Hot answers tagged

77

New Zealand. Nowhere in the southern hemisphere is a likely target for nuclear weapons, but New Zealand is further south than any other countries except Chile and Argentina, has a stable economy and government, a temperate climate, and is self-sufficient in food. It’s also far enough from anywhere else that it’s unlikely to be swamped with refugees from ...


69

Not Much Or, more specifically, one person making one decision could easily have done it. That person is Vasili Arkhipov. During the crisis, he was the second-in-command on a Russian submarine, the B-59. On board this ship, there had to be a unanimous vote to use nuclear weapons - The captain, the political officer, and Arkhipov. The B-59 was being depth ...


65

It depends. Are we talking about a bomb built by a foreign state, or a bomb built by futuristic terrorists in a basement? If it's the terrorists, anything is possible, because lord knows how they built it. In that case it's probably a dirty bomb, and anything you do to it will turn it into a dirty bomb, so the best you'll accomplish with your stunt is ...


64

No. On this scale, the Earth is not solid and rigid. It's more like extremely hot jello, with a thin and weak crust, a layer of hot floppy jello, the "mantle", a liquid outer core (actually molten iron) that's about 1,400 miles thick, and an inner core of iron about 750 miles in radius. Films and TV programmes that show journeys to the centre of the ...


62

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so I'll add three. North Korea is the most likely country to start throwing missiles around. This is the map of the range of their ICBM's: Let me highlight a detail: Brazil is a country that is neutral on every major conflict, with important ties to all sides. Being outside the range of the first wave of ...


58

You have described 1950 era ABM's, so the short answer is "Yes, of course" The pulse of hard radiation from the nuclear explosion could potentially fry the electronics of the incoming warhead, so the detonator does not work. The sheet of neutrons from the explosion could actually affect the nuclear material inside the incoming warhead, and of course the ...


56

Yes Nuclear weapons would be highly effective in space. But their effects are somewhat different than they are on the ground. I recommend reading this entire section of the Atomic Rockets website: Nukes in Space On the ground, nuclear weapons damage things through 3 mechanisms: Radiation Because the atmosphere is opaque to high frequency light (hard UV,...


55

Your coolant takes time to melt Back in the days of the Soviet Union, there was a class of high-performance submarine called the Alfa class. This submarine used a lead-cooled reactor. By doing so, it managed to compact the size of the reactor significantly, create enormous thrust allowing the submarine to even outrun torpedoes. This caused the U.S. lots ...


54

Move the space race earlier. 1931. There are not transistors or nuclear power because neither has been developed. But space is in reach. from http://www.computerhistory.org/revolution/calculators/1/44/157 1925: The Treaty of Versailles is enforced, and German re-armament does not happen. The Germans are, however, recognized to be masters of technology ...


50

You cannot optimize a zero. First of all, fuel bars in nuclear reactors count hundreds or thousands of those pellets. It's like I ask you to invent the car engine just by giving you a drop of gasoline. Furthermore there is no way for a person with the knowledge level of 14th century to have the faintest clue that what they are handling is a radioactive ...


40

This did happen in the US. It was very bad. It was the Dustbowl. from http://www.npr.org/2013/09/10/220725737/dust-bowl-worries-swirl-up-as-shelterbelt-buckles Thousands of square miles turned to blowing moonscapes. I have read that this was caused by a combination of poor farming practices and drought. I am still not clear on how it was undone. But ...


37

Generally speaking, punching a hole in the side of a nuke is pretty much guaranteed to stop it functioning as a nuke. Anything which upsets the symmetry of the explosive detonation will cause a "weak spot" which will allow the developing explosion to squirt out and squib the blast. Of course, this is what is referred to as a "dirty bomb" when talking about ...


35

Keyword: One. In practice you will have a big problem when you try this--interceptor #1 engages inbound nuke #1 and destroys it. Fine. 30 seconds later inbound nuke #2 sails through the area of ionization and isn't intercepted because the interception radar can't see through the ionized area.


34

Smite from above. source Having a fireball on your lap is hazardous, as is pointed out. Your wizards avoid this. Those who can make fireballs can open portals at some distance. They open them above (or sometimes right below) the target. Some wizards can set it up so the fire comes down unidirectionally, apparently from the sky. It is considered ...


33

Instead of telling you it's impossible, I'll make a list of the problems you need to solve: Pressure: Pressure at Earth's center is $3.65 \times 10^{11} \ \mbox{Pa}$. Whatever enclosure you build is subject to that. If you made a solid block of diamond (one of the least compressible materials, with a bulk modulus of $4.43 \times 10^{11} \ \mbox{Pa}$), you'...


33

TL;DR: The Earth becomes an expanding ball of (highly radioactive) plasma First let me preface this by saying: I'm not going to do links like I normally do. The physics covers a lot of ground and this is just a summary, if you want details and equations they are available on Wikipedia, and elsewhere. I italicized some key phrases you can Google search, if ...


29

This is 1962. At this stage, Russia did not have a huge nuclear stockpile: Wikimedia Commons Furthermore, the first ICBMs had only been around since c. 1959. So basically this represents the last point in the Cold War where the USA could reasonably expect to survive a nuclear exchange with the USSR in some shape or form. Remember that the vast ...


29

XENON Poisioning A fission reactor works by maintaining a delicate and precise balance between creating and destroying free neutrons. When U235 splits, it releases neutrons which can hit other U235 nuclei and cause them to split. If the growth rate of that process is greater than one, you have an explosion. If less than one, the process fizzles. If ...


27

I have some interest in nuclear powered… well, spaceships mainly, but some of the problems apply to cars too. Radiation is your enemy. It's not just "Oh we need some shielding, slap some lead around it!" kind of enemy, it's "If your body absorbs ten joules per kilogram of body weight, you die. Your modern car engine produces around fifteen thousand joules ...


26

Simple answer is no, the hordes of mutant animals after nuclear war is just movie BS, just like the space fighters with wings so they can bank in vacuum. Now there might be an increased rate of mutations, but most mutations are so detrimental that the creature is unlikely to even survive until birth, let alone to maturity. (It's also hard to distinguish ...


24

Your premise is problematic I am going to take two steps back and start by looking at what you want to achieve: a way to force humans to live under water. Nuclear fallout does not really help you there, because of the way fallout works. Fallout is not some evil magical gas that floats around and makes surface life equally problematic everywhere. In ...


22

Reflecting on @Andon's answer: One man's life could have done it. Major Rudolf Anderson, Jr. During the Cuban Missle Crisis Major Anderson was flying U2 recon missions over cuba. Despite being famously told in the movie 13 Days to not be shot down by special assistant to President Kennedy Kenneth O'Donnell, he was shot down. And died.... From the above ...


21

Europe, North America and Asia will get bombed into oblivion, or covered in thick nuclear fallout. Most countries in Africa are underdeveloped and would quickly collapse into chaos and anarchy, or a tighter dictatorship or military rule than what exist as of today. And they'll get some bombs lobbed at them by the virtue of having military bases from the ...


19

I would agree with the NO answer already given. For comparison: The deepest humans have ever dug is only a little over 12 kilometers. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kola_Superdeep_Borehole And these are drilling shafts much less than a meter in diameter. Also consider that blowing a hole in the earth with all of our nuclear weapons to reach the core would ...


19

With radiation everything is always a trade off. You can have something which is very radioactive, but short-lived, or something that lasts millennia but is not very radioactive. Same for dissemination: you can have a small area heavily contaminated, or little background contamination on a very large area. You can't have both. An airburst nuke would blow ...


19

Scrape off the top layer, grow the right kind of crops Fallout is essentially dust. It is not something that infuses everything and cannot be gotten rid of. You need to remove the top layer of soil a — and with that the contamination — and from then on the ground is fine to use. Also it helps if you grow the right kind of crops. In some the contamination ...


19

For reference, I think the salt flats in Mad Max Fury Road was meant to be a dried up sea bed. Realistic Global warming: This will likely really happen. Yes, it is capable of creating the post apocalyptic environment you describe. And is, in my opinion, the most believable. This will shift plant-survivable habitats towards the poles, leaving what is ...


19

Realistically, what you have is a very small amount of superheated hydrogen gas escaping in the environment. Other than ruining a very expensive piece of machinery, and a loud noise, just about nothing will happen. Fusion reactions cannot take place under natural conditions on Earth, so the reaction will stop as soon as containment is breached. The ...


19

The inhabitants would not have the faintest idea what they were they would just be rather curious small round cylinders. They would probably find a use for them as a sling stone or similar but they would impart zero understanding of nuclear physics. One of the biggest problems being the completely different culture and mind set before the enlightenment. ...


18

See this debunking of the one in the news. Thorium is very slow to change the output on: you can’t just throttle it, but it would be putting out full power full time. For this reason alone, making it the primary power supply of a vehicle is impractical. See the video for more points that might still apply to your more realistic design. Also, will your “...


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