We know the USA, Russia, UK, France, China, India, and Pakistan are declared Powers, South Africa is a former Nuculear Power. Israel and Taiwan are undeclared nuculear powers, and The Ukranine & Kazakhstan may or may not have left over nukes from the former USSR. But what countries do you think could have nukes if they wanted to. I am betting Canada and most of the West European nations could build them. I am also thinking Argentina or Brazil may be close to be albe to build them. I think Australia or NZ could most likely build them too. Any other ideas.
Oh, I’d say any country that has a halfway decent university physics lab could crank one out. There’s a lot of heavy stuff in optimizing yields and so on, but if you don’t care about the finer points and just want something to go “boom”, almost any modern industralized nation should be able to make a fission device, and probably a fair number of third world countries could too. I guess fewer countries could make fusion devices, but still plenty of them could.
The genie is out of the bottle, and he’s not going back in again. Not only that, but it would have been impossible to keep him in the bottle anyway. Even if you went back in time and shut down the manhatten project, it wouldn’t matter. It would have happened somewhere else, maybe in a different country, but it would have happened.
peas on earth
I can’t believe I’m admitting this in public, but I read a Tom Clancy novel called The Sum of All Fears, where Muslim terrorists get hold of an unexploded Israeli nuke, and have no trouble using the plutonium to build a multi-stage nuclear device (on the order of 450 megatons). The science behind doing so has become engineering, and now scarcity of the raw materials is the only controlling factor. Clancy’s book was apparently quite accurate on this: given the raw materials, almost any organization, let alone nation-state, could do it.
>on the order of 450 megatons
I know I’ve said this before, but the largest nuke ever expoded was 68 Megatons, and there really isnt much point in building larger since the destructive volume is roughly proportional to the power, which means the destructive radius is proporional to the cube root of the volume.
So the destrucive power felt a 4 miles from 64mt would be felt at about 7.5 miles from a 450mt. Three 64mt bombs would be just as good.
Any suicidal group of reasonably capable highschool kids can make one, if they had access to enough U238. The whole principle is to keep a mass of it larger than critical mass together long enough. Gravity should do the trick. (bang two half-balls of U238 of each just below critical mass together, maybe by having a pipe go through all floors of a 3 story house, with one half ball at the bottom, and the other half-ball dropped in at the top). You’d need about 40 people that are fanatical enough to suffer certain death by radiation sickness during the preparation process. Oh, and that U238 of course, that might get expensive.
Oh, it’s very easy Markxxx. More likely than not, there are more countries with them than without.
In the 70’s & it’s still true today, I went to the UCSD patent library & the clerk said that all the patents to make them are right there.
But she would not show me where they were. Not that I wanted them.
Thus, you’re probably reading the news too much about this stuff. It’s very easy to get the info to make anything like that. A little tricky to get the material, yes, but a couple hundred thousand bucks, a country could have it.
The question isn’t who could have them but who does.
Taiwan doesn’t. They farted around in the 70’s, but the US got really pissed. They have the materials enough to whip one or more up in a weekend, but I doubt that they have an actual bomb assembled and ready to go.
Japan may be the same. South Korea, too. Of course North Korea is a wild card.
ISOSLEEPY: It’s not as easy as that if you just thump the u238 together you would get a loud bang and maybee even blow up the building but no nuke. Predetonation was the greatest fear of Weapons designers on the manhatten project. The pieces blow themselves apart before a good bang gets going hence the Cannon barrel used to fire the 238 projectile at the 238 target in little boy
While fission devices are simple in principle, the devil’s in the details. Even the first-generation implosion bomb dropped on Nagasaki was comparitively sophisticated. Lot’s of little engineering glitches to overcome. For just a sampling, there’s the metallurgy of plutonium; implosive detonation geometry; isotope triggers; electronic detonation timing.
Given how desperately North Korea, or Libya or Iraq would love to have nukes, I don’t think it’s as simple as just swiping some Pu-239. The main problem is that not many countries have everything they need to create a nuclear weapons program from scratch, produced locally. And a lot of special components, like lathes to machine beryllium tampers, are too dead a giveaway to be able to order from abroad.
Still, if countries as small as Israel or Pakistan can build nukes, I don’t doubt that the technology is going to spread.
Every article I find says Tiawan is a Nuclear Power, like Isreal just undeclared. True? I guess if Israel isn’t going to admit it neither will Taiwain. But this may explain why China (Bejing) won’t invade them. But speaking of Israel do you think they have nukes ready to go or just ready to be assembled and that way they can claim to be nuclear free and be correct.
'The question isn’t who could have them but who does. ’
Exactly my point. No one knows for sure but I assume almost every country does.
Now if a country tells the world they have them, that’s another ball game.
My understanding was that Israel owns nuclear weapons, but doesn’t actually produce them. I believe the US is a major component in this. Thus, they have the weaponry, but are not a declared power since they can’t crank them out as can the other declared nations.
“I guess it is possible for one person to make a difference, although most of the time they probably shouldn’t.”
Wow, most articles I read say Taiwan DOESN’T have nukes. I guess there’s a lot of people out there making WAGs.
I live there, so that may skew my info, but I’ve talked with several people on the subject (including army officers), and nobody thinks Taiwan has 'em. Though, as I said before, I do not doubt they could get one ready in a few days/week.
The reason China doesn’t invade is because they can’t; they dont’s gots enough boats, and if they did, Taiwan’s air force is way better, and would have fun sinking them. They could, however take some islands Taiwan controls that are just off the coast. And they may soon…
Actually, I was thinking about starting a thread on the Taiwan-China issue; anybody got an opinion?
Back on topic, I would think the reason Israel is “Undeclared” is because they haven’t admitting to having them, and haven’t tested. They hold off on that, of course, to avoid pissing off the Arabs.
“It all started with marbles in school…”
Wouldn’t the 3 story drop keep the mass together long enough to have a bomb instead of a firecracker? The drop is there fore the same reason they fired the parts into each other: to make the mass supercritical long enough. Short of building one,though, (for which I just don’t have the time right now) I guess we’ll never know.
A friend of mine who was a Navy nuke told me how to make a real dirty nuclear bomb (not explosively efficient, but makes lots of radioactive waste).
Simply drop a sphere of fissionable material that was just under critical mass into a body of water (the cooler the better). The water will reflect a lot more of the neutrons back into the mass, starting an uncontrolled fission chain reation.
Actually, the building of a nuke is a bit more difficult than most of the books let on. Building a Little Boy / Fat man type bomb is somewhat feasable but there are a number of engineering tricks that are still top secret to the actual building of the bomb. There is a reason it took China a fairly long time to make their first, as well as India and Pakastan. It’s not just the scarcity of the materials. Before my brother went to flight school, he spent a year at White Oaks, his boss there had worked with Teller on the H-Bomb, and used to always get a laugh out of the ‘highschool’ students could make the bomb assertions. He never sad what the engineering problems needed to be overcome where (Obviously, since they are still supersecret.) Only that they were there, and non-trivial.
>>Being Chaotic Evil means never having to say your sorry…unless the other guy is bigger than you.<<
—The dragon observes
Actually, it’s just the opposite. From the original post:
I.e., it’s not asking who ACTUALLY has nukes, but who could build them. For instance, Taiwan probably doesn’t actually have them, but certainly could build one if they wanted to.
peas on earth
Re- Japan with A-bombs?
N-O spells no!
The Japanese constitution states plainly that Japan will not make , possess , or permit nuclear weapons.
Any governmental or Self Defence Force personnel who even suggested that would find his/her career toasted in a nanosecond.
If the idea that the Japanese government possessed atomic weapons became public, there would be rioting in the streets of Tokyio and the government would be forced to resign in disgrace. And anti-nuclear feeling is so strong that a squealer is almost 100% certain.