Okay, so we’ve seen a lot of really stupid and downright crazy conspiracy theories in the past. Many have claimed the moon landings were a big hoax and others claim that the entire Cold War was staged by a secret underground group that actually ran both the US and Soviet Union. Given the huge amount of evidence to prove those events independently, it seems a bit far fetched.
But it looks like they’ve been beaten. There are at least a couple wackos out there who claim that nuclear weapons are a hoax. Yes, they say nuclear weapons just plain don’t exist and beyond that, nuclear fission is not real. Yes, that’s right. There no nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima or Nagasaki, the Manhattan project never created a viable weapon and all the thousands of tests conducted by the US, Soviet Union, China, France, the UK and others were just elaborate fakes – at least that’s what some actually believe.
Sure, nuclear weapons development involved thousands and people and their power has destroyed two Japanese cities and been witnessed by millions during testing. Indeed, some atmospheric tests have created a flash visible many miles away or sent mushroom clouds into the stratosphere, where they could be seen by anyone in Las Vegas. Tests in the Marshall islands, Nevada and the Soviet Union lit up Geiger counters all over the world, caused power failures in Hawaii, broken windows in Finland and could be felt as shaking miles from the event. Thousands of troops and technicians saw the events with their own eyes and hundreds of thousands more saw the distant clouds or a flash on the horizon.
The Nevada Test Site is full of craters, which you can even tour, if you want to. Bikini Atoll has massive holes where large weapons were tested and although most of the fallout has long since decayed away, you can still pick up a slight increase in radioactivity in the areas where weapons were tested, if you use the proper instruments.
Nuclear weapons work on very well understood physics. Their exstance sparked the development of ICBM’s and eventually lead to space flight. Their threat caused national governments to institute complex continuity of government plans, to hallow out mountains and to keep aircraft in flight and ready to assume command for decades on end. Facilities to produce plutonium, enrich uranium and fabricate components were constructed worldwide.
All of this a hoax? Well, some people actually think so. Since this provides a good opportunity to provide some information on the topic, lets see how their claims break down.
And another YouTube User with several videos claiming to be evidence of fakery of nuclear tests. (It’s like Deja Vu of the Apollo hoax theorists). Just search his account for “nuclear” to find the videos, which are too numerous to embed here.
And they even have some antisemitism thrown in!
 Were Hiroshima and Nagasaki in fact bombed by Atom bombs; or were they simply fire- or carpet-bombed, perhaps by new explosives?
No. Other cities experienced similar levels of destruction due to fire bombing, but it could never be acomplished in one bombing mission with one aircraft. Tokyo experienced destruction comparable to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but only after many nights of raids in which hundreds of B-29’s droped many thousands of tons of high explosive and incendiary bombs.
Much of the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki occurred in less than a second. However, a signifficant amount of the damage to the cities was caused by fires that raged after the initial explosion. The nuclear explosion reduced wooden structures to piles of tinder, the heat dried and scourched material and touched off fires.
 How come there are so few films of tests? If you’d spent $1000000000 on a ‘device’, you’d be sure the film didn’t jam!
Actually, there are a HUGE number of films of the tests. Most atmospheric tests had hundreds of cameras trained on them. These included color and black and white cameras, cameras mounted close to the blast, in armored housing, located far away with telephoto lenses, cameras in aircraft flying about the blasts and everywhere else you can think of. There were time-lapse cameras, high speed cameras and standard speed cameras. The United States alone has a massive collection of nuclear test films.
The images showing close-ups of the damage from the blast wave and which recorded the iconic images of houses being blown apart and jeeps being knocked over were located within the blast area, or close to it. They were mounted in heavily armored housings. Some of these cameras were placed on reinforced metal towers. This gave them a clear view above the dust and debris at ground level.
Despite the extreme efforts made to anchor the cameras to sturdy mounts and to provide for extremely durable armored housing, it was not uncommon for some movement to occur due to the blast wave. On occasion cameras were lost during the tests and their film could not be recovered. Each test cost many millions of dollars and therefore hundreds of cameras were used to assure that at least a few would survive and produce good quality footage. Of course, there were also many other sensors and scientific instruments used besides cameras.
Many hours are not avaliable for viewing on the internet. The most commonly seen footage is from the final versions of information documentary films on the projects. These films generally contain the best shots of a given nuclear experiment, but many hours of film exist that are not commonly seen because the footage is not especially noteworthy. Most is now declassified and copies can be obtained from the Department of Energy.
 In view of the supposed flash given by such weapons, how come ordinary cine cameras seem to have been used? An intense flash would burn the film
A variety of cameras and film types were used to film the tests. Some were modified commercially avaliable film cameras and others were purpose-built for the task. The extreme intensity of the flash posed a unique problem for the movie film of the day. The film had to be able to record both the period of time before and after the detonation, as well as the extremely bright portion of the detonation. To this end, several specialized films were developed that had multiple emulsion layers of varying sensitivity.
Another method used was to use multiple cameras to film each test. In the published version of films, the actual footage may be edited between several cameras. Some had high speed film and relatively large diaphragms to capture the aftermath of the blast, but because of this, most of the actual blast frames are overexposed by the flash. Other cameras were setup to record the brightest portion of the blast.
Even using these methods, it’s not uncommon for many historical films to contain several frames at the time of the blast which are over-exposed and show the flash as nothing but a completely white frame.
 Many or all of the films of supposed nuclear weapons show effects typcial of large explosions – for example large amounts of smoke, and continual fires. A nuclear explosion should be one flash (or two if you accept H bombs) – there should not be a prolonged red fireball
Not exactly. A nuclear explosion produces what is known as a “fireball” which is actually a massive ball of plasma. Nuclear explosions produce such intense heat that the gases around the explosion incandescent. This results in a visible glow that dissipates as the cloud expands and cools. The mushroom cloud is formed due to a combination of debris, dust and (often) water vapor. The nature of the mushroom cloud depends on the place of detonation. A bomb set off at sea will vaporize enormous amounts of water, but if set off in the desert, there will be very little. Air bursts don’t produce the same kind of debris cloud as ground bursts and may only leave a faint ring of nitrous oxides, ozone and material from the bomb itself.
Nuclear bombs also do produce a lot of fire. Depending on the size of the weapon, the flash of heat that accompanies the blast may be capable of igniting material even miles away from ground zero. Some of the fires may be extinguished by the blast wave, but generally the area is left well scorched. The area nearest the bomb is vaporized completely, but the process is not as simple as materials being converted to a gas. A more accurate description of the effects on organic matter might be to say that they are flash incinerated, with the heat burning them up almost instantaneously.
 Some of the films show the sun or clear evidence of fakery – for example cloud montages, filming from increasing altitudes to give the impression a fireball is rising, semicircular montages to suggest a mushroom cloud
It can be very difficult to get a good film sequence of a nuclear explosion in a single shot. The explosion starts off as a bright flash and then rapidly expands into a fireball and then a rising mushroom cloud. As the cloud rises, the motion begins to slow, with the cloud continuing to spread out, sometimes for hours. At ground level, the area around the blast begins to burn and a pressure wave spreads out from the center, kicking up dust and debris as it propagates outward. It may blow out fires that had burned in the area around the explosion, but will often leave embers that reignite as the pressure equalizes.
Exactly how the blast plays out depends on the altitude of the explosion, the type and size of the weapon, the terrain and other conditions. Some explosions produce a precursor wave. High altitude blasts generally produce one powerful wave, while near-ground blasts may produce a more complex pattern of pressure. In some cases, an initial blast wave moves out from the explosion, but is followed by a drop in pressure, caused by the updrafts of the mushroom cloud.
Because of this, most films of a nuclear test are actually from several cameras, cut together to show the various phases. If you want to get the raw camera footage from US tests, you can do so from the Department of Energy. Depending on the circumstances, you may end up paying a nominal fee for the archival service. If the film is not well known, it is possible it has not been digitized. If that is the case, be prepared to pay a bit more to have the original film located and scanned for you. The DOE has done a very good job of keeping nearly all the film preserved in climate-controlled vaults, so almost none of it is lost, unlike some other agencies (cough cough.. NASA).
If you are looking for test footage from British, French, Chinese or Soviet Tests, I really have no idea where you would go for that.
 Granted that U235 or other elements generate heat, is it possible in fact for the heat to be harnessed more or less instantly, as required by a weapon? Wouldn’t it be impossible to enclose the superheated metal or other material?
No. Absolutely not. Radioactive materials do generate heat from decay, but U-235 heat is negligible. If you held uranium-235 in your hand, it would not even feel slightly warm. It does not produce even enough heat to make it signifficantly warmer than its surroundings.
It’s impossible to cause the material to suddenly become super-hot without fissioning it. If it were insulated enough, it would eventually build up some heat, but this would not be an effective way of making a weapon.
7] During WW2, it was found that explosives could be ‘enhanced’ by adding powdered aluminum. Incendiary bombs were invented. No doubt other discoveries were made – but remember that even polythene wasn’t produced then. There’s no doubt that TNT, dynamite and so on may have been rather obsolete, but it’s hard to know the state of explosives technology at the time, because, obviously, it was unpublished.
There were some developments made in chemical explosives, but there’s really only so much energy that you can pack into a chemical explosive. Dynamite is largely obsolete, these days, but TNT remains an important explosive for both military and a few civilian applications.
The explosives of today are largely the same as those of the Second World War and even before. There have been refinements in the design of ordinance and their delivery methods, but the basic compounds used to make explosives are over one hundred years old. Most military ordnance do not contain a single explosive compound, but rather are a mixture of high explosives, stabilizing and binding agents. The type of explosive compounds and the ratio will determine the total power as well as the explosive velocity, heat and other aspects of the explosion.
Current military explosives include TNT (still a major explosive the benchmark to which other explosives are measured) as well as very high power explosives like RDX, PETN and HMX. Military-grade explosive compositions such as C4 and Comp-B use these materials and other minor components in various radios. Another explosive, which existed during World War II, but has since gained greater use is ANFO. ANFO, which is ammonium nitrate and fuel oil is widely used in mining and civil engineering because it is inexpensive and is safe to transport and store, as the two components are not explosive until mixed. It is used in some military applications, such as blowing up ammunition dumps or other demolition applications, but is not a major combat explosive.
Even the highest energy military-grade chemical explosives are orders of magnitude less powerful than a small nuclear weapon. A one kilot0n nuclear weapon produces an explosive force roughly equivalent to one thousand tons of TNT. Even the most powerful, energy dense compositions of chemical explosives are only 1.5 times as powerful as an equivalent amount of TNT and the most powerful chemical reactions known to exist (such as reacting lithium with fluoride) are only a few times as powerful as TNT.
The most powerful chemical explosive known to exist is octanitrocubane. It has thus far, only been synthesized in tiny amounts. It has an energy density slightly less than twice that of TNT.
Therefore, simulating the blast of a five kiloton bomb would require five thousand tons of TNT. If the highest energy explosives known were used, it would still require around three thousand tons.
 Because of wartime censorship, the effects of firestorms weren’t widely known. David Irving’s book on Dresden wasn’t published until about twenty years after then end of the war. (To this day many Americans dn’t seem to understand that bombing causes damage). Because of this, it would be relatively easy to pretend an atom bomb existed.
The damage from firestorms was well known. Both man made incendiary bombing and disastrous city-wide fires had been well documented. It was not difficult to realize that cities that were largely built of wood would be leveled by fire. The firebombing campaigns in Europe and Japan could not have been hidden from the thousands of airmen who participated in them or from the hundreds of thousand of foot soldiers who would later occupy these areas, nor could they be from the surviving residents.
And you can mock the intellect of Americans all you want, but even the worst of us do know that bombing causes damage. We’re not * THAT* stupid.
 Underwater nuclear explosions should have a visible very short flash of light – seawater is murky, but still clear enough to allow intense light through.
They do. It’s certainly not as dramatic as an atmospheric test, but they do produce a flash.
 ‘Radiation damage’ could simply be the effect of burns caused by bombing – especially as these would have been almost nknown to medical science at that time.
Burns and other injuries were well known at the time. The thing that was unique about the burns from a nuclear explosion is that many were caused by intense thermal radiation, even leaving behind shadows of items which had blocked the flash of heat. Injuries due to ionizing radiation have generally been overstated. Most of the victims of the bombs were killed by heat, falling debris or overpressure. There were some deaths after the fact, most were due to infection or other problems relating to burns and injury. A few may be attributable to illness caused by ionizing radiation. This was not unknown to medical science at the time, as there had been deaths from radium poisoning or over-exposure to x-rays.
Regardless of the medical care and the situation for the victims, it was immediately clear that this bombing was not the same as previous raids. The weapon caused mass destruction instantaneously.
 The ‘experts’ themselves may not have been aware of what was happening. Imagine a technologist trying to tell Stalin he didn’t believe the ‘west’ had atom bombs. And try imagining a technologist trying to tell Oppenheimer an experiment had failed. In each case there must have been powerful motives for deception.
Nobody would have had to tell Oppenheimer that the test at Trinity had failed, because he was there to see it with his own eyes. In fact, there was a real concern that it would fail, and Oppenheimer and others were more worried of this than anything else. The physicists of the time were very confident in the theory behind a fission-based bomb, but the device itself relied on a complex system of multi-point detonators to create a symmetrical implosion. The system had failed before in testing and the researchers knew that the reaction might not occur if there was even a slight imperfection in the implosion system. The first nuclear bomb was developed in haste and was literally held together with masking tape. There was plenty of opportunity for a short or a broken circuit. So fairly was not beyond the realm of possibility.
As for Stalin, he would have been quite pleased to know that the weapon had failed. His network of spies had kept him informed of the progress of the program and that a test was eminent, but he did not receive confirmation of the test until Harry Truman personally informed Stalin that “a new weapon of unusual destructive force.” Stalin was not surprised by this revelation and he already knew far more than Truman could have imagined. For Stalin, the statement was simply a confirmation of the success of the US test, which he had already been expecting.
Item 1) The historical seismograms of Hiroshima and Nagasaki have mysteriously vanished. If not only for the sake of war-era memorabilia, that information should have been everywhere in the museums and in the press. Hiroshima is located in a highly volcanic zone called the Honshu Arc and those active volcanoes were under constant seismographic surveillance during that period and log before that. The so-called atomic blast at hiroshima was estimated to be the equivalent of 6.2 on the Richter Scale but no seismological outpost in the world appears to have noted it. The Russians said they exploded the biggest atomic bomb ever made (50 megatons) at Novaya Zemlya in northern Russia. That is hundreds of thousands of times more powerful than what they say exploded over Hiroshima yet again, not one seismic needle moved at all. How is that possible I ask?
Except the data didn’t vanish! The blasts over Hiroshima and Nagasaki were fairly small and were at an altitude where little of the energy was coupled to the ground, but they were still powerful enough to be detected by a few seismic stations (although remember, most of Japan was in shambles, so there wouldn’t have been a very good seismic network in Japan).
The seismic wave from the Tsar Bomba moved needles all over the world. It was even detected on it’s third pass around the world! Despite being an air burst, it was detected as one of the strongest single point events ever measured by the US Geological survey.
Item 12) Iraq, why did they not find so-called atom bombs there?
Because Iraq didn’t have any. Saddam’s nuclear program never got very far, as the only nuclear facility of any significance was destroyed by the Israelis in 1981. Iraq focused on the much cheaper production of chemical weapons, although by the time of the 2003 invasion few were left in the country.
tem13) Suicide bombers, since when can’t the underworld aquire atom bombs for suicide missions if they are not bogus?
They’re not exactly easy to come by. Only a handful of countries have them at all and they’re generally guarded and controlled very tightly. Most are pretty large and heavy and although it is possible to build small, man-portable nuclear weapons, those have long been phased out of stockpiles.
Even if a terrorist organization could get it’s hands on a long-forgotten warhead from a source in the former Soviet Union, it’s unlikely that the weapon would even be capable of detonation. Nuclear weapons require a lot of maintenance. Proprietary and specialized batteries need to be replaced, the explosive triggers degrade with time and tritium reservoirs and neutron sources need to be replaced at regular intervals due to radioactive decay.
Building a nuclear weapon requires highly enriched uranium or weapons grade plutonium. Although producing these is not an impossibly difficult task for most nation states, it is something no terrorist group could come even close to doing.
Item 20) The so-called nuclear subs are either fully battery operated and recharged underwater secretly or run with Stirling Cycle engines or more likely both. That would explain the absence of deisel fumes and would explain the very long underwater periods. Stirling cycle engines are perfectly suited to hoax a nuclear navy. Who can deny that?
Sure, you can run a submarine on a stirling engine. It’s been done before. There’s just one problem with this idea: stirling engines, just like steam turbine engines, are thermal engines, meaning that they need a source of heat to operate. This could be done with thermal mass that is preheated before the submarine departs – except this would only last a short period of time before the energy is depleted. It could also be done by burning a conventional fuel, except this would only last as long as the fuel supply lasts, and if under water, as long as the oxygen supply could last. At best, this could last a few days.
There is one source of power that could keep a sterling engine going for months or years on end – a nuclear reactor. Just as nuclear submarines currently use steam turbines, they could also, at least in theory, use any thermal engine, powered by the reactor. In fact, a nuclear-sterling engine submarine design has been proposed but was canceled before ever going to sea.
Regardless of the engine used, the energy to power it needs to come from somewhere!
By the way: I have been asked before if I “like” nuclear weapons. My response to this is complex. I don’t like the idea of anything being used to destroy whole cities and kill their citizens. I don’t like the idea of any device which is primarily used to cause harm, death or destruction.
However, a nuclear explosive is, by far, the most energetic device that mankind can create. The power is nearly limitless and the fact that it is an explosion is simply an inherent effect of what happens when such vast energy is released. Nuclear weapons rival even the most powerful natural forces in impact and can be scaled to produce energy that is significant even on a cosmic level (the RD-220 “Tsar Bomba”) produced 2% of the energy of the sun for a period of a few microseconds.
The effects of a nuclear weapon are vast, and though generally viewed as destructive could potentially accelerate spacecraft to a significant fraction of the speed of light. They could alter the orbits of huge asteroids, create their own weather systems, move mountains or create massive caverns in a fraction of a second. Personally, I find them to be both scientifically and technically magnificent devices.
This entry was posted on Sunday, December 27th, 2009 at 3:46 am and is filed under Bad Science, Conspiracy Theories, History, Just LAME, Not Even Wrong, Obfuscation, Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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