Last Updated: 19/9/1995
Introduction and Charter of the High Energy Weapons Archive
At the time of the Gulf War, Norman Schwarzkopf remarked:
"War is a profanity because, let's face it, you've got two opposing sides trying to settle their differences by killing as many of each other as they can."
Which brings us to nuclear weapons…
Since the first test at Alamogordo, our world governments have exploded in total over 2000 of these devices at their bombing ranges (Lop Nor, Kazhakstan, Nevada, Micronesia). They've done it in the air, on the ground, below the ground, and in the water. The tests still go on today.
The purpose of this archive is to illuminate to the reader the effects of these nasty devices, and to warn against their use.
At this time, although the threat of a nuclear world war has reduced, there are other threats to our tentative peace which have emerged. These involve regional conflicts, and the activities of terrorist parties or nations. They involve issues such as plutonium smuggling, and the sale of weapons technology (possibly clandestine) to militaristic nations.
Continued nuclear testing is also another problem. It reinforces the position of the London Club nations, and gives incentive to the rest of the world for removing their monopoly. In fact, this was China's justification for joining the Club. With Pakistan and North Korea's incipient entry, horizontal proliferation is a tangible threat. You can expect nations involved in regional conflicts to back their threats up with a nuclear fist if they have one. If you have a weapon and your survival is threatened, there is a strong chance you will use it in defense, no matter the consequences. This was the U.S. Government's justification for the A-bombing of Japan. It saved the lives of their soldiers. Little mention was made of Japanese civilians (collateral damage).
The decision to bomb Japan was made in secret. This led directly to the arms race we are currently involved in. Russia felt threatened, and embarked on its own bomb program, eventually producing one in 1949. In turn, the Americans felt threatened, and embarked on the thermonuclear program. This culminated in the pivotal Mike test of 1952. Nuclear blackmail during the Korean War led China to make a bomb. Public disclosure and discussion before Hiroshima would have helped avoid the situation we are in today. Hence the need for an informed and vigilant worldwide public.
My aim in setting up this archive is to shine a light on the shadowy world of high energy weapons, particularly the thermonuclear kind. You will find here brief notes describing the conceptual basis of nuclear weapons, the experiences of Hiroshima and Nagasaki survivors, and graphics of nuclear explosions. The conceptual notes are based on public domain references, and do not contain technical specifications to weapon design. In other words, there is no quantitative information. The notes are there to show where the product particles of nuclear weapons come from, and how they can cause damage. These include neutrons, X-rays, and the highly radioactive fission fragments such as strontium-90 and cesium-137. A basic grasp of what goes on inside a weapon is helpful in understanding issues like plutonium smuggling, and the problems of a monitoring nuclear test ban.
I set up this archive because I saw the need for a collation of nuclear material on the net. To make informed decisions one needs correct and relevant knowledge. Equipped with these brief notes, and other material found in the References, you can be more informed on the proliferation issue.
Please note that some of the material in the archive is pure assumption. To support or deny some of the statements requires an extensive weapons testing program. Please use the material as a guide only, and always check the factual base of the material, no matter where it comes from.
Note on this Archive's History
The HEW Archive was at Melbourne University, Australia for a year, until it was closed down by enforcement of university regulations concerning use of computing facilities. On its impending closure, however, Xgateway Finland Ltd offered it a new home in Espoo, Finland, just outside Helsinki.
Note on the Archive Maintainer
Gary Au was born in 1971, Hong Kong, and is a naturalised Australian citizen. He holds a BSc(Hons) in theoretical physics from Melbourne University, Australia. He is currently submitting a PhD on theoretical particle physics at the same institution.