Terrorist Hazards (Radiological/Nuclear)

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Since the history of the existence of mankind, there have been several threats to the nations in which they live. Such kind of threats is responsible for bringing about large-scale loss of life, destruction of valuable property, widespread diseases and injury, devastating economic loss, and displacement of large populations. Recent developments in terrorist hazards such as radiological also referred to as nuclear are some of the components of the increase in national security worldwide. But what is radiological or nuclear terrorist hazard? This paper describes radiological or nuclear as a terrorist hazard.

History of Nuclear

The history of nuclear as a weapon of mass destruction (WMD) can be traced back as early as in 1934 with Leo Szilard. Leo Szilard was the first person to file a patent on the reaction of neutron chain in 1934.  He was assigned the patent to the admiralty of British two years later as long as he was to keep it as a secret. In 1942, Szilard and Fermi collaborated thus achieving the first sustained fission reaction chain in December 1942 in the city of Chicago. The first nuclear weapon was used in 1945 by the United States. This is the year during the Second World War when the United States bombed the Japanese city of Hiroshima with an atomic bomb killing and wounding almost 130,000 people. Three days later, they bombed the city of Nagasaki where they killed more than 75,000 people, and a similar number sustained serious injuries. In the years that followed, the Great Britain, the United States, and the Soviet Union carried out several nuclear weapon tests (Freedman, 2008).

How a Nuclear Weapon is Made and Dispersed

A nuclear weapon is made by the fission of Uranium 235 or Uranium 233. It can also be made by the fission of plutonium 239. Upon the making of a nuclear weapon, it uses fission energy with which it is made from directly. A nuclear weapon uses fission energy for igniting a fusion reaction thus achieving many releases of higher energy. Theoretically, the power of nuclear energy is not limited. However, it is speculated that it is possible to make a nuclear weapon without uranium trigger. However, there is reliable information indicating that it is true, and there is a hard physical principle that needs to be overcome.

One of the ways through which nuclear weapon is dispersed is through the use of the dirty bomb. A dirty bomb is a conventional explosive which helps in dispersing radioactive materials such as nuclear. They may also be dispersed by blasting them where they are likely to create mass casualties immediately after the blast. They then spread the radioactive contamination to the surrounding areas (Glasstone et al., 1977).

Signs and Symptoms of Nuclear Weapon use

A nuclear weapon blast produces several different forms of energy that leave damaging effects. Some of the signs and symptoms of the use of a nuclear weapon are a blast, thermal radiation, direct nuclear radiation, electronic pulse, and fallout among many others. The extent of the damage left out by the use of nuclear weapon depends on several factors such as nuclear weapon size, the height at which it is dispersed, and geography of the target. Use of nuclear weapon in an area also damages the localized tissue and the blood vessels of the human body which results to the disturbed functioning of the organs.

Circumstance where Nuclear would be the Weapon of Choice

There are no several circumstances under which nuclear as a weapon of mass destruction can be used as a weapon of choice. One of the circumstances under which a country is going to consider using nuclear as a weapon of choice is for self-defense where the survival of such a country is at stake. This is the circumstance under which such a country has no any option other than employing and dispersing nuclear weapon as a means if self-protection.

Some of the actions people should do protect for such an attack is creating an Emergency Supply Kit, which should include non-perishable foods and some other things as flashlights, batteries, water, and a battery radio. While protecting against the possibility of a nuclear attack, people should have a disaster preparedness plan. They can also have blast shelters which are necessary for such cases as protecting against heat, radiation, fire, and pressure from the blast. However, such shelters cannot protect against direct hit of the nuclear blast. Additionally, buildings should have thick walls and roof dense to help in absorbing some of the radiation that is going to come from the fallout particles (Asada, 1996).

The most recent attack using the nuclear weapon is by the United States on Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. This happened during the final stages of the Second World War. The twin bombings of the Japanese killed an estimated 130,000 people. This has remained the only recent use of the nuclear weapons as a weapon of mass destruction.


Asada, S. (1996). The Shock of the Atomic Bomb and Japan’s Decision to Surrender:

A Reconsideration. In Hogan, Michael J. Hiroshima in History and Memory. New York: Cambridge University Press

Freedman, L. (2008). Nuclear weapons. Foreign Affairs, 87, 6, 156.

Glasstone, S., Dolan, P. J., United States., United States., & United States. (1977). The effects of nuclear weapons. Washington: U.S. Dept. of Defense.

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