Essay on American Scientists and Nuclear Weapons Policy

Date:  2021-06-25 08:14:17
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There are various issues in chemistry that have been of great concern to the population and necessitate deep analysis and examination. One issue that has been of great concern is the building of nuclear weapons as the same has been an issue of concern to the population and led to various discussion with regards to who needs to build them, reasons behind development of nuclear weapons and when and how to use the nuclear weapons (Gilpin 142). To help in understanding why the issue of nuclear weapons has been of great concern to the population, there is a need to understand what the weapons are, and why they are gaining fame in the modern society. A nuclear bomb is an explosive device is a which can use either fission bomb or a combination of both fusion and fission to initiate a destructive effect from the nuclear reactions (Sagan and Kenneth 38).

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Nuclear weapons make use of small amounts of matter to release huge quantities of energy that causes destruction in military combat. There is a need to acknowledge the effects of nuclear weapons in the society and the role of the same in causing riffles between different political leaders in different country (Bell and Nicholas 77). However, much focus should be put on the examination of the way it is built and superpower countries discourage other countries from building the weapon. In this manner, there is a need to research on the working mechanisms of nuclear weapons to help in understanding its effects in the society. All explosions from nuclear weapons are generated through fission, and this was first demonstrated in the first nuclear weapon, Little Boy. In the process of using the Little Boy, a hollow uranium-235 cylinder was shot at a target plug of the same material (Sagan 201).

Builders of nuclear weapons found out each piece by themselves are unlikely to generate the critical mass, or the minimum amount of nuclear material required to maintain fission. In this way, there is a need to collide every piece together to reach the critical mass that can initiate a fission chain reaction (Gilpin 147). However, there is a slight different mechanism of the modern nuclear weapons. Critical mass is wholly dependent on the density of the material; this is because increase in the density leads to the decrease in mass. This means that collision of two sub-critical pieces prove to an inefficient way of nuclear fuel, on the other hand, the more efficient process is the detonation of chemical explosives around a sub-critical sphere of uranium-235 or plutonium-239 metal (Sagan and Kenneth 46). Energy generated by the latter process is more effective and efficient for use in nuclear weapons.

Once the blast has been initiated, the force from the blast is then directed inward leading to the compression of the pit thereby making the atoms to come closer together. The compression of the atoms lead to increase in the density which then enable them to reach critical mass. Upon reaching critical mass, neutrons are injected thereby initiating fission chain reaction and explosion afterwards (Bell and Nicholas 79). In the examination of fusion weapons, otherwise called thermonuclear or the hydrogen weapons, the energy produced from the initial fission explosion is used for fusing hydrogen isotopes together. In this manner, the energy that the weapon releases create a fireball which then reaches several tens of million degrees, this is a temperature as high as the temperature in the center of the sun (Sagan 206). Such high temperatures cause massive destruction and is employed for military purposes.

The primary explosions are those used in thermonuclear weapons, and they involve both the chemical and fission explosions, on the other hand, there is the secondary or the subsequent fusion blast is that which causes massive destruction in the population (Gilpin 151). The mechanisms of operations of nuclear weapons are more complicated that they seem and there is a need to acknowledge the effects of the same for use in military functions. An example of the degree of complication of the process of nuclear reaction is that a primary fusion proves to be inefficient, and this is because there is a very high probability that the plutonium pit 239 will blow itself apart prior to the fission of most of plutonium-239 (Sagan and Kenneth 49). Boosting the reaction requires the introduction of hydrogen gas, which contains isotopes and deuterium and tritium in the center of a hollow pit.

The fission of plutonium in the surrounding leads to the fusion of hydrogen gas thereby releasing neutrons that lead to further fission. In a similar manner, the secondary does not only deal with the fusion fuel but has a spark plug that contains either plutonium-239 or uranium-235. In the process of primary explosion leading to the compression of fuel from the outside, the park plug becomes supercritical thereby leading to fissions (Bell and Nicholas 80). In the end, there is the heating from hydrogen from the inside thereby facilitating additional fusion reactions. In this way, understanding the working mechanism of nuclear weapons helps in understanding of its effects and why superpower countries discourage other countries from building own nuclear weapons.

Works Cited

Bell, Mark S., and Nicholas L. Miller. "Questioning the effect of nuclear weapons on conflict." Journal of Conflict Resolution 59.1 (2015): 74-92.

Gilpin, Robert. American scientists and nuclear weapons policy. Princeton University Press, 2015.

Sagan, Scott D., et al. "Shared Responsibilities for Nuclear Disarmament: A Global Debate." Language Magazine 3 (2017): 1.

Sagan, Scott Douglas, and Kenneth Neal Waltz. The spread of nuclear weapons: an enduring debate. WW Norton & Company, 2013.

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