The Effects of Nuclear War

Front Cover
Congress of the U.S., Office of Technology Assessment, 1979 - Nuclear warfare - 151 pages

What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - GlennBell - LibraryThing

Interesting analysis of the potential effects of a nuclear ware between the USSR and the USA. This scenario is out of date but the information is applicable to a nuclear strike or a terrorist attack ... Read full review

Common terms and phrases

Popular passages

Page 8 - There are enormous uncertainties and imponderable involved in any effort to assess the effects of a nuclear war, and an effort to look at the entire range of effects compounds them. Many of these uncertainties are obvious ones: if the course of a snowstorm cannot be predicted 1 day ahead in peacetime, one must certainly be cautious about predictions of the pattern of radioactive fallout on some unknown future day. Similar complexities exist for human institutions: there is great difficulty in predicting...
Page 55 - Under the most favorable conditions for the USSR, including a week or more to complete urban evacuation and then to protect the evacuated population, Soviet civil defenses could reduce casualties to the low tens of millions.
Page 148 - Neutron: A neutral particle (ie, with no electrical charge) of approximately unit mass, present in all atomic nuclei, except those of ordinary (light) hydrogen. Neutrons are required to initiate the fission process, and large numbers of neutrons are produced by both fission and fusion reactions in nuclear (or atomic) explosions.
Page 148 - Thermal Radiation: Electromagnetic radiation emitted (in two pulses from an air burst) from the fireball as a consequence of its very high temperature; it consists essentially of ultraviolet, visible, and infrared radiations. In the early stages (first pulse of an air burst), when the temperature of the fireball is extremely high, the ultraviolet radiation predominates; in the second pulse, the temperatures are lower and most of the thermal radiation lies in the visible...
Page 18 - ... sunlamp. Since the thermal radiation travels at the speed of light (actually a bit slower, since it is deflected by particles in the atmosphere), the flash of light and heat precedes the blast wave by several seconds, just as lightning is seen before the thunder is heard. Photo credit: US. Air Force Burn injuries from nuclear blasts Photo credit: US. Department of Defense The patient's skin is burned in a pattern corresponding to the dark portions of a kimono worn at the time of the explosion...
Page 148 - ... atomic nuclei. Nuclear Weapon (or Bomb): A general name given to any weapon in which the explosion results from the energy released by reactions involving atomic nuclei, either fission or fusion or both. Thus, the A- (or atomic) bomb and the H- (or hydrogen) bomb are both nuclear weapons.
Page 55 - The Soviets probably have sufficient blast-shelter space in hardened command posts for virtually all the leadership elements at all levels (about 110,000 people). Some of these shelters are harder than those available to the general population. All fixed leadership shelters which have been identified are vulnerable to direct attack, but we assume that alternative arrangements are available to protect at least the top leadership.
Page 148 - The transient pressure, usually expressed in pounds per square inch, exceeding the ambient pressure, manifested in the shock (or blast) wave from an explosion. The variation of the overpressure with time depends on the energy yield of the explosion, the distance from the point of burst, and the medium in which the weapon is detonated. The peak overpressure is the maximum value of the overpressure at a given location and is - generally experienced at the instant the shock (or blast) wave reaches that...
Page 148 - Paniculate and electromagnetic radiation emitted from atomic nuclei in various nuclear processes. The important nuclear radiations, from the weapons standpoint, are alpha and beta particles, gamma rays, and neutrons. All nuclear radiations are ionizing radiations, but the reverse is not true. X-rays, for example, are included among ionizing radiations, but they are not nuclear radiations since they do not originate from atomic nuclei.

Bibliographic information