Chemical Biological And Nuclear Weapons Case Study

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Question 3:
Chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons are capable of generating large-scale effects and are intended to cause serious injury or death. The indiscriminate nature of these weapons is distinctly different than conventional weapons so that there is an inherent threat to civilian populations. Whereas a soldier targets an individual in the crosshairs of his gun, once a chemical, biological, or nuclear weapon is released there is a greater level of separation between the user and the victim(s) and no differentiation between those whom it affects. This breeds the psychological terror that is produced by just the possibility of the use of such weapons. For these reasons, chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons deserve the label of
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bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki in WWII. These bombs depended on nuclear fission which happens when neutrons bombard heavy atoms, causing the nuclei to split. The resulting energy stems from the products having a slightly smaller mass than the original nucleus, this difference is due to the the binding energy of heavy elements compared to that of intermediate weight elements. Critical mass is essential to nuclear weapons as it is the smallest amount of fissile material, e.g. uranium and plutonium, required to sustain a chain reaction, which precipitates an explosion. Testing with fusion bombs, so-called H-bombs, has proven their potential to be an even more destructive than their fission counterparts. Fusion is a nuclear reaction that involves light nuclei combining into a heavier nucleus. Emitted energy is a result of the binding energy of the new nuclide being less than the combined binding energy of the original nuclei (Ferguson 10). Einstein’s equation, E=mc2, where E is energy, m is mass, and c is the speed of light displays that even a small amount of mass can transform into a large amount of energy (Nuclear Fission, March 23). The explosive power of nuclear weapons can tear craters into the earth, releasing an immense amount of thermal and blast energy that vaporizes everything within a certain radius, depending on the bomb. Radiation is another consequence of nuclear weapons, besides the initial release of radiation, nuclear fallout is a concern that perpetuates the effects of the bomb after its detonation. Ionizing radiation released by nuclear material causes radiation sickness, tissue damage, damage to the immune system, hemorrhaging, and cancer (Ferguson 14, 15). The destructive power of nuclear weapons is evident and the ability to control where they are released/detonated sets them apart from chemical and biological weapons and definitely earns them the designation

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