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Is it possible to remotely detect a nuclear weapon?

  1. May 19, 2006 #1
    If so, how is it detected? Are hydrogen bombs significantly harder to detect than conventional fission bombs? St what distance can it be detected? Will this range be increased in the future?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 19, 2006 #2


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    Are you referring to pre-detonation detection? Or post?

    It, um, makes a difference in the numbers.
  4. May 19, 2006 #3


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    Weapons that are detonated are very easy to detect - blast, fallout, etc. Weapons in storage are much more difficult - spies are probably the best way.
  5. May 19, 2006 #4
    An extremely quick and painless google search will give you the answer. Just search nuclear weapon detection or something
  6. May 20, 2006 #5
    Pre-detonation. I imagine a detonation would show up as a seismic event, right?

    My google search suggests that nuclear weapons are not easily detected.
  7. May 20, 2006 #6


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    Well yes. I was thinking more in terms a very rapid rise in temperature into the tens of hundreds of thousands of degrees, and a resulting plasmification of every atom in your body.

    Seismic detection would be more ... subtle.
  8. May 21, 2006 #7


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    Apparently there are proposals to send a beam of neutrinos or high energy photons through the earth into an outgoing sattelite receiver (or tub for neutrinos) or somesuch to detect concentrated fissile material of a specific type. But obviously the logistics are ridiculously complicated and the false positives would be large.

    But at this time, proposals like that are nothing more than science fiction.
  9. May 22, 2006 #8


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    Spies, aerial photos, and satellites. Obviously for the developmental/storage stages.
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