new formed nations of Belarus, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and

Russia all have nuclear missiles. Although Ukraine and Belarus say they

want no part of them it is not known their real stance.( If they don t want

them then where will they go. They will probably send them to third world

nations or terrorist with a lot of money, because they are so poor. One

Russian political columnist Vladlen Sirotikin said, “give me a million bucks,

and I ll have a nuclear tipped missile bought or stolen and delivered anyplace

you want.” The Pakistani Interior Minister General N. Babar admits his

government 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.”(

There is 15 nations in the world with nuclear weapons. Besides the

United States other Declared Nuclear weapon states are China, Russia, Great

Britain, France and Kazakhstan. The Undeclared but known nuclear weapon

states are India, Pakistan, Israel, and Bangladesh. The Soviet successor states

that say they are getting rid of the weapons and waste are the Ukraine and

Belarus. There is three countries with active programs and wide spread

government condoned terrorism, Libya, Iran, and North Korea. The scary

thing about China is that they are a declared nuclear weapon state and it is

well known that Beijing is willing to sell nuclear weaponry (along with

anything else) to any state with the cash to pay for it. ( Another scary thing

is about Iran because they have 10,000 students in our country, and Oliver

Revell, the second highest in the Federal Bureau of Investigation, said that

300 of the 10,000 who came as students are under a careful watch. Some of

the 300 are members of Iran s Revolutionary Guard and their intentions are

far from academic. (McGirk 35)If they have nuclear capabilities, who knows? Plus

another 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 drop

the bomb? I mean if they don t make one they could just steal one. There

is 18,000 warheads compared to 2300 cities throughout the world.(Williams) Maybe

even a crazy American president with followers could start it. In 1973 the

United States signed the War Powers Act in which the president could

conduct 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 may

have the existence of mankind in it s power and the human race will commit

suicide by blowing up the world.”(Mollins) Since the 60 s the superpowers were able

to destroy each other over and over. This is called MAD, Mutually Assured


What would it be like at ground zero after the fallout. The three main

effects of the blast is pressure, heat, and radiation. The pressure of the

explosion 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 to

burn. With the combination of the two can even vaporize people near the

epicenter. Then there is radiation which is just a side effect and can reek

havoc for generations with mutations and cancers etc. It s no wonder that

a terrorist wants this against a certain ethnic group or nationality. Especially

Islamic fundamentalist countries, Iran, Kazakhstan, and Libya as well as

Israel and it s Jewish population.(Andrews)

On November 23, 1994 the United States military completed

Operation Sapphire. This took place in Kazakhstan and the U.S. had to

take 600 kilograms of very highly enriched uranium from the Ulba

Metallurgical 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 when

President Clinton approved the operation and sent Americans on the way

with 20 million in cash to buy it and airlift it back to the United States and

brought it to Tennessee.

Terrorists acquire the materials to build the nukes from either the third

world countries, China, or poor, underpaid, overworked, Russian nuclear

power workers who have not been paid in months. There has 14 different

occasions in Germany alone of nuclear smuggling being caught at airports!

There has many incidents involving a base in Obninsk and a man

named Leonid Baranov. One such incident occurred when Baranov recruited

Aleksandr Sherbinin to smuggle material out of Obninsk, roughly 30 miles

outside of Moscow, to Prague. Sherbinin was in Prague for six months trying

to sell his material. Finally on December 14, 1994 he was arrested. They

found 6 pounds (2.72 kilograms) or weapons grade uranium in the back

seat of his car. That is only enough to build one tenth of a bomb, but what

if he spread it into part of a city. Then it could seep into the water supply

and air conditioning system, contaminate buildings and streets, and drift

invisibly without even an explosion! Baranov is a suspect in two other

smuggling cases in Germany. One such case involves three Spaniards,

Justiano Torres Benitez, Julio Oroz, Javier Bengoechea. They were caught

in a German sting with 560 grams of MOX fuel (363 grams of uranium &

plutonium). This is a very controversial case in Germany because they

allowed this substance to be let into Germany. It is also controversial in

Russia because the Russians were notified of the sting and believe that

it was a ploy against them because they international atomic controls

implemented against the Russians. Although it is well known it was

stolen by Leonid Baranov and from the Obninsk facility the Americans

and Russians refuse to admit it. There is a way to tell where it is from by

it s radioactive fingerprint but the Russians will not release theirs.(PBS)

The first known theft of nuclear materials was by the Russians against

Leonid Smirnov at a train station in Podolsk. It was 98% enirched uranium

238 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 uranium

and 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. His

co-workers didn t suspect anything because he would take it when they were

on their smoking breaks. He was found guilty on March 11, 1993 of stealing

and storing radioactive materials. His sentence was only 3 years of probation

but it could have been up to 10 years in jail. He still lives in the same

apartment as he has for 25 years. (PBS)

On June 14, 1995, a training exercise was carried out at the Kursk

Atomic 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 of

terrorism 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, and

medical facilities are involved in the exercise, along with agents of the

Federal Security Service and other federal forces. When negotiations

fail, the command team decides to take the plant by force. A masked SWAT

team is assembled, storms the reactor building, and is able to stop the role

playing terrorists. The event was videotaped and made into a public relations

video that the FSB has used to successfully lobby for the creation of a new

Anti Terrorist Task Force. And on an ironic note, this anti terrorist exercise

would have been declared a complete success if only it didn t happen the

very same day Chechen separatists had taken hostage a hospital full of people

in the city of Budyonnovsk, Russia. Let s hope these attempts work so

nuclear terrorists won t get the materials or be able to use them.(PBS)

So in conclusion terrorists are able to get the materials required to

make a nuclear weapon or contaminate an area with nuclear waste. A

government official from Pakistan raises a good question when said, “This

material is supposed to be strictly controlled, and if the Russian Mafia or

whoever else is smuggling it out then it is very serious. Many of the things

hawked out are radioactive There is potential for a terrorist group buying

up bits and pieces”. There is growing fear that sooner or later the Irish

Republican Army, or another extremist group could explode a bomb. So

if they are getting it from Russia why isn t there any extra international

prevention in the former Soviet Union? Weapons are being dismantled at an

alarming rate. It s good thing to, because finding a needle in haystack is

easier than finding a bomb in an international city.(Waller 17) There is three

main ways they would destroy a terrorists bomb: 1. Use conventional weapons

to blow up the bomb without the nuclear aspect going off. 2. A 30 millimeter cannon

blow a nuke to pieces without an explosion. And 3. Pour liquid nitrogen over

the bomb to freeze it s electronics.(Waller)

There is obviously a higher risk for a strike now because so many

people have their hands on the buttons with 15 nations and who knows

who else might have the button to kill millions. So despite attempts to keep

control on nuclear material terrorists and third world countries are getting

their hands on the material to kill large masses of people. Key players in

trying 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 great

destruction in the world or great reduction of nuclear based uses.


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York: 1985.

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Frontline: Loose Nukes PBS. WMHT Albany, New York. November 19,

1996: 50 minutes.

Luttwak, Edward N. “International Arms Control” Microsoft Encarta 1995

Mayers, Teena. Understanding Nuclear Weapons and Arms Control.

Education in world: 1983.

McGirk, Tim. “Pakistan s Radioactive Bazaar” World Press Review July

1996: 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: 38-40

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No 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: