However, the threat was far from over. Nuclear weapon technology is now available in the hands of several countries, and it is only the means that these countries lack, not to mention the ingredients and the necessary technology to develop modern nuclear weapons. The development of the atomic bomb was perhaps one of the most powerful advancements in the history of mankind, but this has turned into a curse on humanity, not only following Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but also with the awareness of the threats that the atomic bomb has on life today.
The basic principle in the making of nuclear technology lies on the splitting of the atom, known as nuclear fission. By definition, a nuclear fission "is when a heavy atom is split into two atoms by a neutron hitting it." However, in nuclear technology, it is not sufficient to have a split of an atom, but rather, it is also necessary to have a continuous chain reaction that results as other neutrons are emitted by the atom. This is what makes the energy double at a rate of once every ten-billionth of a second.
"Little Boy" was the first atomic bomb used in war. It was the bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. The bomb which contained enriched fissionable uranium caused a complete destruction of 60 of the city, resulting in the death of 71,000 people and the injury of 68,000 others. It was not possible to take pictures of the city until the white clouds disappeared more than a day later. Little Baby resulted in total devastation of 1.7 squared miles, and the damage was even estimated to have reached one mile under ground .
Throughout history, man has exploited science in many ways. In the twentieth century, however, it seems that governments were willing to spend huge sums of money on developing their military capabilities, as if they were in a race to destroy each other and life together, rather than working on turning the world into a better place. The atomic bomb, fascinating as it is, became a source of guilt for those who dropped it as well as for those who developed it in the first place. Today, almost five decades have passed since the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Perhaps these victims have been forgotten with time. Perhaps they have not. For many millions, the issue is more about fear than about guilt. The issue is no longer about the fate of a few thousands or even millions, a few cities or entire countries. The issue is about the future of life on planet earth. There are no guarantees that some irresponsible leadership or government will have access to atomic bomb technology and under some pressure press the buttons. If that happens, there could be no return, and the end of the world would come in a few hours. Nuclear competition was thought to be over as Russia and the US became allies and as they agreed on eventually reducing their nuclear military capabilities. Surprisingly, however, threats immediately came from other sources. The French resumed their nuclear tests. Even worse, the Indians and the Pakistanis, both being enemies, started a feverish nuclear race in an attempt to terrify each other. And yet, a real nightmare would become real if Saddam Hussein of Iraq develops his first atomic bomb, one which he will not be reluctant about using. There are several governments in the world that are willing to pay anything in order to become nuclear powers, and at the same time, there are a number of agencies or governments that are also willing to sell the necessary ingredients to those who will pay more. What is needed therefore, is a powerful international application of the law to prevent the spread of this technology because the danger is very prominent. It could only be a matter of time before such a threat is realized.
Unlike the uranium based "Little Boy," the "Fat Man" that was dropped on Nagasaki depended on fissionable plutonium. "Fat Man"tm was larger and more powerful, but it resulted in less damage. The bomb was supposed to destroy an area of 2.4 squared miles, but it only destroyed 44 of the city. This was due to two reasons. First of all, Nagasaki was not a perfect site for the dropping of such a bomb, since the city was rich in ridges and hills. And secondly, the weather was not very favorable. All in all, the bomb killed more than 35,000 people and left about 60,000 injured.
Theoretically, building a nuclear bomb is not very difficult. Such information is even available to amateurs on the Internet. It is often thought that producing an atomic bomb is very expensive. In reality, however, it is not the construction that usually costs, but rather, the safety measures that have to be taken, the scientific research and development that should precede, and more importantly, the availability of sufficient supervision to the project. Accordingly, any country in the world has the financial and perhaps the human capacity to produce such a weapon. It is even feasible to produce a primitive atomic bomb that can wipe a small town out in a garage.
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