The other advantage is political. These missiles take a long a time to reach destination, and the time can be extended by a prolonged voyage (circle the globe a few times). The only people who can disarm the warhead are the enemies. You're not going to blow up your enemies while the missile is in the air. It's a great apolitical tool. Launch a missile and everyone starts talking and giving in to your demands.
Better article: https://www.wsj.com/articles/russian-nuclear-agency-confirms...
"Believed to"? I thought that was accepted as fact?
The thyroid gland has limited capacity for storing iodine and iodine tablets make sure it's saturated with the non-radioative isotope. Any more iodine (in this case radioactive) will then be excreted. This only works as 'radiation protection' when the saturation has been reached before being exposed to the radioactive iodine of course.
2. Excess iodine will mess up thyroid, but that is believed to be of lesser harm than it being messed up by radiation
If you are not exposed to an immediately lethal dose, the damage in the body is a statistical thing. The longer and the more intense the radioactive particles remain on or in your body, the more likely is the chance for a serious health issue. The strategy is to remove radioactive particles as fast as possible to minimize the probability of damage.
Radioactive particles on your skin can be washed away. (This is not so fun as the every-day shower).
Radioactive particles that you inhaled are a really bad thing, I do not know how to deal with radioactive particles in the lungs (except wearing filter masks in time).
Particles that entered the body with food will be excreted within a couple of hours.
But: your body has an organ - the thyroid gland - which collects iodine from your food and stores it long time. A radioactive form of iodine - iodine 131 - is a common byproduct of nuclear contamination. If this gets stored in your body, it remains long enough to dramatically raise the chance of cancer. Therefore you fill your thyroid gland with non-radioactive iodine, hopefully BEFORE your body gets contaminated with radioactive iodine.
So the special thing with iodine 131 is, that it is common, that the body does not make a difference to nonradioactive iodine and there is an organ that stores it.
By taking iodine pills, you only improve probabilities on that one factor! There are plenty other ways to take damage from radioactive accidents.
I assume there is at least a rat study.
"Commonly known as thyroid blocking, taking potassium iodide (KI)1 before or at the beginning of exposure to radioactive iodine blocks the uptake of radioactive iodine by the thyroid gland, thus reducing exposure of the thyroid to internal radiation.
KI does not protect against any other radioactive substances, e.g. radioactive caesium. It is not a generic radiation antidote."
"Taking KI shortly before or immediately at the time of exposure to radioactive iodine offers the most effective protection. [...] If taken 4 hours after exposure, protection will be reduced by half; taking KI more than 24 hours after exposure will offer no protection."
"A single dose of KI is usually sufficient for adequate protection for 24 hours."
"Age group - Mass of KI (mg) - Example of fraction of tablets (130 mg KI tablets)
>12 years and adults - 130mg - 1
3 – 12 years - 65mg - 1/2
1 month – 3 years - 32mg - 1/4
Neonate (< 1) - 16mg - 1/8"
"The risk of thyroid cancer in children following exposure to radioactive iodine is higher than in adults; younger age groups are at highest risk. As a result, the protection of children must be considered a priority"
"During pregnancy, the mother's thyroid gland is metabolically more active than in non-pregnant women, and the amount of radioactive iodine that will be taken up by the thyroid increases in comparison with other adults. The foetal thyroid gland may be exposed to radioactive iodine through the placenta, but will also be protected by the KI taken by the mother. [...] The amount of KI that a breastfeeding woman will provide to an infant through breast milk is not enough to protect the thyroid of an infant exposed to radioactive iodine."
"The risk of side effects from KI increases with age, while the risk of radiation-induced thyroid cancer in individuals over 40-years old is low. For this reason, thyroid blocking with KI is not generally indicated in adults over 40 years of age, unless the projected radiation dose to the thyroid rises to levels that threaten the thyroid gland and interfere with its function."
"Adverse effects of KI on thyroid function are more frequent in individuals with other, pre-existing thyroid disorders. These disorders are more common in older adults and in the elderly than in children or young adults."
Also, this is not about lethal doses. There is typically very small area in immediate vicinity of the explosion that is directly lethal (like, LD50 lethal).
Most of the effect on large area is through increased radiation and through radioactive elements getting concentrated in food chain and in various tissues of your body.
You might never know if the radiation from the event was what is killing you but this can be measured statistically to say "over X years there is Y deaths additional to what could be expected that could be attributed to increased radiation".
Maybe a stupid question but why would they be anywhere near the missile during the actual testing?
Or was this some kind of premature explosion while configuring or fueling it?
In any case it's probably not the infamous SSC-X-9/Burevestnik missile or we'd have seen at least some indication from independent monitoring sources already. (which are aplenty in the area, for obvious reasons). I'm waiting for radioisotope analysis confirming it was the nuclear thermal engine but there's still nothing, after 4 days.
They are Russians https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3604355/
There was once a wide consensus to not continue with this arms race. But unfortunately it broke down.
You can't have it both ways. Either MAD works, and anyone working on and building ICBM defenses is a dangerous lunatic, and a threat to world peace...
Or MAD doesn't work, and anyone controlling thousands of nuclear weapons is a dangerous lunatic and a threat to world peace.
We either need to stop trying to break MAD, or disarm. What we do not need, is to build anti-ICBM installations. I do not understand why this is not ever brought up in public discourse. Do people think that the risk of nuclear Armageddon just went away with the Cold War?
I’m pretty sure the answer is “yes.” I’m baffled as to why, but that seems to be the case.
I’m also pretty sure that MAD is a very risky thing, and we really can’t count on it long term. The fact that we’ve made it many decades without a nuclear war indicates that the probability is low, but not necessarily low enough.
The problem is, what do you do about it? I agree that we (as in humanity) need to disarm, but it’s not going to happen. It’s a classic prisoners’ dilemma: we’re best off if nobody has nukes, but then someone can gain a huge advantage by acquiring them, and then everybody else is better off if they also acquire them. (And remember that game theory was created to analyze MAD!)
If MAD isn’t fully effective and disarmament isn’t going to happen, then building defenses makes sense.
Set a realistic goal.
Total disarmament is unrealistic. But if the nuclear arsenals of the US and Russia could be brought down to hundreds, instead of thousands of weapons, we'd all be much better off.
We can make that happen, by demanding that our government makes the following things a priority:
1. Some small, unilateral, token-of-good-faith reduction in arms stockpiles.
2. Combined with making more serious, tit-for-tat arms reduction a diplomatic goal.
This isn't some novel idea. We have done this during the Cold war. We just need to do it, again.
If MAD is not fully effective, ballistic missile defense makes it even less effective (Because it makes your opponent more afraid of you.)
Summary: It was okay for each side to have a limited ABM capability but not an extensive one.
Treaty was exited by USA side in 2002 and the stated reason was that ABM-like defense would be needed against "rogue states".
This sort of thing isn't just for Russia to deter the United States. China is their best "frenemy" and this sort of thing helps contain China as well.
That said, the Russians in particular get very nervous about the US' missile defense systems and research; after all, if one party has an effective ICBM detection system, the other party's nukes are no longer as threatening and a counterattack may follow.
ROM: I'm working as fast as I can, brother, but there must be some kind of interference disrupting our translators.
QUARK: What kind of interference?
ROM: I'm not sure. Could be solar flares, or maybe ionic interference. Or I suppose it could be beta radiation, but that's only produced by nuclear fission.
QUARK: Don't be an idiot. Nuclear fission doesn't happen within planetary atmospheres.
NOG: It does here. In the twentieth century humans used crude nuclear reactors as weapons. They called them atom bombs. They used to blow them up all the time.
QUARK: They irradiated their own planet?!
ROM: If Nog says so, they did. He knows all about Earth history.
QUARK: You'd better fix those translators fast. The sooner we start talking to these savages, the better off we'll be.
Either powered by actual expensive artificial isotopes with enough activity to power an engine, OR they actually broke the ban and had it running on pu239 (which would also make its fuel reserve a nice yield booster)
"A nuclear reactor, formerly known as an atomic pile, is a device used to initiate and control a self-sustained nuclear chain reaction."
Nuclear engine is a device used to initate and control a self-sustained nuclear chain reaction.
This is in contrast to nuclear bomb which initiates but does not control the chain reaction. Once the reaction is started nothing else can be done with it (ie. there is no control involved other than setting up initial parameters).
puts on tin foil hat
If you're worried about water contamination, you should focus your concerns on conventional chemicals. Oil drilling, coal mining, and manufacturing waste are the ones causing decades worth of damage.
But in this case none of the detectors is sensitive enough or sufficiently near the White Sea.
>It caused a brief spike in radiation in the nearby port city of Severodvinsk, according to a statement on the local administration’s website that was later removed. The Russian military said radiation levels were normal but disclosed few details about the incident.
News of the explosion set off in nearby cities and towns a run on iodine, which is believed to help prevent the thyroid gland from absorbing radiation. Norway said it had stepped up radiation monitoring after the incident but hadn’t detected anything abnormal.
is it really worth this large amount of risk if even the top experts in the field can get it so very wrong
On Reddit perhaps
An RTG makes little sense for earth orbit, because there's plentiful sunlight, and solar panels can be used. RTGs are only really suited to missions far away from the sun.
Never did I think my favorite 80s song would become relevant in my life.
Second of all, people die on wind farms all the time. The death toll for wind farms is far higher then for civilian nuclear power.
Production of solar panels actually involves a whole lot of chemicals and those can leak and kill people. Not to mention that solar panels produce mountains not so nice waste and that people fall to death putting the panels up.
Nuclear power is the safest source of energy if we are going by actual data.
It's nice to use geothermal energy from a volcano. But there are reasons we don't build more volcanoes.
And the idea that civilan nuclear power can 'wipe out the ecosystem continent-wide' is just total and complete nonsense. Please actually inform yourself about the dangers of nuclear power.
Chernobyl was about the most dangerous thing you can produce with that level of enrichmnet. Nothing in the West even comes close. And Fukushima was about the most dangerous thing that can happen with civilian reactor in the West and its not even close to 'wipe out ecosystesms'. In fact nobody died from radation because of Fukushima.
People have an unfortunate tendency to fall off roofs and break their necks when installing solar power panels.
For the amount of equivalent solar/wind farms required to provide the same amount of power as a single nuclear plant, you most certainly WOULD have much greater impacts than you think.