Talk:Nuclear war

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Picture under "Immediate Effects" section[edit]

That is a picture of the Sedan crater, which is was created by Test Shot Sedan as part of the Plowshare Program. Considering that the Plowshare Program was an attempt at using nuclear explosives for peaceful purposes (canal building, harbor excavation, natural gas prospecting, etc), is it really appropriate to show it as a result of nuclear war? Furthermore, a real nuclear detonation during an actual attack wouldn't result in a crater that big, since the Sedan device was intentionally buried deep underground in a specific attempt to make the biggest crater possible.


India most certainly had Pakistan as one of its motivations for its test. See below:

After the mid-1980s, hawkish pressure mounted on New Delhi to go overtly nuclear in response to Pakistan’s reported nuclear preparations. India rejected seven proposals by Pakistan for nuclear restraint and regional disarmament, saying it would only discuss nuclear disarmament in “global, multilateral” fora, and in a “non-discriminatory” frame work.

India’s sole strategy of containing an alleged “Pakistani threat” was to entreat the U.S. to exert pressure on Pakistan, through the Pressler Amendment, for instance. Meanwhile, its own stockpiling of high-grade plutonium continued, with an estimated 300 to 450 kg accumulated by the mid-1990s enough for 60 to 90 fission bombs.--Bobbing up 13:44, 13 December 2007 (EST)

However, India has been a nuclear power since the 1970s. (Their first test was in 1974, though it did not test again until the 1990s.) Researcher 15:15, 13 December 2007 (EST)
OK. Soooo- "First china and later Pakistan"?--Bobbing up 15:37, 13 December 2007 (EST)
More or less. They were developed during times of really heightened tensions with China (including the short Sino-Indian war of 1962). Then, later, they began new tests as a way of countering Pakistan. So, yeah. Researcher 15:45, 13 December 2007 (EST)
OK, we agree in the article now?--Bobbing up 17:03, 13 December 2007 (EST)
It looks mahvelous. Researcher 17:38, 13 December 2007 (EST)

A seldom asked question[edit]

I've had this rattling around in my mind, but having this page pop up in recent changes gives me the chance to ask someone the question... MAD is based on the idea that even a second strike with nuclear arms would be so devastating as to be essentially unsurvivable for any meaningful application of the term survival. However, if you were in charge of a nuclear deterrent and your opponent had just launched a salvo at you which you were pretty sure was going to be the end of you, would you actually order an answering salvo? It seems to me like ultimate in petulance to have your bluff called and respond by kicking the table over so nobody could ever play again. I guess this is why no one has ever proposed to put me in charge of the UK's nuclear arms. Would you order the strike? --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 16:39, 1 May 2009 (UTC)

certainly, Mad doesnt work if you dont, its your DUTY and a moral obligation to make your enemies radioactive slag. Hamster 17:20, 1 May 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, it's weird. First off, an "effective" first strike would probably leave the planet to the insects and bacteria. Second, for MAD to work, sort of, both sides must adopt a believable posture that they would instantly retaliate with massive force upon evidence of an enemy attack. Which creates the danger that a small accidental attack (say, a few dozen missiles) would result in a disastrously huge retaliation, which would have the same effect as the aforementioned "effective" first strike. ħumanUser talk:Human 20:40, 1 May 2009 (UTC)
Have you ever seen Dr. Strangelove? They weren't joking when they said that it was essential for the "Doomsday Device" to be completely automated for this reason. If there is ANY reason to believe someone won't go through with the threat, it loses credibility and it becomes much easier to push to the brink. That was a major issue in the late 50s (when the Dulles was constantly threatening nuclear war for minor trifles) and the early 60s (when Kennedy and MacNamara were looking for alternatives).
Though, there was a recent BBC report called "The Human Button" (which I recommend looking up) that talked about what it was like to be in UK's nuclear subs. As those are the only nuclear weapons currently in Britain's possession, it would be up to the nuclear subs to attack Russia in a case where deterrence failed. And, each prime minister writes out by hand his or her exact orders for what to do if the sub commander cannot contact London (assuming that London has been utterly destroyed). After each prime minister leaves office, the letters are all destroyed, but some have said "I definitely signed to do it" and some have said "No way." Researcher 11:27, 2 May 2009 (UTC)
Yes, that was in the paper when Gordon Brown took over. The only one I remember ordering retaliation was Callaghan. It also explained why John Major's first public act as PM was to go off and have a weekend in the country - to get over the shock of having to do this. Totnesmartin 11:42, 2 May 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for the tip, I found an MP3 of the show it was really interesting. I think if I were in the position, I probably wouldn't try and second guess the strategic situation from years distant, I guess I'd order the sub captains to endeavour to put themselves under Australian command if possible, or if not then to scuttle their boats and try and save their crews as best as possible. Is that too much of cop out? What wasn't addressed is if prime ministers are actually allowed to change their orders during their term in office, and if so have any of them taken advantage of the opportunity. It'd be interesting to know. Speaking from a security standpoint, it sounds like a very bad idea to allow it since it potentially allows a side channel information leakage about the contents of the new orders. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 13:06, 2 May 2009 (UTC)
Pedantic note, the UK nukes aren't to retaliate against Russia, they're for the next time France attacks! ħumanUser talk:Human 23:16, 2 May 2009 (UTC)
I'm probably going to get shouted at for suggesting this, but nuclear weapons aren't quite as devastating as they are sometimes made out to be. However as both their proponents and their critics have a desire to paint them as being devastating as possible, it is a point which is seldom made. Anyway, during the sixties (and for obvious reasons) reading up on nuclear was theories used to be a hobby of mine. Take the question of "overkill". We are sometimes told that nuclear weapons have the capacity to kill the entire human race x times over. The way this calculation is made is like this. One does a bit of mental hand waving to establish the amount of energy requited to kill a human being. Then one calculates the amount of energy in your bomb. Divide one into the other and you have the number of people your bomb could theoretically kill. Multiply that by your arsenal and you've got your overkill figure.
Now, assuming that the people being attacked were prepared to stand shoulder to shoulder in large circular groups directly below the blast area (or possibly find some way to arrange themselves into spheres) then the calculation could possibly be correct. But it ain't so.
Indeed, I seem to recall reading that if one were to calculate the "overkill" capacity of all the munitions used in the second world war based on every bullet and bomb expressing its maximum lethality, then you'd have little problem getting "overkill" values for that as well.
That's not to say that a nuclear war wouldn't be an unmitigated tragedy for the planet, because it would. Only that we need to keep things in perspective.--Bobbing up 18:17, 3 May 2009 (UTC)--Bobbing up 18:17, 3 May 2009 (UTC)
Two other factors (at least) play into the "doomsday" scenarios, one "supporting" Bob's thesis and one weakening it. The supporting factor, and it's a big one, is distribution. Even if the dreaded "use all US and Soviet nukes at once" war happened, most major cities would suffer far more destructive power than necessary to kill everyone in them. It would probably only take, say, five 100kt-1mt (Hiroshima and Nagasaki were, IIRC, about 15 and 20 kt) airbursts to utterly destroy most urban areas, but it's highly unlikely that the US and Soviet targeters would aim so few at major targets. The other side of this particular coin is that many (most?) parts of the world are too sparsely populated (or unarmed?) to be worth wasting such firepower on.
However, nuclear weapons destructive (in terms of death toll) capacity is obviously not limited to the energy released - there is the problem of radioactive fallout, which might readily be dispersed to every part of the planet. How long that takes versus the various half-lives of the isotopes would be a way to measure how dangerous an all-out war would be to people in a remote location. And, oh yeah, the whole "nuclear winter" thing would have to be factored in. ħumanUser talk:Human 21:15, 3 May 2009 (UTC)

Not to mention social and political collapse...ever see Threads? or The War Game?Amin7b5 21:22, 3 May 2009 (UTC)

Oh, absolutely. Bombing ourselves back to the stone age would be relatively easy. ħumanUser talk:Human 21:44, 3 May 2009 (UTC)
"Superb! However, I doubt that the bombs could really make the entire earth inhabitable[sic]. It certainly wouldn't be pleasant!" - Aschlafly [1] ħumanUser talk:Human 21:55, 3 May 2009 (UTC)
factor in too that some of the retaliation scenarios target major population support (like drinkable water) and crop lands rather than military targets. The whole concept may be "Yes I am dead, but have fun trying to eat your glow in the dark fruit , and oh, your wife and kids are krispie , bye now " Hamster 23:05, 3 May 2009 (UTC)

Is it really that bad?[edit]

How bad would a nuclear war be? I remember reading once that something like 90% of the world would survive a nuclear war. If you lived in Washington DC you would obviously be fucked, but I think if you live something like 20 miles downwind of the epicentre of a nuclear blast you long-term survival chances are very good, to the point were you would expect to live a normal life. Keep in mind they would bomb obvious military targets first and not civilian centres. - π 04:09, 24 September 2009 (UTC)

Keep in mind what sort of infrastructure you need to get money, food, medical care, medicines, water, electricity, heat, fuel, police, a fire department, etc. In your scenario, sure, lots of people may survive the bombings, but even discounting the effects of fallout and nuclear winter, it'd be a pretty short ride after that...RaoulDuke 04:13, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, every major city is a target. Every power plant is a target. Every airport is a target. And as far as "living upwind" ("downwind" is not where you want to be!), look in to the cancer stats due to Chernobyl. We all live downwind, in the end. Keep in mind, PiNocchio, some of us grew up before the USSR collapsed, and MAD was not just a solution, but a potential reality. At any given moment, most of the northern hemisphere was within 8 hours of ICBM-wrought destruction. The only place that would survive, as usual, would be Afghanistan. ħumanUser talk:Human 04:19, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
(EC) A) most of these organisations have a clear hierarchy of command and will keep functioning, b) most of them have planned for this situation (albeit less so these days), c) most of the world survives without the infrastructure you have in the west. As far as I can tell you would push the world back maybe 70 - 80 years. Is radiation that bad, people do live in Hiroshima today? - π 04:21, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
@ Human, I guess I am kind of more relaxed on the idea because the only people that can hit were I live is the US and fortunately they are likely to be on our side. - π 04:28, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, radiation, especially short term high-level fallout, is really bad. As I said, look into Chernobyl, and the dairy products thrown away in Europe afterwards. Granted, the antipodes might stand a chance of being livable, since few weapons would be chucked their way. As far as your point (A), all they really had was bomb shelters for the ruling elite and the desperate hope that MAD would prevent their pathetic civil defense plans from ever needing use. See "duck and cover". As far as survival, sure, obviously many places survive without roads, clean water, and electricity on demand. Throw in a little fallout (remember, it falls everywhere) and now they don't even have dirty water. You can't boil or bleach out the short-lived heavy isotopes. You don't even know they are there... ħumanUser talk:Human 04:40, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
Also also, "Keep in mind they would bomb obvious military targets first and not civilian centres" is not how this sort of war is planned. Due to retaliatory strikes, an attacker seeks to unleash all their armory at once. The only real "alternative" to this was the idea of "tactical" nuclear war, where the US and USSR would render Europe uninhabitable without actually attacking each others' "homelands". Of course, part of the USSR is in Europe... ħumanUser talk:Human 04:53, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
I remember reading a book in the 70's (I think) which addressed this question. I'm trying to remember the name. The point they made was that nuclear war was a little oversold both by those who wanted bombs and by those who wanted to get rid of them. Those in the military who wanted them had every reason to talk up the destructive power of nuclear weapons - at the same time those in the anti-nuclear movement also had a good readon to talk up the power and danger of nuclear weapons.
An example they gave was "overkill". This being the commonly used statistic that "We have enough nuclear weapons to kill the entire population of the world x times." Overkill was (and I assume is) calculated by ..... OMG ... AGGGGGG... Senility strikes! I made almost exactly the same post in May. (At least I'm consistent.)--BobNot Jim 06:24, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
That statistic is probably based on as all conveniently standing in a big group together. - π 06:27, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
Oh see were you said that. @Human way above, even the really big bombs don't have a blast radius much larger than 10 miles, most really large cities are bigger than that. Actually ironically enough it is the big ones you want to be hit by as hydrogen bombs produce very little heavy isotope fallout. - π 06:37, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
Well, um, hydrogen bombs are ignited by fission bombs. Did you know that? Hey, can I ask you a personal question, because I'm thinking of writing a short "overview of nuclear warfare" here, decade by decade. Roughly how old are you? Because it really matters. By the way, a "blast radius" of ten miles will vaporize most major cities, and destroy/kill everything within fifty miles of ground zero. ħumanUser talk:Human 06:44, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
Yes I knew that, that is why I said very little rather than no heavy isotope radiation. - π 01:10, 25 September 2009 (UTC)
I think the "blast radius" and the fireball are two different things. If I remember correctly the "blast radius" is just , well, the blast - the pressure wave.--BobNot Jim 07:30, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
Ah, yeah, the part where all it does is knock everything standing down. Flatten it. Then it catches on fire as the fireball proceeds. Have you guys even seen the old moving pictures of this stuff? ħumanUser talk:Human 08:19, 24 September 2009 (UTC)

BTW, I started to waste some of your and my time at Essay:History of nuclear war in case anyone cares. ħumanUser talk:Human 08:28, 24 September 2009 (UTC)

My point is just that the stuff inside the blast radius is not "vaporised" by the explosion as you seemed to suggest above. And if the blast radius is ten miles then that is the blast radius - not fifty miles.--BobNot Jim 08:29, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
Sorry, no, you're right. The "blast radius" is simply what is flattened (wait, didn't I say that already?). Then there's the fires set by the enormous heat... btw, a ten mile radius is pretty insane compared to most major cities, except perhaps LA. Back to your point and my comment - "blast radius" as quoted, will vaporize the heart of most major cities, especially considering that most would be targetted by dozens of weapons. OK, may not "vaporize" technically, just flatten and scorch and utterly destroy. And I guess my 50-mile figure was based on the multiple targetting and its aftermath. ħumanUser talk:Human 09:03, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
The ten miles is the point were your chances of survival are better than 50%. Even nine miles in your chance of survival is around 40%. - π 01:16, 25 September 2009 (UTC)

(undent)Err... you do not want to survive all out nuclear war. If the blast don't get you then the fall out will and, if that misses then welcome to wp:nuclear_winter. A 2007 report suggests average world temperatures dropping by 7-8 degrees. Bob Soles 09:44, 24 September 2009 (UTC)

You probably wouldn't. And, depending on the type of weapons, the size of the exchange and whether they are used as airbursts or groundbursts (a counter-force or counter-city strike) it is highly likely that nuclear winter would a much bigger problem than radiation. But you don't really want either of them.--BobNot Jim 10:14, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
Where does all this nuclear winter stuff come from? We have been setting the things of for years and never have seen a glimpse of this effect. Half the deserts in the world have been blown up at one point or another and you can go on tours there to see them. - π 01:16, 25 September 2009 (UTC)
A lot of the testing was done underground. A lot of the desert testing was done with much smaller bombs. And typically with one bomb at a time, not hundreds or thousands all at once. RaoulDuke 01:20, 25 September 2009 (UTC)
I don't think either nuclear winter or the radiation would matter quite so much as that almost none of us know how to survive without all the modern infrastructure we have. Pretty much all the seed farmers use grow sterile plants, so after one growing season all that would be whatever grows wild around your way. Plus, I haven't got the slightest clue what is and what isn't edible from that selection. I don't have a clue how to trap animals and only the vaguest notion of how to gut them if I did manage to catch them. Even if I were living in a remote cavern in some large mountain range, with my own deep bore well I'd still be dead within a year. I think if I did survive, my first plan of action would be to seek out Ray Mears and then cling to him like a limpet no matter what. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 10:24, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
They sell seed kits on WND just for the scenario you described. See survivalist aren't that crazy. - π 01:16, 25 September 2009 (UTC)

Convenient edit[edit]

To be perfectly honest, I'd much prefer to be part of the 10% that die off immediately. (I've no interest in trying to wrestle my way through a post apocolyptic society, somehow I don't think a sarcy cunt would be very popular when people are trying to build hospitals with mud bricks all over again) Lunacy 10:25, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
Don't worry. If Fallout 3 has taught me anything, it's that your kind will be turned in to immortal ghouls. You'll probably be living in a sewer pumping station trying to manufacture jet. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 10:29, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
All I need is a set of power armour and a laser rifle and I'll be all right, I have spent hours training for this. - π 01:23, 25 September 2009 (UTC)
There is also the question of what level of nuclear war. The assumption is often made the world's entire stockpile of nuclear weapons will go off in a nuclear conflagration. But that does not have to be the case. What would the the impact of a nuclear war which only used a limited number of battlefield nuclear weapons? What would the impact be of a nuclear war between India and Pakistan? Indeed, if we stretch the definition of "nuclear war" then the second world war was one, as nuclear weapons were used.--BobNot Jim 10:44, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
I think it's widely accepted that WWII was "nuclear" in the technical sense, although in the common use of the term, it does mean the whole pile of shit hitting the whole of the fan. I assume that for more localised wars, the damage would just scale down relative to their size. A few tactical weapons thrown off on an other-wise conventional battlefield would probably not be noticed worldwide. The scale of war you're thinking of may be on the scale of all the bombs that have been tested the world over, but in a much shorter space of time. Scarlet A.pngd hominem 11:20, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
WWII was technically a nuclear war, but only just. For one thing, the A bomb wasn't nearly as sophisticated a weapon as the modern inter continental missile. They had to drop it off from a plane for Christs sake! Hiroshima and Nagosaki was merely Truman wanting 'to see' what would happen. I'm not even convinced the administration thought that it would force Japan out of the war, there had been some back room discussions for months which would have seen Japan make a negotiated surrender (They were loosing a slow war, at great losses to men and industry) Either way, I always find it a little silly that people think the A bomb ended the greatest war the world has ever seen. Japan were loosing, simple as.
A modern Nuclear war would be catostrophic, even if it were limited to a Pakistani/Indian scenario. Both countries would be completely obliberated, millions of hectares of productive farmland would be put beyond use, the refugee problem would make every conflict zone in the past seem childish, Radiation and birth deformities would be in the genetic pool for centuries, and a shit load of people would die. Not to mention the destruction of all major cities in the subcontinent.
It is highly unlikely that if a Nuclear war broke out between these two powers that others wouldn't get drawn in. It might very likely evolve into a conflict between east and west (India being associated with the 'free' west). Catastrophe. End of days scenario. Lunacy 15:48, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
Regarding a Pakistan/India war, how many weapons do each have? It would take a lot to obliterate India. But, we might be safe in assuming that were such a war to turn nuclear, they'd both use everything they have stockpiled.
Regarding the assumption that a "nuclear war" would involve all of the weapons available, it's not that bad of an assumption - how often in history has there been a war where one or both sides "held back" any force they could bring to bear? Also, in the only nuclear war that has ever happened, all of man's nuclear weapons were used (I know, that's a bit of a joke, bit still).
Regarding homosexuality and nuclear war, hi Ken. ħumanUser talk:Human 23:41, 24 September 2009 (UTC)

India Pakistan[edit]

Just some data for fun.

Though India has not made any official statements about the size of its nuclear arsenal, estimates suggest that India has between 40 and 95 nuclear weapons,[2][3] consistent with estimates that it has produced enough weapons-grade plutonium for up to 1000 nuclear weapons.

In 2003, the U.S. Navy Center for Contemporary Conflict estimated that Pakistan possessed between 35 and 95 nuclear warheads, with a median of 60.[38]

That could be messy. ħumanUser talk:Human 23:48, 24 September 2009 (UTC)

Realistically I cannot envisionage a nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan as independent nations. The danger would lie in extremists from either nation having access to such weapons. Ace McWickedCurrently Lurking..... 23:55, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
I'm trying to find a source for the number of hydrogen bombs they both have. And, if so, how many of them are over one megaton. Everything I find seems to suggest they are pretty small but I can't seem to find anything really up to date.--BobNot Jim 10:53, 25 September 2009 (UTC)
At any rate, never mind the actual payloads they possess, there is enough diplomacy between the two nations and enough international relation and similar interests to avoid the two engaging in a war. The danger comes if one (more likely Pakistan at this juncture) is overtaken by a isolationist and expansionist government. Ace McWickedCurrently Lurking..... 11:05, 25 September 2009 (UTC)
As I understand it, all the weapons both powers have are fairly low yield. Half a megaton or less, none of the 10-25 megaton multi-stage monsters that characterised the cold war standoff. Plus, they're all of reasonably modern design, which means they're actually quite clean. Sure, they could each lay waste to the other's cities if they so wished, but I'm not sure the impact on the rest of the hemisphere would be, or even if there'd be much in the way of impact at all north of the Himalayas. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 11:18, 25 September 2009 (UTC)
But its besides the point, the damage they could actually do to each other. The precedent it would set is the real concern. Its OK because its low yeild? It would still be a nuclear exchange. Ace McWickedCurrently Lurking..... 11:30, 25 September 2009 (UTC)
(EC)Mmmm.. But the cleanliness depends on how they are used. If it's a city-destroying airburst then I'd imagine that there wouldn't be very much radiation left over from small modern weapons. But if they were to go counterforce with groundbursts then it's a different story no matter how modern they are. But there again if they are under half a megaton ...--BobNot Jim 11:33, 25 September 2009 (UTC)
I would quite like to start a debate on there has been much back'n'forth about this issue of nuclear weapons at the UN and personally I think we need them. Ace McWickedCurrently Lurking..... 11:37, 25 September 2009 (UTC)
What do you think a good debate question should be? Do nuclear weapons make the world safe or unsafe? Should all nuclear weapons be destroyed? Should no new state be allowed to enter the nuclear club?--BobNot Jim 11:43, 25 September 2009 (UTC)
Nuclear weapons are for sure an evil, in the wrong hands, But imagine a world with no nukes, no capacity to make nukes, and then we face a threat where we need one. Silly as it sounds but an astroid is approaching for example? An alien invasion? I know, I know - it sounds fucking stupid, really fucking stupid, but there are many situations, less outlandish, that may require some form of firepower. Not even firepower, a technology. That if curbed now we cannot fully explore what good we can make from it. This is the fundamental flaw in anti-nulcear zeal. We are missing a golden oppertunity to advance our technology because of public hysteria over anything nuclear. Ace McWickedCurrently Lurking..... 11:49, 25 September 2009 (UTC)
Well worthy of a debate page then. As I asked above: What should the title of the debate be?--BobNot Jim 11:57, 25 September 2009 (UTC)
Debate:Should the world be nuclear free? Ace McWickedCurrently Lurking..... 12:00, 25 September 2009 (UTC)
It's your idea, but such a question would include both nuclear energy and nuclear weapons. But that might be your objective. If so, go for it.--BobNot Jim 12:04, 25 September 2009 (UTC)
I think that's what Bruce Schneier calls a movie plot threat. In reality, if a planet killer type asteroid were coming right for us, we'd have somewhere between a decade and 40 years to plan our response. Even a decade is enough time to build reactors, enrichment plants and a delivery mechanism from scratch. It wouldn't even have to be a crash project, there'd be more than enough time to do proper testing first, even. These days, it isn't terribly likely any object of size is going to sneak in to the solar system unnoticed, and more or less impossible that it's going to get inside the orbit of Jupiter before we spot it, at which point it becomes possible that we're fucked. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 12:10, 25 September 2009 (UTC)

Doomsday scenarios[edit]

I don't know where I was initially going with this, but my question was mostly are we taking the most rational line with our article? If 90% of the world initially survives and a further 50%+ died in the aftermath, the human race will still go on. We might have to boot strap ourselves back out of the stone age, but we have done that before. It would undoubtedly be shit, but I still think highly enough of what we have achieved up to this point to believe the human race could endure even this. - π 12:11, 25 September 2009 (UTC)

My thing is, how many modern men can survive in stone age conditions? I know I'd be fucked, indeed in the past I have been fucked. And let me tell you, a week and half without food is an experience I don't care to repeat. We're hopelessly dependant on modern infrastructure. The only reason I'm not a survivalist type myself is because I don't see that there's any realistic chance of the infrastructure on which I depend going away in my lifetime. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 12:17, 25 September 2009 (UTC)
I invite you to comment Ace McWickedCurrently Lurking..... 12:21, 25 September 2009 (UTC)

Israel question[edit]

Am I the only one who finds it interesting that even though Israel (supposedly) has nukes,they aren't very effective as a deterrent?Ryantherebel (talk) 00:36, 19 October 2010 (UTC)

Well, if Lebanon throws rocks over the border, the conventional IDF can handle it quite well. However, if Iran were to supply a full-on invasion via Syria... ħumanUser talk:Human 01:56, 19 October 2010 (UTC)
Still, I cant help but think the reason why there hasn't been a nuclear is because we as a species prefer to kill each the old fashion way. Gradual slaughter, rather then instant slaughter.Ryantherebel (talk) 03:42, 19 October 2010 (UTC)
Don't follow you there. ħumanUser talk:Human 05:22, 19 October 2010 (UTC)
How do you know they haven't deterred attacks on Israel? I'm not saying that have - just asking how you know they haven't.--BobSpring is sprung! 06:11, 19 October 2010 (UTC)
Invade Israel from Iran via Syria? Seriously? Broccoli (talk) 08:12, 19 October 2010 (UTC)
Well, the existence of Israeli nuclear weapons wasn't much of a secret any more by 1973, when the Yom Kippur war happened, so Ryan's got a point in that they didn't constitute a working deterrent against any challenge. However, that war was fought over the territories Israel captured in 1967 (the Sinai and the Golan Heights), not as an existential challenge to the state of Israel. Even a nuclear weapons state can't deter a challenge that is so limited as to not warrant a nuclear response - for a more clear-cut example, think of how the Argentinians could seize the Falklands without having to worry about Buenos Aires getting nuked in response. Röstigraben (talk) 10:04, 19 October 2010 (UTC)
My guess is that Israel has felt confident in their ability to defeat invasions with conventional force, and didn't want to worry about fallout. If Cuba were crazy enough to invade Florida, would the US actually nuke Havana? (talk) Meshakhad 02:53, 20 February 2015 (UTC)

Is not real question[edit]

Why do buggy whips no longer sell? ħumanUser talk:Human 05:22, 19 October 2010 (UTC)

France & UK[edit]

While I think it's a joke, the comments about the French & British Nuclear weapons being deterrents against one another read as quite serious. Can anybody justify these comments, or do you mind if I remove them? Dalek (talk) 13:32, 20 October 2010 (UTC)

Didn't they develop nukes because they could? UK & France were the only countries in Europe that had the power to pull it off, the rest were ex-nazis or neocommies. Sweden didn't have enough money. -- (talk) 14:20, 20 October 2010 (UTC)
I think "nuclear deterrent" is so broad it technically means to deter any other nuclear power. wp:France and weapons of mass destruction is an interesting read on the French history, including the secrecy behind it. Scarlet A.pngd hominem 16:09, 20 October 2010 (UTC)
+1 for removal. The UK was France's least worry during the 1950s and early 60s, when their nuclear program was hatched and developed. Two other explanations are much more plausible - the problem of extended deterrence, with the US commitment to a nuclear defense of Europe being somewhat questionable after the USSR had acquired long-range missiles that could've hit them in retaliation; and the desire to acquire nukes as a symbol of great power status at a time when France's actual global influence was rapidly fading. Röstigraben (talk) 17:59, 20 October 2010 (UTC)
Without reading it, the concept is amusing, since the French and whoever was occupying the British Isles have been enemies over most of Western history. Sure, they are friends right now, but these things are always in a flux ;) ħumanUser talk:Human 18:20, 20 October 2010 (UTC)
In reality France's and GB's nuclear weapons are national penis extensions. What possible use do they serve? The USSR could have carpet bombed the two counties with nuclear weapons if it had wanted to and received a handful in retaliation. OK - nobody wants to receive even a handful, but the US deemed it necessary to build thousands in order to deter the USSR.
Furthermore no other European country needs the things. If they are so vital to national security why doesn't everybody have some?
Finally - if they are not to deter the USSR then who are they to deter? Al-Qaeda? Hardly.
That leaves national penis extensions or to deter each other (or both).--BobSpring is sprung! 19:25, 20 October 2010 (UTC)
They were described as such by Churchill: 'the price we have to pay to sit at the top table' - also a reference to the UN Security Council, as no permanent member is a not a nuclear power. Status is very important to countries, since it acts as another diplomatic tool (and makes people feel better about being British). However, they do and did have significant value as a deterrent. Granted, with the wind in the right direction, the Soviets could have wiped out Britain with a sixth of their arsenal, but they would have suffered significant destruction in return - small nuclear forces don't have the luxury of counter-force strikes, so a British nuclear response would have been likely to directly target large Soviet cities. The USSR would 'win' an exchange with the UK or France, but the damage done in return would be heavy enough that it would be worth the trouble. This is, of course, the main principle of deterrence. Broccoli (talk) 20:13, 20 October 2010 (UTC)
British nukes wouldn't really make much of a difference though, because if the Soviets nuked us they would have found themselves on the receiving end of nukes with 'Love from the USA' printed on the side. TBH any country that nukes another nowadays had better be prepared to fight off the world. EddyP (talk) 20:22, 20 October 2010 (UTC)
Ah, but that would have caused Red retaliation against the USA, and so would have been suicidal on their part, though they may have done it anyway. The UK and France decided to be very sure, I think. They were also there in case the USSR invaded Europe to balance out the Soviet numerical superiority. The scenario was, I think, that the USA goes a bit isolationist and sort of leaves Europe on their own, then the Soviets invade, then we nuke them, then they nuke us, so they won't invade because they'll get nuked and they can't be sure we won't nuke them, even if to do so would result in our total destruction. Broccoli (talk) 20:37, 20 October 2010 (UTC)
So we had nukes just in case the US took a 'divided we stand, united we fall' approach? EddyP (talk) 20:42, 20 October 2010 (UTC)

To be realistic, we might want to look at time lines. If Fr. & UK were building their nukes before the ICBM era, the US response would have had to be delivered via bombers, correct? They might have been meaningful once upon a time. Also, back then, what size were the US and Soviet arsenals? ħumanUser talk:Human 20:28, 20 October 2010 (UTC)

This is true, but it would have been nigh-impossible for the Soviets to nuke Europe into oblivion using bombers. EddyP (talk) 20:42, 20 October 2010 (UTC)
Back in the fifties, the Western conventional forces in Europe were inferior to their Soviet counterparts, but they had a lopsided nuclear advantage - the USSR wasn't able to strike the continental US before they developed their first ICBMs. So the US settled on a doctrine called "massive retaliation", threatening an immediate nuclear response to any Soviet attack on Europe, conventional or otherwise. This changed when the Soviets acquired a capacity to hit the US themselves, because - as Broccoli said - they could've just invaded Europe and then offered the Americans the choice between withdrawal and mutual destruction. I think it was de Gaulle who said something along the lines of being skeptical about whether the US was willing to sacrifice Chicago in order to save Paris. That's the deterrence rationale for an independent capability - what speaks against it is the fact that Britain had already developed its own force well before extended deterrence became a problem (although they could've foreseen it, of course), and the French were already working on their own program as well. It's part of the explanation, but the "status" argument is valid as well, especially when considering the fact that there's not much use for the British and French weapons nowadays, yet they're still being upgraded at very high costs. Nations like South Africa and Brazil also had their own programs without being existentially threatened by anyone, and others in similar positions at least toyed with the idea. Röstigraben (talk) 21:03, 20 October 2010 (UTC)
I find the "deter the USSR" argument unconvincing. How come the USSR didn't invade Spain which lacked nuclear weapons?
But whether or not the USSR argument works it still doesn't explain why the UK and France have then now.--BobSpring is sprung! 05:57, 21 October 2010 (UTC)
1, France was in the way.
2, Splendid antique collection? ħumanUser talk:Human 06:07, 21 October 2010 (UTC)
Sunk cost fallacy? Ultimate security? Deterring Russia, Pakistan, India or China? Mostly for diplomatic purposes, I think, with a dash of paranoia. Broccoli (talk) 13:11, 21 October 2010 (UTC)


Interestingly, the idea of the "dirty bomb" wasn't really sourced from "terrorists", but was invented by Western (mostly US) governments in order to use the "threat" of potential terrorism to, well, terrorize their own citizens in order to pass draconian laws increasing government powers.[citation needed]

Okay, it's clear on closer reading that this is basically saying "as a dirty bomb hasn't gone off, it must be governments that 'invented' them as a form of scaremongering. Fair enough, but impossible to cite as it's falsifiable speculation. However, the first attempted piece of radiological terrorism was in 1995, pre-dating 9/11 and the PATRIOT Act by some years. Scarlet A.pngd hominem 10:49, 7 January 2011 (UTC)[edit]

-- (talk) 12:24, 22 April 2011 (UTC)

-- Thanks for adding a link to this site. It's 100% serious, and investigates the hypothesis that nuclear weapons are a hoax or fraud. It also investigates the hypothesis that nuclear power may be a fraud, too. We've done our best to divide the forum into categories which make looking round the site easy.

We have an introduction to the whole nuclear skeptics movement; links within the site, for easy browsing; a section on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, showing evidence for these events being faked; we look at the history of the Manhattan project, and why H Bombs were made up - and also the properties that had to be assigned to these things. There's also an off-topic section on general revisionism, some of which topics intersect with nuclear issues. — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs

Now that is definitely... something. EVDebs (talk) 15:39, 22 April 2011 (UTC)
Please say that's a parody of the tinfoil hat movement... Now it is interesting, of course. The talking point that nuclear weapons could be mimicked by conventional explosions is true. Indeed, the mushroom cloud is a feature of any sufficiently large explosion and after all, we describe nuke yields in their equivalent TNT yield: kilotons or megatons. That's thousands or millions of tons. The Tsar Bomba, for example, was 50 megatons (reduced from 100 to make it "cleaner" and to make sure the dropping plane would get out of the way) and was thus greater than all the ordinance deployed in the Second World War combined. That's all the weapons deployed in a 5-6 year world war. Even considering most nuclear weapons tests are considerably smaller than the Tsar Bomba we'd be talking about 100 years worth (PIDOOMA) of WW2 to get enough explosives. Similarly, if the Saturn V had exploded on the launch pad it would have been on a similar energy scale to the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs, but it'd be considerably difficult to cover up dropping a 3,000 ton Saturn V anywhere. And they're trying to say this explains observations of nuclear weapons? This is insane. ADK...I'll confuse your muffinface! 05:59, 23 April 2011 (UTC)
It's an awesome site and we must have snartikle!!! ħumanUser talk:Human 08:26, 23 April 2011 (UTC)

Apparently Snark is not allowed on this topic[edit]

Or Austin Powers. --Sethpeck (talk) 02:55, 15 November 2011 (UTC)

First Strike and defense hawks.[edit]

In the 1970's and 80's many defense hawks supported the MX missile program.

In 1979 they made a film called "First Strike" and showed it to President Carter. Moonshot926 (talk) 16:01, 24 March 2012 (UTC)

Yep, cause the soviets would totally be ale to wards off the intense diplomatic isolation doing that ever woulda produced. Didn't they use scenes from First Strike in The Day After?--il'Dictator Mikal 16:06, 24 March 2012 (UTC)


Four years after its release, significant scenes in the documentary were incorporated into the film The Day After to depict an American nuclear attack. The scenes used in The Day After were:

The SAC Airborne Command Center general boarding his command plane and receiving a morning briefing An ICBM crew arriving at a missile command center for a shift change B-52 bomber forces being placed on alert A scene in the SAC command plane where the general in command, along with an aide, opens the nuclear missile launch code safe A Minuteman Missile crew launching their nuclear missiles Beale Air Force Base radar stations detecting inbound Soviet missiles Command plane reports that over 300 Soviet ICBMs were inbound Moonshot926 (talk) 16:15, 24 March 2012 (UTC)

Immediate effects of nuclear war[edit]

The section "Immediate effects of nuclear war" begins with the statement:

  • "The first thing noticed after a nuclear detonation is called the "double flash" -- an intense blast of light that's obscured part of the way through by the debris generated by the explosion."

I assume that this is what I have always read to be the "prompt" radiation; the initial powerful flash of the explosion. (Which is followed by the blast and the heat pulse if I remember correctly.)

What I don't understand is the "that's obscured part of the way through by the debris generated by the explosion" bit. Nothing produced later by the explosion can obscure the initial flash as it's travelling at the speed of light. So what is this sentence trying to say?--Weirdstuff (talk) 09:35, 13 September 2012 (UTC)

Perhaps the flash of light lasts for a good while? It would take some time for air to cool down from glowing hot. -- (talk) 10:13, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
No it's the ignition flash. A few seconds at most. You are talking about the heat pulse which comes later.--Weirdstuff (talk) 10:35, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
I see that there is an edit but it's still crap. The prompt radiation isn't really a problem. The blast and the heat pulse are far more deadly. Sure, if you are close enough the prompt radiation can kill you - but you needn't worry about it because if you are that close then you have no chance of surviving the blast and heat pulse.
The only occasion when the initial radiation will be your main problem is if your get hit by a neutron bomb. In this case the bomb is built in such a way that the initial radiation really is the main factor and the blast and heat pulse are reduced.--Weirdstuff (talk) 18:54, 16 September 2012 (UTC)
Essentially there's a lot of really, really hot material in the blast cloud, so the flash doesn't dissipate instantly (at least over a scale of milliseconds). It's the same initial pulse of EM radiation (including, but not limited to, visible light), but there's a point in the explosion where debris in the blast front obscures the flash. However, as the blast cloud expands, the density blocking the flash dissipates, so what remains of the flash becomes visible again. As for the issue of initial radiation dose, don't forget that gamma rays are, basically, light; we just can't see them. So yes, there is indeed a significant dose of initial ionizing radiation that can do significant damage, mostly on a cellular level, but the closer you get to the blast, the less it matters what the wavelength of the energy is. EVDebs (talk) 19:04, 16 September 2012 (UTC)
You seem to be confused about the initial ignition and the blast and heat. The initial ignition event lasts a very short time. It's effects (gamma radiation, EMP pulse, visible light r whatever) spread out from the source at the speed of light. In fact it's a "useful" part of the process as, if you are far enough away that it's non-lethal, then it can give you a few seconds to try to get under cover before you are engulfed by hell.--Weirdstuff (talk) 19:13, 16 September 2012 (UTC)
I've edited it to make sense.--Weirdstuff (talk) 20:13, 8 January 2014 (UTC)

What do we do in this article that ToW doesn't already do, and better?[edit]

If anything? PowderSmokeAndLeather: Say something once, why say it again?.Moderator 18:22, 2 December 2013 (UTC)

The point is[edit]

...'the citizens' should support there being at least some nuclear weapons.

Somewhat simplified:

In an ordinary war - we the people are weapon-fodder and 'the rulers' can 'stay in their bunkers eating caviar.'

If there is a nuclear war - the White House, the Kremlin, the Houses of Parliament and all other seats of power will be targeted first - so the rulers are at equal or greater risk than 'cannon fodder in the sticks.'

And - if 'the ruling classes' make it to the nuclear bunkers come the bombs would they really want to rule the unpleasant world that would be there when the doors were opened? (talk) 21:27, 25 May 2015 (UTC)

Vasili Arkhipov[edit]

So, the whole B-59 Cuban Missile Crisis thing.... Soviet policy at the time required the captain and the political officer to agree to launch a nuke, both of whom agreed on B-59. It also just so happened that the Flotilla Commander was on-board, and being the same rank as the captain and political officer, also needed to agree. So it's not just that there was a 2-to-1 vote to launch a nuke, it's that that 1's presence and say in the matter was abnormal.

The current wording of the article is lovely and I love how simple and short it is in comparison to how insane that whole situation was. But I also feel it doesn't do the situation justice to how lucky we are that Vasili Arkhipov was on-board that particular sub at that particular moment. The current link to Wikipedia does hint at that. Should it be re-worded to better convey the oddity of even needing 3 votes? -- Onychoprion (talk) 18:01, 6 June 2017 (UTC)