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The Nucleus or Nucleon or Neutron Bomb

  1. Jan 31, 2009 #1
    Well I was talking to my physcis teacher because were currently studying nuclear physics. And he likes tellign stories to make his examples more straight foreward. And I asked the question what types of radiations are in nucleaar bombs. Gama, Beta or alpha. He answered me with those three types of radiation and they he explained to be that when he was a kid there was some sort of Nucleus or nucleon bomb or somthing that was great for invasions and it was outlawed. Apparently it fired neutrons that went through walls and wrecked the cells structre of humans and it had a half life of 6 years so countries could easily invade. Clean up the dust and move in. My question is what is it and how was it used and who made it. Thx guys
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 1, 2009 #2


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    Your teacher has given you a lot of misinformation.

    The destructive radiation out of nuclear weapons consists of neutrons and gamma rays. Alpha (He4 nucleus) and beta (electron) can't travel far because they carry charges.
    The idea behind the neutron bomb was to reduce the blast effect compared to the radiation so that people would be killed, but structures would suffer less damage. Neutron half life is around ten minutes, not six years! The dust he mentioned is fallout and has nothing to do with the initial radiation.
  4. Feb 2, 2009 #3


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    There are two different concepts for so-called "enhanced radiation" weapons. The first is the well-known but oft-misunderstood neutron bomb. A neutron bomb is simply a small nuclear weapon (< 1 kt) that uses radiation as its primary destructive method. There isn't anything special about a neutron bomb, except that its explosive yield is small enough that its radiation lethal range happens to be larger then its blast radius. It was to be used against enemy tank formations, since tanks are well protected from the blast effects of nuclear weapons and you don't want fallout coming back over your own troops. A neutron bomb would create lethal radiation to enemy tank crews that could be used relatively close to friendly forces.

    The other ER weapon is called a salted bomb. The way fusion bombs work is they use a fission bomb to create the heat and pressure necessary to create fusion in a secondary chamber. The fusion reactions that take place create lots of extra neutrons, and these neutrons cause additional fissions in a uranium layer on the outside of the bomb to increase the explosive power even further. However, if you wanted to make an insidious weapon that would case long-lived deadly fallout, which would render a large area inhospitable for years, you could replace the outer uranium layer with cobalt metal. When natural cobalt-59 absorbs neutrons, it becomes cobolt-60, an isotope which emits a strong gamma ray with a half life of 5 years. If you detonated such a weapon at high altitude over a populated area, the blast may not damage structures but the fallout would require the population to take shelter or evacuate for an extended period of time or perish to radiation poisoning.
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