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Posted: 10/12/2004 4:00:08 AM EST
This is a "what if" scenario, but one that I think is possible.

Let's suppose that a certain group of unwashed, camel molesting morons manages to acquire a nuclear weapon. Not a suitcase nuke mind you, but a full sized one. They also come by the services of a person capable of maintaining and detonating said nuke for a limited time. I'm not familiar with nuclear bombs, but I think that they require some manner of service to remain operative.

I propose that the device could be smuggled out of the country on a freighter, brought into Mexico from either coast, and driven into the U.S. either cross country, or by sending through several decoys at the border to allow it to pass. Once inside, it would be just a matter of driving it near whichever city they wished to target.

Could they do it?

More importantly...what would happen if they did?
Link Posted: 10/12/2004 5:02:48 AM EST
Is it "possible"? Certainly. Is it likely? No.

The logistics of getting a nuke into the country to a good target area are pretty formidible...not impossible, but difficult. A nuke gives off ionizing radiation that is detectable by the Nuclear Emergency Search Team www.fas.org/nuke/guide/usa/doctrine/doe/o5530_2.htm and those agencies working on concert with NEST to defeat those who would commit the ultimate act of terrorism.

That said...yes it could be done. That is why the Iranians and the North Koreans must be stopped. That is why we had to attack Saddam.

What would be the consequences? How many dead? How much property damage? That would be totally dependent upon the yield of the device, the location of the detonation, the time of day, weather conditions, etc.

The DoD and the Energy Dept. have conducted dozens of tests to ascertain the effects of various types and yields of bombs set off in the atmosphere at many different altitudes, on the surface of the land, sea and underground. Yield of the bomb has a great deal to do with overall effectiveness. For example, a nuclear device used as an airburst is designed to detonate at an optimal altitude, dependent upon the yeild of the weapon...and the target set for which it is intended. A relativey small device might have a much greater effect than a much larger one if the smaller one is set to detonate at its optimum altitude and the larger one is not. This is due to the phenomenon known as the "precursor" shock wave generated by the fireball detonation touching the surface of the earth then the reflected wave riding in phase with the sperical first wave. The effects are amazing.

Bottom line, even a small tactical nuke, say...maybe 10kts yield, would destroy much of a major metro area and kill many tens of thousands of persons.

The key then is to remove the threat before it comes here.

For a pretty accurate depiction of one such scenario, Iwould recommend Tom Clancy's "The Sum of All Fears".

Here's another NEST description: www.janes.com/defence/news/jcbw/jcbw020827_1_n.shtml
Link Posted: 10/12/2004 8:11:58 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/12/2004 8:30:38 AM EST by FreeAmerican]
Trust me, I would be more worried about them getting to the spent fuel pools at power plants and making one hell of a dirty bomb. Just drain the pool and sit back and wait. And since the tree huggers put a halt on Yucca Mountain, there is a lot of fuel around to make a mess with.

Happy dreams folks.
Link Posted: 10/12/2004 8:20:10 AM EST

Originally Posted By FreeAmerican:
Just drain the pool and sit back and wait.



sit back and wait for what? draining the spent fuel pool would do nothing...
Link Posted: 10/12/2004 8:25:21 AM EST
without anything to stop the reaction (boron I think) and absorb the radiation it would start to get a little warm, don't you think.
Link Posted: 10/12/2004 8:25:29 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/12/2004 8:26:53 AM EST by BB]

Originally Posted By QuantumPion:

Originally Posted By FreeAmerican:
Just drain the pool and sit back and wait.



sit back and wait for what? draining the spent fuel pool would do nothing...



Maybe freeamerican is thinking that draining fuel pools would cause a "China Syndrome" but I thought once a rod was spent it couldn't generate heat anymore?
Link Posted: 10/12/2004 8:27:06 AM EST
You won't last long if you get near those spent fuel rods, especially if it just came out of a reactor recently. Them farkers are really HOT, you would need special equipment to work with the shit as walking around some of the spent fuel will likely be a lethal dose if you hang around longer than a few minutes.
Link Posted: 10/12/2004 8:28:44 AM EST
Ahhh.....


The spent fuel pool is a 45-feet deep concrete pit that stores highly radioactive fuel assemblies after their removal from the reactor core. Water storage is required because spent fuel assemblies continue to emit considerable amounts of both heat and radiation for many years. The fuel pool water is continuously cooled to remove the heat produced by the spent fuel assemblies. Without cooling, the fuel pool water will heat up and boil. If the water boils or drains away, the spent fuel assemblies will overheat and either melt or catch on fire. NRC studies have estimated that many thousands of people living within 50 miles could die from the radiation released when spent fuel assemblies melt or catch on fire.
Link Posted: 10/12/2004 8:36:04 AM EST
The fuel is still "hot", just not what is needed for the core. Since the Yucca thing fell through (so far), there is a lot of fuel sitting in what was supposed to be temp storage. Imagine if one got to the point where it caught fire. How do you like your fish, two heads or three eyes.

Where I work, I know the security has stepped up, but the big scare was flying a plane into one.

That is enough to scare me.
Link Posted: 10/12/2004 8:57:17 AM EST
Here is pretty picture of the blue glow..

Cerenkov radiation

http://ww2.mne.ksu.edu/reactorII/Gallery.shtml
Link Posted: 10/12/2004 9:04:01 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/12/2004 9:05:01 AM EST by Johnny_Reno]
You just summed up this book.


Link Posted: 10/12/2004 5:39:50 PM EST
THIS IS GOOD, AND TRUE. MY FATHER IS...INVOLVED WITH HOMELAND SECURITY. FOR THE SUPERBOWL IN NEW ORLEANS A FEW YEARS AGO EVERY ONE WAS THERE....AL THE BIS INITIALS FROM BIG BROTHER. SO THERE ARE ALL DOING THERE THING AND ALL THE SUDDEN A SATILITEPICKS UP SIGNS OF RADIATION COMING DOWN THE INTERSTATE FROM THE WEST. THERE'S A BIG SCRAMBLE OF ALL PARTIES REQUIRED AND THEY PULL OVER AN RV. IT'S SOME OLD MAN AND HIS WIFE STARTING ON VACATION AFTER HIS RADIATION TREATMENT AT MD ANDERSON IN HOUSTON. THAT'S FUCKIN AWSOME...IT CAN'T BE TO EASY TO GET A NUKE IN.
ALSO THEYE HAD LARGE PVC PIPE OVER ALL ENTRANCES SO THAT IS DIRTY BOMB ATTACK HAPPENED THEY WOULD TURN ON MASSIVE AMOUNTS OF WATER TO ATTEMPT TO RINSE OFF THE FLEEING MASSES.
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