Military Equipment
Nuclear Physics
Atomic Bombs

What are the benefits of an atomic bomb?

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2009-08-15 16:28:29

It could be argued that nuclear weapons provide a deterrent.

Many believe that they did. They represent an "or-else scenario"

wherein any aggression that is "over the top" will get a nuclear

response. Certainly other powers can taunt and even attack a

nuclear power on a limited basis, but no "full scale assault" will

probably be risked because of the threat of a nuclear response. It

is true that some non-nuclear powers have engaged nuclear powers in

broad acts of war knowing that the risk of a nuclear response is

minimal. But it is different with nuclear powers. They are more

careful acting in ways that the other could interpret as overly

aggressive. We could go on, but let's go to another aspect of the

use of a nuc. There was a program called Plowshare back when, and

it posed peaful use of nuclear weapons. A nuc could be used to dig

a big hole for, say, a water reservior. The Russians did it as a

test, and they set of several devices to try different

applications. The U.S. did a small shot (Sedan) to test the

application of a nuclear blast for mining. The radiation release,

however, is just too great, even with a good shot. Public objection

increased, and Congress, who holds the pursestrings, waved off

further testing. Under Plowshare, the use of nuclear weapons was

suggested as a "pressure reliever" for large, active geologic

faults, like the San Andreas in California. If building pressure

there could be relieved with a "big hammer" like a nuc, then

there'd be less of a chance that a big quake would occur. But it

was also pointed out that the nuc might actually trigger a

big quake, and no one wanted to pay the freight on something like

that. The liability was too great. Using a nuc to relieve pressure

along a fault is a good idea, because it is possible that we

could avert a really big quake. You know. The one that kills

dozens or even hundreds and does billions of dollars in

property damage. But the first shot is extremely risky. If we could

"get past" that one, we might be able to take action regularly to

squash those huge pressure buildups that, when released, cause the

big quakes. But we didn't "break through" with that idea. Maybe for

the best. Check the links below for more information.

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