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Nuclear weapons - multiple small ones (wave effect)

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posted on Jun, 15 2005 @ 11:20 AM
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In the book, Life After Nuclear War, Arthur Katz in 1982 wrote [p. 29]:

quote: "The accumulated impact of weapons in urban areas, where boundaries for significant damage produced by one weapon overlap and intrude into the area of damage of others is not normally discussed. Thus, the potential devastation from this type of attack is significantly understated. No serious modeling or analysis of this type of problem is associated with discussions in the open literature."
Katz wrote the above fully 37 years after the first detonation of a nuclear weapon. Let me reiterate the point, "No serious modeling or analysis of this type of problem is associated with discussions in the open literature." And this occurred in a society with freedom of speech and great technological advancements, well capable of analyzing the problem. Why?

These matters are important, for without understanding both the limitations and capabilities of these weapons, we cannot hope to control them. The use of multiple nuclear weapons are the key features of war plans in nuclear weapon nations. We have long since past the era when most nations would tend to use one or two nuclear weapons, as at Hiroshima or Nagasaki.

Let's start with what is widely known [when detonation occurs at an altitude to maximize 3.5+ psi destruction]. A single 20 Kt nuclear weapon would produce 8.04 square miles of 3+ psi destruction. From this we can easily calculate that detonating eight individual 20 Kt weapons would produce 64 square miles of 3+ psi destruction [64.3=8x8.04]. This is the same area of 3+ psi destruction that would occur upon detonating one 475 Kt thermonuclear weapon.

On this basis, we are able to know that, at the absolute minimum, eight individual low-tech 20 Kt nuclear weapons are capable of producing a level a level of destruction equal to a large thermonuclear weapon (475 Kt). Parenthetically, it is well to note that 58% of Russia's strategic nuclear weapons are of about this size (500-550 Kt), and 87% of the thermonuclear weapons in the U.S. strategic arsenal are smaller than 475 Kt.

Now let's go a step further and consider the potential consequences of SIMULTANEOUSLY DETONATING a pattern of eight nuclear weapons. I have not seen simultaneous nuclear air bursts discussed, or even hinted at, in the open literature, but too many of their effects are too obvious to ignore them, as can be seen in the "M" (Multiple Blasts) command in Nukefix.

When eight low-tech 20 Kt nuclear weapons are detonated simultaneously in an encirclement pattern (5 mile radius, 4.3 miles between zero points in a circle) in a high population density urban area, at least as much destruction would tend to be produced as with a single one megaton thermonuclear weapon. The reason for this is firestorms and the interaction of blast forces.

A one megaton weapon would cause 105 square miles of 3+ psi destruction. With firestorms, the 20 Kt encirclement pattern can readily envelope 105 square miles in total destruction, leaving no escape for the inhabitants. At a population density of 12,000 per square mile the 20 Kt encirclement pattern might well produce 53% more deaths than a single one megaton weapon, which is to say, approximately 1,082,884 deaths with 20 Kt encirclement versus approximately 708,426 deaths with a one-megaton blast. [This can be calculated with the "M" command in the downloadable computer program Nukefix]

With the simultaneous detonation of eight 20 Kt weapons on a day with 35 mile visibility, the thermal energy from the initial blast throughout the 105 square miles would be sufficient to ignite items having the same degree of flammability as thin black rubber at every point that was in line of sight of the contributing weapons. At Hiroshima (12.5 Kt), the approximate area characterized here by the flammability of rubber was involved in a firestorm.

While every flammable item of such characteristics would not ignite, a sufficient number would tend to burn that the entire area would be immediately subject to creation of firestorms, and the whole area would eventually tend to be subject to firestorms as fires from the hottest areas coalesced. Upholstery and other similarly flammable interior items near windows in homes would have a potential to start fires.


Why is this relevant? well - the likes of NK have nuclear weapons in that class , so whilst 1 might not be `hugely` devestating - several aimed at the same target , would be.




posted on Jun, 15 2005 @ 01:23 PM
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very intresting read. makes alot of sence here is a nother thing to consider what if the blast area's overlap more so each ground Zero is on the out scruts of the blast of the other nukes?


if they all set off at the same time the blast waves would go flying at each other from the out side rings and as they came together they would up the psi damage level by at least double at the edges and up to 8 times at the center... think of it like this a car standing still gets hit by another car going 30 mph so the total kinetic damage is only a 30mile a hour impact, but if you have the other car moving at 30 also then the impact would be = to 60 miles a hour so where the blast waves meet up there would be between 6psi to 24psi of over pressure. Yes it would effect a smaller area but the damage would be much greater.



posted on Jun, 16 2005 @ 07:01 PM
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The US and the Russian's deployed MRV's becasue they were more effiecient in destruction. A Polaris missile with 3 60kt RV's would have the blast power of a 1MT size single warhead or so, but for a much smaller through weight.

NK at the moment is only capable if at all, of putting a rudimentary 20-40kt device. Let alone Multiple reentry vehicles. They will only be able to development this type of technology in later generations of weapons design and testing. Hell they haven't even tested a nuke yet, let alone miniaturized a warhead.



posted on Jun, 17 2005 @ 02:27 AM
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there are rumours in the community that NK has allready tested a warhead in india



posted on Jun, 17 2005 @ 03:16 AM
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A bit of a problem: detonating nuclear warheads in close proximity is easier said than done. The explosion of a nuclear warhead leaves a large neutron background making predetonation - causing nukes to "fizzle" at a much lower yield than designed, ~1 kton or even lower - of other nukes nearby much more likely.



posted on Jun, 17 2005 @ 06:26 AM
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Originally posted by Harlequin
there are rumours in the community that NK has allready tested a warhead in india


I find that highly unlikely, what would the Indians have to gain from North Korea. After all the Indians did detonate their first nuke in 1974, there is nothing NK coul cointribute totheir program.



posted on Jun, 17 2005 @ 09:26 AM
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other than paying the indians alot of money to use there area for testing



posted on Jun, 19 2005 @ 10:38 AM
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What about conventional applications? Can you get the same multiplication effect with simulatenous explosions, replace one 2000lb bomb with eight 50 lb?



posted on Jun, 20 2005 @ 02:52 AM
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What do you think is the principle behind cluster bombs?



posted on Jun, 21 2005 @ 03:42 AM
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Originally posted by Harlequin
other than paying the indians alot of money to use there area for testing


Lol, if you believe that you're pretty deluded. That makes absolutely no sense at all.



posted on Jun, 21 2005 @ 03:47 AM
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Originally posted by Simon666
A bit of a problem: detonating nuclear warheads in close proximity is easier said than done. The explosion of a nuclear warhead leaves a large neutron background making predetonation - causing nukes to "fizzle" at a much lower yield than designed, ~1 kton or even lower - of other nukes nearby much more likely.


Where did you get this from. US strategy seems to think you're wrong. After all they have hundreds of warheads targetted on silos in close proximity. Are you saying that these warheads will fizzle ?

And just how exactly do neatrons cause predetonation ? There aren't enough to induce fission in a warhead without the HE trigger going off ?



posted on Jun, 21 2005 @ 04:58 AM
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Spontaneous fission is not the only cause for concern, since neutrons can enter the weapon from outside. Natural neutron sources are not cause for concern, but in a combat situation very powerful sources of neutrons may be encountered - other nuclear weapons.

One kiloton of fission yield produces a truly astronomical number of excess neutrons - about 3x10^24, with a fluence of 1.5x10^10 neutrons/cm^2 500 m away. A kiloton of fusion yields 3-4 times as many. The fission reaction itself emits all of its neutrons in less than a microsecond, but due to moderation these neutrons arrive at distant locations over a much longer period of time. Most of them arrive in a pulse lasting a millisecond, but thermal neutrons can continue to arrive for much longer periods of time. This is not the whole problem though. Additional neutrons called "delayed neutrons" continue to be emitted for about a minute from the excited fission products. These amount to only 1% or so of the prompt neutrons, but this is still an average arrival rate of 2.5x10^6 neutrons/cm^2-sec for a kiloton of fission at 500 m. With weapons sensitive to predetonation, careful spacing of explosions in distance and time may be necessary. Neutron hardening - lining the bomb with moderating and neutron absorbing materials - may be necessary to hold predetonation problems to a tolerable level (it is virtually impossible to eliminate it entirely in this way).

www.nuclearweaponarchive.org...

[edit on 21-6-2005 by Simon666]



posted on Jun, 24 2005 @ 07:22 AM
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"What do you think is the principle behind cluster bombs? "

Unrelated. Simulatanous detonation is not an issue with cluster bombs, it's about how much more efficiently you can cover an area using small bomblets than big bombs.



posted on Jun, 24 2005 @ 08:23 AM
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It seems related to me. As the destruction from the blast is a wave effect, this means that the power of the explosion decreases with roughly the square of the distance. So multiple small bombs are better than one big bomb. I thought that is what was meant with "multiplication effect".



posted on Jun, 24 2005 @ 08:44 AM
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Originally posted by rogue1

Originally posted by Harlequin
other than paying the indians alot of money to use there area for testing


Lol, if you believe that you're pretty deluded. That makes absolutely no sense at all.


Well - there ARE rumours that NK have detonated there first device , but where? the Indian or PAK deserts seem logical.



posted on Jun, 24 2005 @ 06:10 PM
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How would NK get those warheads to detonate simultaneously? The delivery vehicle is possibly capable (in terms of range) but accurate enough to place warheads in such a pattern and pop at the same time?



posted on Jun, 25 2005 @ 09:01 AM
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"What do you think is the principle behind cluster bombs? "

Unrelated. Simulatanous detonation is not an issue with cluster bombs, it's about how much more efficiently you can cover an area using small bomblets than big bombs.


Agreed, Clusterbombs are a a different subject, however, multiple FAE's would create a deadly pressure wave, so a weapon that could disperse a circle of FAE's and making them able to detonate together, this would create an explosion that is equally deadly to a small nuclear explosion, but since the Fuel Air Explosives need a cloud of fuel to be detonated in mid air it's pretty unlikely you would be able to simutaniously detonate it...interesting though.

or you could always do it Daisy Cutter style and just detonate a large bomb.



posted on Jun, 25 2005 @ 10:59 AM
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Originally posted by GrOuNd_ZeRo
Agreed, Clusterbombs are a a different subject, however, multiple FAE's would create a deadly pressure wave, so a weapon that could disperse a circle of FAE's and making them able to detonate together, this would create an explosion that is equally deadly to a small nuclear explosion, but since the Fuel Air Explosives need a cloud of fuel to be detonated in mid air it's pretty unlikely you would be able to simutaniously detonate it...interesting though.

There is a patent somewhere that proposes to simultaneously detonate such a cloud using microwaves for the purpose of studying the effects of a (small) nuclear bomb. And I do believe the issue is related, as cluster bombs also use the principle that multiple small bombs can do larger surface damage than one big bomb, this principle applies to all bombs including nuclear ones.

[edit on 25-6-2005 by Simon666]



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