From Hiroshima to Fukushima: Nuclear Weapons and the Dangers of Nuclear Radiation
From Hiroshima to Fukushima: Nuclear Weapons and the Dangers of Nuclear Radiation By Eiichiro Ochiai – Global Research
We Need to Expand the Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty (NWBT) to A Comprehensive Nuclear Ban Treaty (NBT)
Mankind discovered the nuclear world by its intellect; atom, nucleus, nucleon, elementary particle, and then some reactions at the nucleus level. A significant discovery was that there are stable nuclei as well as unstable ones, and that an unstable nucleus tends to change to a more stable condition, emitting the extra energy in the form of radiation. Another was nuclear fission and nuclear fusion reactions.
The discovery of nuclear fission immediately led the German government to explore the use of nuclear fission as the basis of powerful weapon. A few scientists including Einstein urged the US president to develop such a weapon before the Germans would succeed. The US government secretly established the “Manhattan project”, and the scientists and the corporations involved managed to make three pieces of such weapon, i.e., atomic bombs before the end of the World War II. One was used to test its effectiveness in New Mexico, and the remaining two were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The results were devastating, killing hundreds of thousands instantly and flattening the entire cities.
Several countries, Soviet Unions (now Russia), UK, France and China, followed suit. They, as well as the USA, eagerly developed the nuclear programs and produced an enormous number of such weapons. Besides, they have made the weapons more powerful, incorporating the nuclear fusion reaction; i.e, the combination of hydrogen bomb (nuclear fusion) and the nuclear fission (atomic bomb). Such a weapon is now called as “thermonuclear weapon”, which seems to reduce the impression of the devastating effects it can cause. In fact, many of them are more than 100 times powerful compared with the Hiroshima bomb. A few other countries have now developed nuclear arsenals despite of the NPT (Non Proliferation Treaty): they are Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea.
The dangers of using the nuclear arsenals are obvious, and yet it took more than half a century to establish the nuclear weapon ban treaty (NWBT). And a Nobel peace prize has been awarded to an international organization “ICAN”, which contributed to the NWBT. Yet, the danger of use of nuclear arsenals is now ever increasing. The creation of this weapon is one of the gravest mistakes Homo sapiens has made.
The major effects of the nuclear explosion are summarized in Fig. 1. The evilness of the military use of the “nuclear” is visible and easily recognizable by anybody; it is caused by the enormous amount of heat produced at the explosion of an atomic bomb ((A and B) in Fig. 1. There is another effect that is associated with the nuclear explosion. That is “radiation”, represented by (C) and (D) in Fig. 1. The nuclear fission produces an enormous amount of radioactive substances. The radiation was quite strong at the moment of explosion, and killed many people through radiation effects (effect (C)). It has been estimated that radiation dose higher than 10 Sv (or Gy) instantly killed a person. Because the exposure dose on the people located within one kilometer from the hypocenter was more than 10 Sv(Gy), they are believed to have died from the radiation effect as well. The people also suffered from the ill effects of radiation, after surviving the immediate death, and they are officially called “hibakusha”.
Another effect is also due to radiation, but it is from the radioactive particles, termed “fallout”((D) in Fig. 1). The official stance of the AEC (Atomic Energy Commission) and other authoritative organizations has been to ignore the effects of the fallout. However, in reality, it was the major factor causing death and the ill effects on the people who came into Hiroshima and Nagasaki a few days after the explosion; in other words, they were not exposed to the radiation from the explosion. They were exposed to the radiation of the fallout. Besides, the majority of the “hibakusha” who survived the explosion suffered from many ill effects including cancers later on. These are caused not only by the immediate effect from the explosion but also the effects of the fallout.