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An atomic bomb is a bomb in which the splitting of atomic nuclei results in an explosion of tremendous force and heat, accompanied by a blinding light. The destructive force of an atomic bomb is due to nearly instantaneous and uncontrolled successivefissions of uranium or plutonium atoms in a chain reaction, each fission releasing tremendous energy and also neutrons which produce the succeeding fission (The World Book Dictionary 129). In other words, these bombs are very powerful. This was demonstrated in 1940, when we dropped an Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima during World War II. This bomb left a crater, in the ground, that was over a half of a mile long.
One of the first instances that these bombs were used was called the Manhattan Project. The Manhattan Project was created by the United States government in 1942 to produce the first nuclear bomb. The official agency that produced the bomb was the Corps of Engineers' Manhattan Engineer District, commanded by Major General Leslie R.Groves. He directed industrial and research activities at such sites as Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and Los Alamos, New Mexico (The World Book Encyclopedia 141). Here they designed to bombs that were later called "The Fat Man" and "The Little Boy".
There was later a movie named after the two bombs that showed how they were made and theexperiences that came with making them. A worker was killed during the final stages of the Manhattan Project when a critical assembly of fissile material was accidentally brought together by hand. This incident, which was dramatized in "Fat Man and Little Boy", pre-dated remote-control assembly of such components, but the hazards of manualassembly were known at the time (U.S. Nuclear Accidents, Internet). Only 9 months after that, a similar problem occurred which there were 8 people that got radiation exposure and 7 of them died because of it. In the past, there were very many nuclear accidents.
One of these was in 1982. International Nutronics in Dover, New Jersey, which used radiation baths to purify gems, chemicals, food, and medical supplies, experienced an accident that completely contaminated the plant, forcing its closure. A pump malfunctioned, siphoning water from the baths onto the floor; the water eventually was drained into the sewer system of the heavily populated town of Dover. The NRC wasn't informed of the accident until ten months later. In 1986, the company and one of its top executives were convicted by a federal jury of conspiracy and fraud. Radiation has been detected in the vicinity of the plant, but the levels are thought to be nondangerous.
This shows how dangerous the stuff that these bombs are made out of is. Just the fact that this incident happened 17 years ago, and there are still levels of radiation in the area that are being detected. Another incident was recorded in 1979 when a major accident occurred at the Three Mile Island nuclear plant near Middletown, Pennsylvania. A series of human and mechanical failures nearly triggered a nuclear disaster. After cooling water was lost andtemperatures rose above 5.000 degrees, the top half of the reactors 150 ton core collapsed and melted. Contaminated coolant water escaped into a nearby building, releasing radioactive gasses, leading as many as 200,000 people to flee the region.
There are thought to be at least 430 infant deaths at this time. This just shows how out of hand the material can get if it is not closely supervised at all times. One little mess up and it could do as much damage as to destroy a whole area up to 100's of miles so that no one could even step ground there for the rest of their lives. More present day accidents include this one in February of 1993 where a reactor in New Jersey was averted by just 90 seconds when the plant was shut down manually, following the failure of automatic shutdown systems to act properly. The same automatic systems had failed to respond in an incident 3 days before, and other problems plagued this plant as well, such as a 3,000 gallon leak of radioactive water in June 1981.
A 23,000 gallon a radioactive water also splashed into 16 workers and killed them all within hours of contact. There have also been a few accidents where atomic bombs were dropped while armed during transfer. In one case, a fully armed missile was accidentally dropped 17 feet from a crane in Scotland during a transfer operation between a submarine and its mothership. This is thought to have killed all of the crews. The missile did not have full effect because it was relatively closed to the ground.
On January 13, 1964, a B-52 bomber with active nuclear bombs crashed in Maryland killing 18 people in a rural area. This shows that these bombs were not properly equipped in the early stages of their production. They later came up with remote setinators that made it able to activate these bombs after release. This meant that it was not as harmful for the detonators because the bomb would not be activated until it had been deployed. There are also some precautions that can be taken so that these accidents cannot harm those that have been working around it.
One of these is for minor accidents and spills without radiational hazard to the personnel. In the case of this type of accident youshould first confine the spill and post that the spill area is in that particular place. To confine this, you should wear protective gloves and drop absorbent paper on the spill. Second, you should damp wipe the proper solvent, taking care not to spread contamination. Then you should decontaminate the spill. After all that, you should monitor all of those involved in the spill and clean up operations.
Finally, a copy of the written report of this spill shall be sent to the Safety Office. For major accidents and spills involving a radiation hazard to personnel you should notify all persons not involved in the spill to evacuate the room at once. The personnel not involved in the accident should give first aid to any injured person. Then they should evacuate the room and then monitor themselves and decontaminate if necessary. After that they should notify the Safety Office that the spill has happened and the conditions of those that were involved in the spill.
Finally, there are accidents involving radioactive dusts, mists, fumes, organic vapors and gasses. First of all, if you are involved in this type of accident, you should hold your breath and do whatever is possible to confine the activity as time permits. Then you should notify all other persons to vacate the room immediately. To vacate the room you should close the door and remain in the doorway, remove protective clothing and monitor or be monitored thoroughly for contamination. If skin or hair is significantlycontaminated, proceed to adjacent radioisotope laboratory and begin decontamination. The Radiation Safety Officer will take nasal smears and saliva samples.
Then you should make sure that all of the doors and passageways to the contaminated area are closed and properly sealed. You should do all to prevent that these doors are not accidentally opened. Make sure that all personnel is kept in one area until all are monitored. Then, use protective clothing and respiratory protection to evaluate contamination. Plan thedecontamination procedure and assemble decontamination equipment.
Do not decontaminate until plans have been worked out, the required equipment has been obtained and the Radiation Officer has authorized the clean up. Decontaminate the area working from "clean" to "warm" to "hot" areas. Prepare a complete written history of theaccident and subsequent events. All of the procedures listed above are there for the safety of all people that worked on the clean up.Citation PageWorld Book Dictionary: Clearence L. Barnhart, World Book Inc., Chicago, 1984 World Book Encyclopedia: Scott Fitzgerald, World Book Inc., Chicago, 1984.
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