Neutron Bomb

I’ve heard stories from friends about a weapon that can destroy all organic life with out destroying anything else like buildings and what not. Is this true? Is there such a weapon that can be detonated and it kills all the humans, but leaves all the buildings? Cause if it is true, then that is damn scary. Does anyone know whether or not this story I have told you is true?

Thanks,

Omega007

Pert near forgot 'bout her. I think she recently released an album, but I doubt that it’ll go anywhere.
Kill people? Nah, she ain’t that bad. Might knock down a building or two, tho.
Peace,
mangeorge

Neutron bombs are real. They emit the sort of radiation (neutron and gamma) that passes very easily through a lot of armor or earth, but is very damaging to living tissue. They still have a blast, but this is minimized in favor of generating radiation. Supposedly, it’s also shorter-ranged, so you could blast the Red Horde even while it was at the proverbial gate.

Such a weapon is myth. What you heard of was the ER (Enhanced Radiation) bomb, otherwise known as the neutron bomb. This bomb is just a normal fission bomb (nuclear warhead) encased in something that produces large amounts of neutrons that do not get reabsorbed. All these neutrons wreak havoc with any environment they exist in, because they are massive enough to knock molecules apart, creating ions which do further damage. And certain materials become very unstable upon neutron bombardment, most notably Cobalt-59, which becomes the dangerously radioactive Cobalt-60, an isotope with a half-life of five years. Neutrons are dangerous when they are being liberated en masse by such a weapon.

However, such weapons also have sizeable blast radii, just like any fission weapon. Remember, an ER bomb is just a nuclear warhead wrapped in a substance that readily loses neutrons.

Here is a Brittanica.com article on the topic:
Neutron Bomb

There is a blast, and it would knock down buildings if used in an urban center, but the focus is on releasing massive amounts of penetrating radiation and free neutrons. Nasty.

Here’s a link to a BBC story from a couple years ago;
http://news.bbc.co.uk/low/english/sci/tech/newsid_395000/395689.stm
It explains the bomb pretty well, and has animation.
(Olivia Newton-John. Get it? Sorry)
Peace,
mangeorge

So, to summarize, neutron bombs are a myth, but enhanced radiation weapons (also known as “neutron bombs”) are real? I don’t understand.

Trucido, “neutron bombs” are real–the proper term is the one Derleth supplied. As a result of some botched explanations early on, the general public has a very distorted idea of what the bombs are made to do and how they work. The bombs are real, but the “kills people and leaves buildings standing” conception of them is a myth. “Kills people, wrecks everything nearby, and leaves a large area uninhabitable for a long time” is a shade nearer the mark.

Derleth can probably correct me if I’m mistaken, but I believe that in addition to rendering some materials horrendously radioactive and producing really nasty fallout, ER bombs cause marked physical deterioration in some structural substances like cement. Even outside the blast radius, the radiation can render cement walls brittle and prone to crumbling. So yes, it destroys buildings–and in more mays than one. The “advantage” of such bombs is that it’s more difficult for one’s enemies to contrive shielding that will keep the radiation from making them come apart like wet tissue paper.

Neutron bombs as he understood them are myths. No fission weapon releases radiation without a blast. But there are weapons called neutron bombs, also called ER bombs, that are designed to release radiation instead of creating a huge blast. They still create some blast, and if used in an urban center they would damage, if not destroy, some structures, but they would not create nearly as much of a blast as a more conventional fission weapon would.

Here is a site that is full of information on all kinds of nuclear and thermonuclear weapons. It also includes history and listings of which nations possess stockpiles:

Carey Sublette’s High Energy Weapons Archive.