Despite the end of the “Cold
War”, the threat of nuclear war, or the explosion of a
nuclear device exists today. A number of states possess
nuclear devices, and are considered at high risk of
deploying them. No one can say that a nuclear event, by a
state, or terrorist group is unlikely. The risk remains as
significant today as it did during the Cold War.
On April 13, 2012,
President Obama, spoke at the 47-nation Nuclear Security Summit in Washington
with a warning about the potential of nuclear terrorism.
The president says al-Qaida and other terrorist groups are
trying to acquire nuclear material, and must be stopped.
"Two decades after the end of the Cold War, we
face a cruel irony of history: The risk of a nuclear
confrontation between nations has gone down, but the risk of
nuclear attack has gone up," Mr. Obama said.
Nuclear terrorism by non-state organizations is an unknown
factor in nuclear deterrence thinking, as states
possessing nuclear weapons are susceptible to retaliation
in kind, but sub- or trans-state actors are not. The
collapse of the Soviet Union led to the possibility that
former Soviet nuclear weapons might become available on
the black market (so-called 'loose nukes'), while no
warheads are known to be have been mislaid, it has been
alleged that suitcase-size bombs might be unaccounted for.
A similar threat may exist via dirty bombs, where since
the 9/11 attacks the fear of terrorist groups using dirty
bombs has increased significantly. The present assessment
of the possibility of terrorists using a dirty bomb is
based on cases involving one terrorist organization,
namely Al-Qaeda. This is because the attempts by this
group to acquire a dirty bomb are the most well-described
in the literature, in part due to the attention this group
received for their involvement in the 9/11 attacks.
A study presented at the annual meeting of the American
Geophysical Union in December 2006 asserted that even a
small-scale, regional nuclear war could produce as many
direct fatalities as all of World War II and disrupt the
global climate for a decade or more. In a regional nuclear
conflict scenario in which two opposing nations in the
subtropics each used 50 Hiroshima-sized nuclear weapons
(ca. 15 kiloton each) on major populated centers, the
researchers estimated fatalities from 2.6 million to 16.7
million per country. Also, as much as five million tons of
soot would be released, which would produce a cooling of
several degrees over large areas of North America and
Eurasia, including most of the grain-growing regions. The
cooling would last for years and could be
"catastrophic" according to the researchers.
Nuclear winter is a predicted climatic effect of nuclear
war. It has been theorized that severely cold weather and
reduced sunlight for a period of months or years could be
caused by detonating large numbers of nuclear weapons,
especially over flammable targets such as cities, where
large amounts of smoke and soot would be ejected into
the Earth's stratosphere. The nuclear winter scenario
predicts that the huge fires caused by nuclear explosions
(particularly from burning urban areas) would loft massive
amounts of dark smoke and aerosol particles from the fires
into the upper troposphere / stratosphere. At 10-15
kilometers (6-9 miles) above the Earth's surface, the
absorption of sunlight would further heat the smoke,
lifting it into the stratosphere where the smoke would
persist for years, with no rain to wash it out. This would
block out much of the sun's light from reaching the
surface, causing surface temperatures to drop drastically.
To help resist this form of catastrophe, the Vivos
shelters are designed to withstand:
• 3-bars of blast
overpressure at 45 PSI
• Force 10 earthquakes in successions
• 20 megaton air burst detonated 10 miles away
• Radiation exposure
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