WMD - Nuclear Weapons

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WMD - Nuclear Weapons

  1. 1. Weapons of Mass Destruction Chemical, Biological, and Nuclear Weapons 1
  2. 2. WMD: General Characteristics • Enormous potential lethality • Small size • Modest cost • Relative lack of discrimination • Can be deployed on ballistic missiles • Potential for proliferation • Deterrence • Equalizers 2
  3. 3. Nuclear Weapons: Fission  Atomic bombs or A-bombs  One type of atom is split (fissioned) into new types with less total mass  Lost mass is transformed into energy; E=mc2  Fissionable material=U-235 or plutonium  Crude and low yield  Less sophisticated  Within the capacity of many states  1-200 kiloton 3
  4. 4. Nuclear Weapons: Fusion  Thermonuclear, hydrogen bombs, or H-bombs  Two small atoms (variants of hydrogen) fuse together into a larger atom  energy  Extremely expensive and technologically demanding  1-20 megatons  Too powerful and largely irrelevant 4
  5. 5. Nuclear Weapons: Effects • 50% Blast Shock wave radiating outward Produces sudden changes in air pressure and high winds Most damage • 35% Thermal radiation Heat wave traveling at ~ speed of light Flash blindness Skin burns when closer to explosion Fires • 15% Nuclear radiation • Fallout 5
  6. 6. New York City Example • Assumptions: ▫ 150 kiloton bomb is detonated in Manhattan ▫ No warning ▫ Clear weather ▫ Daytime – population density =125K/sm ▫ Shock wave spreads uniformly 6
  7. 7. NYC: 1 Second After Detonation 7
  8. 8. NYC: 4 Seconds After Detonation 8
  9. 9. NYC: 6 Seconds After Detonation 9
  10. 10. NYC: 10 Seconds After Detonation 10
  11. 11. NYC: 16 Seconds After Detonation 11
  12. 12. NYC: Long-Term Fallout Pattern 12
  13. 13. NYC: Summary • Manhattan is an island  help from the outside is slow in coming • Most of Manhattan is without utilities for weeks • Tunnels and bridges are gone  rescue and recovery is difficult • 900,000 people injured  beyond the ability of the medical system to respond • 800,000 killed 13
  14. 14. Nuclear-Armed States Country Active Warheads Total Warheads United Sates (1945) 2626 9400 Russia (1949) 4650 12000 United Kingdom (1952) <160 185 France (1960) ~300 300 China (1964) ~180 240 India (1974) - 60-80 Pakistan (1998) - 70-90 North Korea (2006) - <10 Israel (19??) - 80 14
  15. 15. Nuclear Deterrence • In deterrence, the effort is merely to dissuade another state, through the threat of force, from doing something it has not yet undertaken; it is not actually required to change a course of action. • Extended deterrence - threats designed to protect allies. 15
  16. 16. Minimum / Finite Deterrence • Requires only a small # of weapons that can be used against an adversary • Nukes are used to threaten attack against an adversary, typically against population centers • Cannot realistically choose to engage in actual warfighting against another nuclear power • Not enough weapons to destroy or substantially weaken enemy’s warfighting capabilities • Based on a threat of punishment should another country undertake aggression 16
  17. 17. Problems with Minimum/Finite Deterrence • Breakdown of deterrence could maximize human costs of nuclear war • Decision makers under pressure may fail to evaluate the situation / launch on warning • Offensive forces must survive an attack first 17
  18. 18. Second-Strike Capability • A country's assured ability to respond to a nuclear attack with powerful nuclear retaliation against the attacker. • Beyond numbers, measures that increase survivability include: ▫ Hardening (fortifying or shielding warheads) ▫ Mobility (aircraft, submarines) ▫ Dispersion (spreading bases and launchers) ▫ Diversification (aircraft, land-based missiles, submarine- launched missiles) ▫ Strategic defense (antiaircraft and antimissile defense) 18
  19. 19. Mutually Assured Destruction • Full-scale use of nuclear weapons by one of two sides would result in the mutual destruction of both the attacker and the attacked. • For the mutual destruction to be assured both sides ought to poses second strike nuclear capability, which would guarantee that neither adversary could survive an all-out-war. • Fear of retaliation is sufficient to prevent an attack • Deterrence depends of mutual vulnerability 19
  20. 20. Problems with MAD 1. No prevention of the second strike by the first strike 2. No false positives 3. No camouflage-launching 4. No means of delivery that do not have characteristic of long range missile delivery (detectable before detonation) 5. Perfect rationality (rogue states/commanders) 6. Perfect attribution 7. No anti-missile technology / shelters 20

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