Warheads

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posted on Oct, 12 2012 @ 05:44 PM
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What are nuclear warheads made out of that keep the radiation from seeping out when they are not used?

How long foes a nuclear warhead last before it starts leaking out radiation?


All the nuclear warheads have to be used if they are going to leak anyway. At least that's what I think. But what do I know?




posted on Oct, 12 2012 @ 05:51 PM
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In theory you can use any substance to shield the radiation. The higher the density of the substance, the better the shielding effect because the energetic particles collide with the atoms of the substance.

The most commonly used shielding material is lead.

To answer the second question: Radiation has a decaying effect on every material, meaning even the best shielding will become porous and corroded over the time. According to this article in the Washington Post from last year, current warheads will be refurbished to last another 30 years.



posted on Oct, 12 2012 @ 07:13 PM
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I'm not an expert, but I seriously doubt that the radioactivity of an undetonated nuclear warhead is not enough to worry over. The radioactivity only really begins once the initial charge has been detonated, sending a rod into the core of the bomb, initializing the chain reaction.



posted on Oct, 12 2012 @ 07:33 PM
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Yes, and there is four different levels of guarding yourself from radiation, when it occurs.
Not all pleasant...



posted on Oct, 12 2012 @ 09:44 PM
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reply to post by WarJohn
 


Ziploc's and duct tape per DHS regulation.


Sorry, couldn't resist. I have no clue how that works.



posted on Oct, 13 2012 @ 09:06 AM
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Originally posted by WarJohn
What are nuclear warheads made out of that keep the radiation from seeping out when they are not used?

How long foes a nuclear warhead last before it starts leaking out radiation?


All the nuclear warheads have to be used if they are going to leak anyway. At least that's what I think. But what do I know?


A lot of the detailed composition of a nuclear warhead is classified, obviously...but the vast majority of the warhead *by weight* is the physics package (Plutonium and assorted other goodies), and the re-entry shield (believe it or not, depleted uranium is used on at least some of the devices currently in service. That lets the shield do double duty as aerodynamic protection and as a yield enhancer). Most of the radiation from those materials is alpha radiation, which can be stopped by cardboard, thin metal, or even certain kinds of paint. They're only dangerous if you ingest the metal (or dust from it). As long as you don't hit the thing with a hammer, and it isn't damaged by some sort of accident, the radiation hazard is minimal.

I wouldn't be too worried about an accident, either, frankly. In 1980, there was an accident inside a Titan II missile silo in Arkansas. During maintenance, one of the missile's fuel tanks was damaged, and eventually exploded. The warhead was ejected from the silo by the blast, and came down several hundred feet away...still physically intact, and with no measurable radiation leakage. That may seem counter-intuitive, but if you think about the shock and stress associated with a normal launch and ballistic reentry, those devices have to be fairly tough.

As for using the devices 'before the radiation leaks out', that's not an issue. The radioactive elements in the devices do decay, and after about 5-20 years (depending on how 'tight' the design is), decay products will contaminate the warhead to the point where the yield and the reliability will begin to drop. The Department of Energy actually has a program that essentially recycles old warhead packages. If the metal can't be purified and re-machined into a new warhead, it's disposed of just like any other high-level radioactive waste. There isn't a 'use it or lose it' time on the devices, just a 'use it or service it' timer.



posted on Oct, 14 2012 @ 04:04 PM
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Originally posted by ABNARTY
Ziploc's and duct tape per DHS regulation.


Sorry, couldn't resist. I have no clue how that works.


It presumes that your shelter has not suffered significant ( in most cases just urban housing) structural damage which would allow normal airflow or slight over pressure effects to carry contaminated air into your home/structure. It obviously can not protect you from blast damage but sadly the vast majority of people in the US an elsewhere are not aware that one many precautions just like this may very well drastically cut the long term contamination rate.

I know that many people have bought into the widely propagated notion of MAD but the reality is that that would never have been the case; there would have been a 'winner' just like there are in every war; MAD was never a defense strategy as much as it was a gamble on the presumption that enemies could be convinced that the US would always go 'all in' ( having spent very little on passive defense) when attacked by a major power...

My rant for the thread then!

Cheers

PS : Thanks to the posters that addressed the original question...

edit on 14-10-2012 by StellarX because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 16 2012 @ 11:13 PM
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Originally posted by WarJohn
What are nuclear warheads made out of that keep the radiation from seeping out when they are not used?

How long foes a nuclear warhead last before it starts leaking out radiation?


All the nuclear warheads have to be used if they are going to leak anyway. At least that's what I think. But what do I know?


There is radioactive decay overtime and they do need to be serviced which as I understand it more or less means re-enrichment of the fissile material once it's radioactivity has decayed to levels believed to hinder it's effectiveness of operation. Radiation leaked from warheads would only pose a threat to those working with them, there are longer range forms of radiation emitted in smaller quantities but you're already being bombarded by those from background radiation



posted on Oct, 25 2012 @ 10:40 AM
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Long ago a bomber had problems and ditched its nukes over the sea before crash landing in Georgia or was it Louisiana?

The military never found the warheads but a retired military officer found one of them dragging a geiger counter under a boat near the coast. The government decided to leave them down there in the mud. Too much of a radioactive mess to try and bring it up.

His videos of finding the bomb were scrubbed from the net. You won't find them now. Apparently as they get old you do get a radiation leak problem. Hope that one in the mud off the southern coast never goes boom on its own someday.



posted on Oct, 25 2012 @ 06:15 PM
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reply to post by Pervius
 


Not the only time it's happened, that's a "broken arrow":

www.atomicarchive.com...

Palomares in Spain is probably the worst in severity and best known.
edit on 25-10-2012 by nitestick because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 2 2013 @ 10:53 PM
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Originally posted by nitestick
reply to post by Pervius
 


Not the only time it's happened, that's a "broken arrow":

www.atomicarchive.com...

Palomares in Spain is probably the worst in severity and best known.
edit on 25-10-2012 by nitestick because: (no reason given)


Here's to brining an old thread back!! S &F





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