Questions tagged [nuclear]

Questions about atomic nuclear phenomena and their effects on the world. For heat and power generation applications of nuclear phenomena, use [nuclear-power]. For weapons relying on nuclear phenomena, consider [weapons] and [weapon-mass-destruction]. Compare [radioactivity], [weak-force] and [strong-force].

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48
votes
5answers
13k views

Are nuclear weapons useful in space?

On Earth, nuclear weapons can wreak enormous damage to a country and for that reason, large-scale wars between nuclear powers don’t happen. But what would happen if humanity progressed just enough to ...
40
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11answers
10k views

How disarmed does a nuclear bomb get by shooting it? [closed]

A Simple scenario; you have a guy with a gun (a very big and loud gun), and a ticking nuke with seconds left. All the controls, buttons, and wiring on the thing are in a different language, and he’s ...
33
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9answers
10k views

Could we reach the earth's core using today's nuclear arsenal?

The setting is basically earth. Our planet is unfortunately on a collision course with a large asteroid. However, humans have discovered and decoded a message from an ancient, advanced alien race (our ...
31
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17answers
41k views

Best places to be on Earth when an all out nuclear World War III breaks out?

This is a world building question in a preventative context because those people or countries would be left fully functional while others gone and the safe areas is where the world building would ...
27
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12answers
5k views

Spaceflight without transistors and nuclear power - how to bend the history of physics?

As stated in the topic: I would like to have Project Olympus-style space stations served by Apollo-like spacecraft in a world where neither nuclear power (and weapons) nor transistors were developed ...
26
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5answers
5k views

Practicality of a thorium-powered, superheated-steam car?

At the beginning of the 1900s, the Doble Steam Motors Company built steam cars. Their engineers solved many of the problems steam cars had until then by using superheated steam and a condenser to ...
25
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6answers
9k views

Can one nuke reliably shoot another out of the sky?

A quick glance at real world anti-missile systems seems to show that they do work, but imperfectly. The problem naturally gets harder when the incoming missile is extremely high-velocity. If your ...
25
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12answers
7k views

What could cause a post-apocalyptic, rapid desertification of vast areas of the world, similar to the land in Mad Max: Fury Road?

I apologise as this will be vague - but I am building a world set in the future (late 21st century) and looking at realistic ways for rapid desertification of huge land areas, say America, and ...
25
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8answers
9k views

Is it safe to grow and eat food on post-nuclear-war land?

Follow-up of Could the entire world have been destroyed by the existing nuclear arsenal in 1962? Is it safe to grow food on land that was hit by nuclear bombs? Or will such food kill/fatally sicken ...
24
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7answers
7k views

How much alteration would be needed for the Cuban Missile Crisis to go nuclear? [closed]

My story takes place centuries in the future, in the year 2567. Over 600 years ago, during 1962, an all out nuclear war broke out. Most modern day historians believe it to have occurred in autumn, but ...
24
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11answers
7k views

Nuclear magic: Surviving your own spells

TLDR: Portals to other places; wizards use them to make nukes-as-fireballs/anti-personal level attacks, how do they survive? In a system of magic that functions around opening portals, what ...
24
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7answers
6k views

How would nuclear fallout affect the oceans?

I'm trying to build a setting in which humankind would have no other choice than to live underwater to survive. Suppose there was a nuclear war in which a huge part of the human population died, and ...
18
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12answers
8k views

Would animals really mutate in the post-apocalypse?

So, in an alternate universe, Soviet Union never falls, and in 2068 a nuclear war happened. About 32,000 nukes were detonated in American, Soviet, EU, and Chinese cities. WW3 lasted about 5 hours or ...
17
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5answers
6k views

Could the entire world have been destroyed by the existing nuclear arsenal in 1962?

Considering the nuclear arsenal that existed in 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis, could it have destroyed the entire world, following the events below? Edited question a bit: Considering the ...
9
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1answer
285 views

Nuclear rockets and EMPs

Nuclear rockets, or as I like to think of them, "half way between a continuous small atomic explosion and reactor whose front fell off". There are many variants, and my aliens are using relative ...
8
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5answers
836 views

What could cause a spike in the natural uranium depletion rate?

What is a possible event${^*}$ that would cause a spike in the speed of $^{235}$U fission and reduce its average concentration in ore worldwide? As I understand the physics of the process, it is ...
7
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2answers
3k views

What if the Earth's Core was made of Uranium? [closed]

What would happen if the Earth's inner core suddenly changed to unprocessed, natural uranium without the volume of the core changing? How soon would we notice any changes? What would be the ...
7
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4answers
873 views

What if the Trinity test had ignited the atmosphere? Could we survive?

In the early days of the Manhattan project, there was a brief scare, based on some calculations by Edward Teller, that an atomic bomb would ignite the atmosphere. They later redid the calculations and ...
7
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5answers
684 views

Why would a group chose to remain raiders?

In a post-apocalyptic world, survival is often difficult. In the first few decades after the apocalypse, living in permanent settlements was dangerous because of roaming creatures and bandit gangs, ...
7
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2answers
483 views

What element would make up a creature if it used the weak nuclear force during its metabolic processes?

I was doing some research on how to design a scientifically possible alien, when I came across an interesting section on metabolism. I found it very interesting and read about the weak force, as ...
6
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4answers
700 views

Could there exist a quantum virus which breaks someone's body down to fundamental particles?

In the Animorphs series K.A. Applegate mentions: A quantum virus. It breaks down the very forces that holds subatomic particles together. It can take weeks or even months of agony as your body ...
6
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3answers
395 views

Are there semi plausible scenarios where Nuclear Winter could last a thousand years or trigger an ice age?

Trying to develop a fictional scenario with a 'believable' theory as to how a Nuclear War and resulting Nuclear Winter could turn into a millennial scale ice age. By 'believable', I mean that it ...
6
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4answers
210 views

Effect of nuclear fallout on glacial ice

I'm working on building a post nuclear war society in a nuclear winter where northern countries have risen to dominance through a combination of being non-primary targets in the nuclear war and having ...
6
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2answers
183 views

How feasible is this gravity-altering exotic matter I’ve conceived? Would it have any unforseen consequences?

Ok so I was thinking about a way to hypothetically have undiscovered elements with bizarre properties (for unobtainium purposes). And an idea hit me: replace nucleons with heavier but stable ...
6
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2answers
269 views

What does the physiology and biochemistry of a vacuum adapted post-human look like? Part 4: Movement

I am a post-human adapted for permanent life in vacuum and micro-gravity. How might my physiology and biochemistry overcome the following challenges? Please note I have a strong cultural aversion to ...
5
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5answers
900 views

Preparing for Absolute Certainty of a Nuclear War

October 28, 1962. The Cuban Missile Crisis has just concluded. John F. Kennedy gathers his top experts across fields to discuss the escalating threat of total nuclear annihilation. After two weeks of ...
5
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6answers
386 views

How do I prevent the immediate use of nuclear weapons? [closed]

In the modern world, World War III is a near impossibility, and the Cold War has shown us that Mutually Assured Destruction prevents a large war between super powers from occurring. Sure there have ...
5
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4answers
374 views

World governments shutting down their nuclear power plants after Chernobyl?

What if in an alternate universe after the Chernobyl incident, the world governments decide to shut down their nuclear power plants and if so how would that affect society?
5
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2answers
116 views

How might an exoplanet have a highly radioactive atmosphere?

The exoplanet in question is Proxima Centauri b. How might the mid-to-upper-level atmosphere of that planet be dangerously radioactive and full of airborne nuclear reagents, without it being the ...
5
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3answers
300 views

Apocalypse design help. Is there any life-sustaining atmosphere which an atomic blast could ignite?

I've read a few answers here about how Earth's atmosphere is impossible to ignite with an atomic bomb. Is there some atmospheric mixture which could be both life-sustaining and able to ignite into a "...
5
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1answer
250 views

Light Emitting Animals - What happens to the food chain? [closed]

In my world, an event has happened, some nuclear fall-out caused every animal to grow a special organ that emits light, but I'm wondering what effect that would have on the Food Chain? The world I'm ...
5
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3answers
222 views

Cooking using nuclear bombs [closed]

This question is completely just for fun! :) So in one of my classes, some boys on an another table were debating whether you could toast a marshmallow for smores using a nuclear blast from a nuclear ...
5
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2answers
105 views

If the nucleons in an atom were heavier, could it still be stable? [closed]

If the protons and neutrons had, say, a hundred times more mass than they normally do, could the atom overall still be stable? Would it affect the atom's electron cloud somehow, or would it still be ...
4
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5answers
5k views

How to optimise the use of 10 nuclear fuel pellets in medieval period?

Suppose 10 standard nuclear fuel pellets have been sent back in time to the 14th century A. D. scattered across 10 adjacent towns via a disposable time machine. Would people in the medieval period be ...
4
votes
4answers
461 views

What would generate barrels full of toxic (radioactive) liquid waste

I've a setting where some abandoned facility that was run by a joint venture of the military and a high-tech company, has its direct surrounding, outside the facility, littered with barrels full of a ...
4
votes
2answers
243 views

What is the minimum practical size for buildings heated by small nuclear reactor?

In the book Early Riser by Jasper Fforde, humans hibernate in large dormitories. These circular buildings range in size from 20 to 60 floors, with around two dozen rooms per floor. While the residents ...
4
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8answers
788 views

Losing Knowledge

Is it plausible to create a world in which the people who live inside it developed technologies like the ones we had in WW2, but after their progress came to a halt they forgot their knowledge. ...
4
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4answers
8k views

How many people would survive the nuclear winter after a full-scale nuclear war, and where?

Could anyone could survive a nuclear war and all that follows? I have read many things saying they would, and read other science-based answers, but they all talked about a nuclear war that was ...
4
votes
5answers
651 views

Is it possible to transform Jupiter into micro-star?

For fusion to occur we need extremely high temperature at the core to overcome coulomb barrier or for the nucleus to be close enough to tunnel into each other. Is it possible for type 2 civilization ...
4
votes
2answers
677 views

Could someone survive a nuclear blast wave at the bottom of a pool? [closed]

I would like to have a character survive an atomic bomb as close to ground zero as possible. Using this handy tool it seems that a 1 megaton bomb has a fireball radius of 1 km, a blast wave radius of ...
4
votes
2answers
254 views

Is this an appropriate manned interstellar mission profile?

My idea was to use 2 stages for an interstellar spacecraft (particularly the Orion Drive) and use it in a way similar to Project: Daedalus. Phase 1 would involve accelerating to cruising speed ...
4
votes
2answers
175 views

How would mountainous landscape look like after remodelling it with nuclear warheads?

As conclusion of this question it seems that under a dense atmosphere it would be a good idea to place the main city in mountains. Just there is the inconvenient issue that top of mountains lack flat ...
4
votes
3answers
278 views

Is it possible for a creature to exist as a biological nuclear reactor?

This is somewhat different to this question on the possibility of biological fusion reactors as I am curious if a living FISSION reactor is more plausible.
4
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3answers
358 views

How can the human race disappear in a few days? [duplicate]

Is it possible to eradicate the human race in one week? And if yes, by which way? Of course, the human race should do everything to survive. What could be more powerful than our will to survive? 1. ...
3
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3answers
305 views

Theorietically, what would be the ecological impact of ITER losing containment?

Currently a megaproject called ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) is being built in France. The device would use magnetic containment of plasma reacting at temperatures of over ...
3
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3answers
323 views

Is antimatter boosted nuclear weapon theoretically possible?

Are there any fundamental obstacles to using a nuclear explosion as a trigger for antimatter generation and thus considerably increasing the yield?
3
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4answers
2k views

Could nuclear fallout melt the ice caps and cause an accelerated sea level rise?

I'm writing a story where a total nuclear WWIII occurs in the early 21st century. in a matter of minutes all of the world's nuclear powers unleashed their entire arsenals on each other in an event ...
3
votes
4answers
381 views

Lead as a nuclear fuel

On a timescale of 1e11 years, all uranium and thorium will have decayed, but planets will still exist, orbiting red dwarf stars. Would it be possible to use lead as a nuclear fuel? In principle, the ...
3
votes
4answers
860 views

Nuking all the ice

I've been trying to envision a scenario where global warming is accelerated to the fasted possible speed. One scenario I thought of was detonating large scale nuclear warheads on the North and South ...
3
votes
3answers
11k views

Mountains and Nuclear Bombs

I am building an apocalyptic world, and I am wondering about the effects of mountains on nuclear bombs. I'll start by defining what I am talking about. Mountains: For arguments sake lets say this ...