Nuclear war has the potential to make the planet uninhabitable. Mass death, agricultural decline, and severe famine will all result in the apocalypse.
Nuclear energy is the strongest force in the universe, as it holds atom nuclei together. Atom is the building block of matter including humans. Atoms build molecules, cells, tissues, organs, and the human body. Atoms are constantly interacting with one another, bonding through chemical bonds to form a new, stable molecule. Other atoms’ presence can have an effect on already-formed molecules. Instability and unusual reactions may cause damage.
Humans use nuclear energy to generate electricity and to develop nuclear weapons. Nuclear power can be produced in two ways: by splitting the atom (fission), which typically uses uranium and plutonium, or by bonding the atom (fusion), which is similar to how the sun generates energy by fusing hydrogen atoms to form helium. Nuclear power plants use the fission technique to generate heat energy and then turn on the generator to produce electricity.
Nuclear weapons can implement both fission and fusion. Nuclear fusion and fission, on the other hand, produce radioactive material. This particle contains unstable nuclei, which can endanger living creatures by destroying stable chemical bonds. Even so, several countries are developing nuclear weapons because the power is much bigger than a regular weapons such as the United States, Russia, France, China, the United Kingdom, Pakistan, India, Israel, and North Korea.
Nuclear Weapons in History
Fission Nuclear Weapon
Hirosima and Nagasaki tragedy at the end of World War II was a devastating example of how terrific the damage caused by fission nuclear weapons. The Hirosima bomb was called ‘Little Boy’ which used 16 kilotons of uranium-235 causing approximately 140,000 death and 78,000 injured. The fission of slightly less than one kilogram of uranium 235 released energy equivalent to approximately 15,000 tons of TNT.
The Nagasaki bomb was called ‘Fat Man’ and used 1 kiloton of plutonium-239 causing approximately 73,000 death and 75,000 injured. The fission of slightly more than one kilogram of plutonium 239 is thought to have released destructive energy equivalent to about 21,000 tons of TNT.
There are approximately 270,000 survivors of the tragedy. However, the damage to their health continues, ranging from acute radiation sickness (ARS) to cancer, which will have a significant impact in the long term. The lack of medical personnel, medicines, and food worsened the situation, causing the death rate to rise.
Hydrogen Bomb (Fusion)
The first hydrogen bomb “Mike” was launched on the pacific Marshall Island. It destroyed an entire island leaving more than a mile-wide crater. The explosive force of Mike was also apparent from the sheer magnitude of its mushroom cloud–within 90 seconds the mushroom cloud climbed to 57,000 feet and entered the stratosphere. One minute later, it reached 108,000 feet, eventually stabilizing at a ceiling of 120,000 feet. Half an hour after the test, the mushroom stretched 60 miles across, with the base of the head joining the stem at 45,000 feet.
Nuclear Weapon Damage
Effects on Human Health
When an atomic bomb is exploded, three physical energies are released: heat rays, blast wind, and radiation. Within 1 km of ground zero, a human without protection will be blown against the wall by the blast wind (pressure), causing multiple fractures of skeletons and ruptures of the abdominal cavity, causing colons to escape. Within a 1 km radius, everyone will feel the direct impact of the heat rays, which cause buildings to burn and human skin to peel off if not burned to the white bone. Radiation victims experience acute radiation sickness (ARS), cutaneous radiation injury (CRI), prenatal radiation exposure, and cancer.
Below is a simple explanation of how nuclear radiation affects human life.
Effects on Environment
Nuclear weapons also have a negative impact on the environment, with the potential to make the planet uninhabitable.
When a nuclear bomb is blown up, a massive mushroom cloud rises to the stratosphere, blocking sunlight from reaching the earth’s surface. This causes a drop in temperature on land, known as nuclear winter. However, the presence of contamination in the atmosphere raises the temperature, causing the ozone layer, which has been protecting humans from the dangers of ultraviolet radiation, to deteriorate.
The radiation from the nuclear bomb falls to the earth’s surface, causing global fallout. Nuclear radiation gradually spreads to various locations, accompanied by increasing UV intensity, which causes sunburn, skin cancer, photoaging, and cataracts in living things. It also inhibits photolytic reactions that are necessary for leaf expansion and plant growth. Soot reduces temperature and rainfall by blocking sunlight from reaching the Earth’s surface. This has a significant impact on agriculture, particularly at mid-high altitudes. Cold temperatures have the potential to cause sea ice to expand, which can disrupt transportation.
A massive fire and smoke from the nuclear war under the atmosphere would create severe short-term environmental effects:
- A relatively modest 5 Tg of soot would be sufficient and caused the lowest temperature of earth has experienced, lower than during the Litter Ice Age or in 1816. 75 Tg of soot temperature would correspond to the last full Ice Age. And precipitation would decline by more than 25% globally
- The time required to reduce the soot mass is approximately 5 years. In the Asian monsoon region, a 5 Tg soot injection would reduce precipitation by 40%. Hadley circulation will undergo dynamic changes, and rainfall patterns in South America and Africa will shift dramatically. This phenomenon in general can affect the climate on a global scale.
- A decrease in temperature and precipitation would have a profound effect on mid-high altitudes agriculture. The length of the growing season is decreasing because there are changes in temperature, precipitation, light level, and other factors.
- Massive soot in the upper atmosphere heated the stratosphere and disrupted stratospheric circulation. 5 Tg of soot injection associated with regional conflict, the stratospheric temperature would remain elevated by 30° C after 4 years. This unusual phenomenon would reduce the ozone column by 20% globally, 25–45% at middle latitudes, and 50–70% at northern high latitudes for about 5 years.
- The consequences of global cooling include the expansion of ice seas, polluted coastal areas, and decimation of ocean marine life. The ocean takes longer to change. After the smoke clears, it takes many decades for the ocean to return to its pre-war state. Some areas of the ocean are likely to remain in the new state for hundreds of years or longer. This new situation disrupted the marine ecosystem, resulting in a global impact that will last for decades.
- The dramatic change in the ocean & surface will be caused severe famines in all nations. Due to a decrease in agriculture, fisheries, and cattle, increase surface ocean PH, Damage to the ecosystem will endanger the food chain, plus transportation difficulties due to the expansion of the ice sea. This will have a bad impact all over the world.
Nuclear war has numerous negative consequences for humans and the environment, and it has the potential to make the planet uninhabitable.