How to Build a Nuclear Bomb: And Other Weapons of Mass Destruction


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Would you like to tell us about a lower price? If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support? Weapons of mass destruction WMD are the greatest threat to national security in the twenty-first century. How to Build a Nuclear Bomb explains what it takes for a rogue state or terrorist group to obtain and use them. But nuclear weapons and terrorism expert Frank Barnaby has not written a collection of scare stories. His purpose in How to Build a Nuclear Bomb is to counteract the "misinformation, often put out for propaganda purposes" and general ignorance on this most urgent of topics.

Barnaby describes, in straightforward, non-sensational terms what is involved when a state or a terrorist group sets out to make a weapon of mass destruction, what they are capable of doing, and what is needed to produce one.

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By outlining the parameters of the problem, Barnaby is able to accurately gauge the threat that WMD pose, arguing that counterterrorist measures urgently need to be stepped up to meet the challenges of a new era of international terror. Read more Read less. Customers who bought this item also bought. Page 1 of 1 Start over Page 1 of 1. Scott Douglas Sagan. Samuel Walker.

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David Fromkin. Peter S. Tonio Andrade. Review "A straightforward and unhysterical guide to some of the more hair-raising nuclear, chemical and biological threats that have dominated the post September world. To get the free app, enter mobile phone number. See all free Kindle reading apps. Tell the Publisher! I'd like to read this book on Kindle Don't have a Kindle? No customer reviews. Share your thoughts with other customers. Write a product review. Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon. Verified Purchase.

The possibility of home-made WMD's is front page news nowadays. Building WMD's is a lot easier said than done. Building an A-bomb requires a bunch of money, specialized scientists, technicians, uranium, a uranium enrichment facility, and a big, big room to assemble the thing. Can you build one from spare parts?

But A-bombs aren't like bikinis - you can't mix and match the precision parts. What about buying an A-bomb on the black market? But remember, most countries can't afford nuclear programs.

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Neither can individuals. Chemical weapons are a little bit cheaper than A-bombs. However, you still need a specialized chemists, a production facility, and a stockpile of exotic chemicals. And even if you do concoct a little poison gas, it's a tricky business deploying the stuff without killing yourself in the process. For the same yield and weather conditions, the number of casualties from an earth-penetrator weapon detonated at a few meters depth is, for all practical purposes, equal to that from a surface burst of the same weapon yield.

Any reduction in casualties due to the use of an EPW is.

Weapon of mass destruction

Conclusion 5. The yield required of a nuclear weapon to destroy a hard and deeply buried target is reduced by a factor of 15 to 25 by enhanced ground-shock coupling if the weapon is detonated a few meters below the surface. Conclusion 6.


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For attacks near or in densely populated urban areas using nuclear earth-penetrator weapons on hard and deeply buried targets HDBTs , the number of casualties can range from thousands to more than a million, depending primarily on weapon yield. For attacks on HDBTs in remote, lightly populated areas, casualties can range from as few as hundreds at low weapon yields to hundreds of thousands at high yields and with unfavorable winds.

Conclusion 7. For urban targets, civilian casualties from a nuclear earth-penetrator weapon are reduced by a factor of 2 to 10 compared with those from a surface burst having 25 times the yield. Conclusion 8. In an attack on a chemical or biological weapons facility, the explosive power of conventional weapons is not likely to be effective in destroying the agent. However, the BLUB thermobaric bomb, if detonated within the chamber, may be able to destroy the agent. An attack by a nuclear weapon would be effective in destroying the agent only if detonated in the chamber where agents are stored.

Conclusion 9. In an attack with a nuclear weapon on a chemical weapons facility, civilian deaths from the effects of the nuclear weapon itself are likely to be much greater than civilian deaths from dispersal of the chemical agents. In contrast, if the target is a biological weapons facility, release of as little as 0. In potential adversary nations, there is a large 2, and growing number of identified, strategically important facilities that are sheltered in underground bunkers.

Because of the limitations on the penetration depth of penetrating weapons in the stockpile today, as well as those of the robust nuclear earth penetrator RNEP weapon currently under study, effects of their use would not be contained. Targets buried up to 85 meters can be held at risk PD greater than 0.

To be highly effective against targets that are harder than about psi, detonation must occur lower than the fallout-free HOB, regardless of the yield or accuracy of the weapon. For a surface-burst weapon, the yield required to destroy with high probability PD greater than 0. The importance of the accuracy of weapon delivery CEP increases with increasing target depth of burial up to about meters. Beyond this depth, the importance of accuracy diminishes relative to that of increased yield. Differences in assumptions regarding sheltering and evacuation of the population can alter the estimated number of casualties by a factor of 2 to 8.

Wind patterns can have an enormous effect on the number of casualties resulting from fallout. For targets in large urban centers, fatalities from acute and latent effects from fallout can vary by more than a factor of 10, and for targets outside cities, fatalities from exposure to fallout can vary by more than a factor of , depending on population distribution and which way the wind blows.

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National leaders can attempt to minimize casualties by choosing time of day and timing attacks for favorable forecasted wind patterns, but the predictability of weather is limited and there may be constraints on the ability to wait until forecasts are favorable. Credible empirical equations are available for estimating depth of penetration and resulting EPW axial deceleration.

Maximum depths of penetration are estimated to be between 7 meters for medium-strength rock to 70 meters for silty clay. The greatest uncertainty regarding EPW survival concerns the heterogeneous nature of target geologies. A depth of penetration of about 3 meters achieves most of the benefits of effective energy coupling, and limiting detonation to that depth avoids the uncertainties associated with geologies below that depth.


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Collateral damage from a nuclear earth-penetrator weapon cannot be avoided entirely, but it could potentially be reduced by new design concepts combining deeper-penetration, lower-yield, and low-fission-fraction nuclear design for reduced radioactivity. To achieve such reductions, innovative concepts must be developed for achieving combinations of penetration depth and yield combinations that would substantially diminish the radioactive fallout from a nuclear earth-penetrator weapon attack on an HDBT.

Use of such a weapon with reduced yield requires more precise and reliable intelligence and greater delivery accuracy than for an above-surface nuclear burst of comparable military effectiveness. To destroy chemical or biological agents in an attack, a weapon must detonate essentially within the chamber in which the agent is stored. In general it must detonate in flight, having penetrated through the protective cover of the underground storage.

How to Build a Nuclear Bomb by Frank Barnaby | Hachette Book Group

Similarly, if the agents are not in a single room, but are in adjacent tunnels, no more than a region of a single tunnel could be irradiated by a single nuclear explosion. If chemical or biological agents are released in an EPW attack, there are several ways to reduce casualties and fatalities. Protective clothing and masks can protect people in the high-hazard areas. Those regions can also be treated chemically to decontaminate them. Chemical agents can be rendered inert by exposure to sunlight, heat, or rain, and neutralizing injections exist in some cases.

All exposed biological agents are eventually destroyed by ultraviolet exposure, and the effects of many are preventable by vaccines or are treatable by other medical countermeasures.

Given the same target, using conventional rather than nuclear weapons to destroy a chemical storage facility surface or buried most likely will cause fewer casualties in either a populated or an unpopulated area, even if there is a potential for release of the chemicals. The same is not necessarily true for a biological storage facility. In particular, the mind-set in designing tools was often based on particular warfighting modes, involving massive nuclear exchanges or tactical encounters.

Modern tools need to emphasize the effects of single releases of weapons of mass destruction in a variety of urban or rural environments characterized by detailed meteorology and terrain. Documentation of the widely used codes and models is sparse, and so users often do not understand the assumptions underlying the calculations.

In the calculations for this study, the probability of finding, identifying, and characterizing the target; weapons system survival and arrival at the target; and weapon penetration and detonation are assumed to be 1.

How to Build a Nuclear Bomb: And Other Weapons of Mass Destruction How to Build a Nuclear Bomb: And Other Weapons of Mass Destruction
How to Build a Nuclear Bomb: And Other Weapons of Mass Destruction How to Build a Nuclear Bomb: And Other Weapons of Mass Destruction
How to Build a Nuclear Bomb: And Other Weapons of Mass Destruction How to Build a Nuclear Bomb: And Other Weapons of Mass Destruction
How to Build a Nuclear Bomb: And Other Weapons of Mass Destruction How to Build a Nuclear Bomb: And Other Weapons of Mass Destruction
How to Build a Nuclear Bomb: And Other Weapons of Mass Destruction How to Build a Nuclear Bomb: And Other Weapons of Mass Destruction

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