The Cold War: Nuclear Weapons of the 1980's

Topics: Nuclear weapon, Cold War, Plutonium, Uranium / Pages: 4 (975 words) / Published: Oct 22nd, 2000

The pope quickly organized a meeting to prepare the world for a weapon that would destroy all life on earth. "Pope Innocent II organized the conference in 11391" because of a crossbow. Approximately 800 years from this conference, the Cold War has begun. The potential of mass destruction could occur at any moment. More efforts for mining and technology went toward constructing nuclear weapons. Missiles, such as, the Tomahawk® Cruise Missile and the Trident Fleet Ballistic Missile were the new wave of nuclear weapons, in the 1980 's, used in the Cold War. Safety restrictions and treaties stopped these weapons of mass destruction from causing an Armageddon to happen. Mining for elements that could be used as a nuclear power were very important in the Cold War. New technology and research for nuclear material was an essential part in building a nuclear weapon. The most important element for making nuclear weapons is uranium. Uranium is used to make plutonium, a very powerful element, by deuteron bombardment of uranium oxide. Uranium, a gray-colored element, is mined from the common uranium ores. Common isotopes, such as, radioactive sulfur (S35), radioactive carbon (C14), radioactive phosphorus (P32) and strontium (Sr90) were a great safety hazard towards the environment and mammals. The amount of time it takes for half the radioactive isotope to disintegrate is called half-life. "Isotopes with a short half-life, measured in seconds, hours, or days, are considered generally less dangerous to the envioronment2." Isotopes with a high half-life are very harmful to our world; for example, plutonium in one of its forms (Pu239) has a half-life of over 20,000 years. There is so much heat given off that, in power reactors, the heat is used to generate electricity. These nuclear elements, mainly plutonium, was used to make the most destructive weapons ever to be built: nuclear missiles. In 1979, one of the

Cited: Coldwell, Dan. WORLD POLITICS AND YOU. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2000. Medvedev, Zhores. Nuclear Disaster in the Urals. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1979. The U.S. Department of Energy Office of Environmental Management. Closing the Circle on the Splitting of the Atom. Washington D.C. 1987.

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