Is Nuclear War Still A Major Threat

? Essay, Research Paper Is Nuclear War Still A Major Threat? Bibliography Freeman, Harold. If You Give A Damn About Life. 79 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016: Dodd, Mead, & Company, 1987.

? Essay, Research Paper

Is Nuclear War Still A Major Threat?


Freeman, Harold. If You Give A Damn About Life. 79 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016: Dodd, Mead, & Company, 1987.

Jervis, Robert. The Illogic of American Nuclear Strategy. 124 Roberts Place, Ithaca, New York 14850: Cornell University Press, 1989.

Klare, Michael. Rogue States and Nuclear Outlaws. Harper Collins Canada Ltd. 1995.

Newhouse, John. War and Peace in the Nuclear Age. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. 1988.

Pringle, Laurence. Nuclear War. Bloy Street & Ramsey Avenue, Box 77, Hillside, NJ 07205: Enslow Publishers, Inc. 1985.

Wekesser, Carol. America s Defense: Opposing Viewpoints. Greenhaven Press, Inc. 1997.

Zuckerman, Solly. Nuclear Illusion and Reality. 625 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10022: The Viking Press, 1990.

Peacock, Lindsay. B-1B Bomber. 12-14 Long Acre, London, England WC2E 9LP: Osprey Publishing Ltd. 1992.

March 29,1999 Jagdesh Cooma


Is Nuclear War Still A Major Threat?

I. Introduction

II. Statistics about nuclear weapons

A. Most nuclear weapons have a blast radius of 1-5 miles

B. A year s worth of plutonium waste from an average nuclear plant can produce 800 nuclear bombs

C. Nuclear cruise missiles can be launched thousands of miles way from its programmed target

III. Reasons why nuclear war is resorted to

A. Total annihilation of one s enemy

B. Complete destruction of enemy s land

1. Can take years for adequate housing and businesses to develop

2. Destruction of farmland can severely hurt enemy nation

IV. Costs of nuclear war

A. Average nuclear bomb/missile can cost $2-8 million

B. Casualties of civilians and soldiers

1. Amount of lives lost can be unaccountably high

2. Cruel and ghastly means of death for those within two miles of blast

3. Number of civilians killed will be tremendous

C. Amount of damage done would me tremendous

D. Delivering and storage of nuclear weapons is costly and poses a high risk.

1. Air/sea crafts used to deliver weapons cost $millions for each run

2. Chances that crew on the craft or storage areas will be damaged,

destroyed or attacked poses a deadly threat

V. Affects of nuclear war

A. Millions of lives lost

B. Long-term radiation damages

1. Women exposed can bear children with birth defects

2. Survivors of the explosion can suffer from cancer to severe burns

3. Land can be unsuited for living (farming/housing)

4. Water can be deadly contaminated

5. Air can contain harmful filaments

C. In the end, there is no true winner

VI. Potential threat of countries possessing nuclear weapons

VII. Conclusion

April 26, 1999 Jagdesh Cooma


Is Nuclear War Still A Major Threat?

Nuclear war is not much of a major threat as it used to be. Now a days, people

have a stronger feeling towards peace in the world. There is a higher value for human

life, and more importantly, there is a greater need for an interdependent global economy

and society.

If you are going to understand nuclear warfare, you have to understand nuclear

weapons. The primary ingredient for a nuclear bomb or missile is plutonium, the waste

product of uranium. Uranium is what is used to run nuclear power plants. As uranium

is used up, plutonium is produced. The average nuclear power plant produces enough

plutonium to create 800 nuclear bombs or missiles.

Why are nuclear weapons so deadly? 1 A nuclear bomb can have a blast radius

of 1-5 miles. That s a blast powerful enough to wipe out an entire city. The effects of

the blast can have the surrounding 1 1,000 square miles covered in a radioactive blanket.

The mushroom cloud produced by the explosion soars to about 2 miles into the

sky. The force from the cloud can send any aircraft to the ground due to a tremendous

amount of turbulence. This is why only high-range/high-speed bombers are used to deploy

nuclear weapons.

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Is Nuclear War Still A Major Threat?

If a country chooses not to use aircraft in delivering the weapons, then can use

ships, submarines, and missile silos to launch nuclear cruise missiles. 2 Cruise missiles are

in a class of missiles known as fire-and-forget missiles. What happens is that the

missiles warheads are programmed to arrive at a certain location via satellite. These

missiles can be launched hundreds to even thousands of miles away from its target

location. One type of cruise missile, the Boeing AGM-86B Air Launched Cruise Missile

(ALCM), has been reported to have an accuracy level of 3 square yards of its

programmed target. By using missiles like this, they won t risk the lives of human pilots

or multimillion dollar planes.

Nuclear war is resorted to for a few major reasons. The primary reason is that

it can lead to total annihilation of one s enemy. With a few nuclear hits from nuclear

bombs, your enemy is completely destroyed, quickly, easily, and effectively. Another

important reason is it causes 3 complete destruction of enemy land.

If you are able to have enemy land completely totaled, it can take years for them

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Is Nuclear War Still A Major Threat?

to rebuild themselves. 4 The time the country needs to replenish its economy would be

enough to send them into a bad economic situation, possibly even a depression. If a

depression occurs, inflation is one of the strings attached with it. As inflation rises and

the value of currency goes down, it leads to unhappy citizens and discontent soldiers. If

the soldiers are paid inflated, low-value money, why should they still bother fighting?

5 If key areas during the war are wiped out, such as industries that produce

war supplies, it can allow the opposition to have a great advantage. If farmlands are

destroyed, it can cause a famines for the civilians of the nation as well as for the

soldiers fighting. Again, another advantage for the opposition.

Now, what are the costs of nuclear war? The costs basically range through three

major fields. The first field is the cost for a nuclear weapon. The second field is the loss

of human lives. And finally, the third field is the cost of transporting and storing the

nuclear weapons.

An average, nuclear bomb is has an impact of roughly 5-15 megatons . The

average cost for a weapon like this can range from $2-4 million, for a low standard,

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Is Nuclear War Still A Major Threat?

simple nuclear bomb, to $5-7 million, for a state-of-the-art, laser guided bomb (LGB),

which can hit targets way more accurately.

An average nuclear missile can cost $3 million, where you ll get a missile that

must be launched by plane and isn t exactly accurate, to $8 million , which gives you a

top of the line cruise missile that can be launched from a submarine, ship, or a bomber.

Cruises missiles are reported to have a great amount of accuracy as you have read

before, which is why there are a favorite choice of the military.

The cost of human lives during a nuclear war is unimaginable. The amount of

lives that are lost would be uncountable. People that are close to the blast when it

occurs will be vaporized, won t have any remnants left for their lives to be accounted for.

Now the effects of nuclear war are just as devastating. There are going to be

millions of lives that will be lost. The number is so great, that it can t even be said for

certain. However, there was an estimate done on the lives that will be lost if the

bomb/missile were to hit New York city (Manhattan). The estimate was approximately

8-10 million lives. The long term affects of nuclear war would be the radiation damages.

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Is Nuclear War Still A Major Threat?

The survivors will suffer a great deal of medical problems, land affected by the

radiation will not be suitable for any use, water exposed can be deadly contaminated,

and the air can contain harmful filaments.

People within a two mile radius of the blast will literally be vaporized due to

the immense heat dispersed from the explosion. Those people will be the lucky ones, they

wont have to suffer from what the rest will.

Anyone from 11 three to four miles away from the blast will suffer from severe

second and third degree burns. They will be in such bad condition that they would just

lie there and die a slow, gruesome death. Even if these people could be rescued, all the

hospitals within a 11 seven to eight mile radius of the explosion would either be destroyed

or heavily damaged. Even if the hospitals were in good enough condition, they each could

take no more than three to four burn victims because of the cost to support them

( between $200,000 and $400,000 is needed to treat a severe burn case ).

Of those who survive this. These people will most definitely suffer from second to

third degree burns because the clothes on their skin will be burnt off. The heat emitted

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Is Nuclear War Still A Major Threat?

from the bomb is equivalent to several hundred thousand suns. 11 For the people that are

five to seven or eight miles away from the blast will undergo extreme radiation exposure. These

people will have a long, traumatic death or a horrible life plagued with illness.

People beyond this radius will suffer from mild to minor radiation exposure.

It wouldn t be enough for them to die, but they will most likely have health problems and women

affected by the radiation can bear children with all types of birth defects from cancer to mental


People who survive the explosion will suffer tremendously. The survivors can suffer

13 massive amounts of burns, mainly second and third degree burns. Others that are

further away could endure side effects from the radiation exposure. This mostly emphasizes

on the types of cancers that can develop.

The affects a nuclear explosion on the land can definitely alter it. The damage

from radiation can cause the land be totally unsuitable for any kind of farming or

housing development. Anything grown or erected on the affected land can conduct the

radioactive poisons within the land s soil or surface.

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Is Nuclear War Still A Major Threat?

Water exposed to the radiation can be severely contaminated. The water can

contain all types of substances that can become deadly when exposed to high levels of

radiation. This won t allow any kind of safe water for the area(s) that are bombed.

After the explosion, the least area considered contaminated will be the air. Dust

and all other kinds of filaments in the air will pose a deadly threat. People, animals,

and plants will eventually be seriously affected in given time. 16 If they don t die, they

would develop some type of cancerous disease.

The final affect of the war would be no true victor. Unfortunately, after any war,

there are no winners, and a nuclear war would be no exception. The amount of damage

done to both parties would be to great for either one to even claim the title of winner.

Now to begin planning for a nuclear war, we have to consider the countries that

have nuclear weapons, countries that are suspected of having it and their potential threat.

Countries that possess nuclear weapons include Great Britain, the United States, Russia,

Israel, South Africa, India, and Pakistan. Countries suspected of having nuclear arms or

who can build them if they wish are 13 Canada, Iran, Italy, Japan, Sweden, West

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Is Nuclear War Still A Major Threat?

Germany, Argentina, Brazil, Egypt, Iraq, Libya, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan,

Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Mexico, The Netherlands, Norway, The

Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Spain, and Yugoslavia.

The threat of theses countries who are suspected of possessing nuclear weapons is

rather disastrous because no one would suspect it and it gives these countries an extra

edge during war or times of conflict. This is because if two countries are engaged in

conventional warfare, and out of nowhere, the country least expected to have any kind of

nuclear arsenal can surprise the world and nuke their opposition.

There is a greater threat from these suspected countries than those who are known

to possess nuclear weapons because they can use them spontaneously and without no

warning, while the countries that do have them can be expected to use them which will

give their opposition 18 some kind of hint or reason to call for a greater amount of


In conclusion, I can state that nuclear war is no longer a major threat by reason

of the costs of nuclear war and the affects of nuclear war. I believe the evidence that is

present in those two listed titles and its subtitles is strong enough to support my thesis.