AdrianG (adriang) wrote,

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The difficulty of Making Nuclear Bombs

CNN is showing some kind of program about terrorism, right now, and one of the people they've interviewed said something to suggest that it was not all that difficult to construct a nuclear bomb. I think this person was wrong.

Nuclear bombs are very difficult to design. The technical problems faced by someone trying to construct such a device are staggering and are too complicated for me to cover here. But I have read about them in a book called "Critical Assembly : A Technical History of Los Alamos during the Oppenheimer Years, 1943-1945". This book does not provide the kinds of techical details about the solutions to problems faced by those on "Project Y" to tell the reader how to construct a nuclear device; But, it does give enough detail about those problems to impress the reader with just how difficult these devices were to design. After reading this book, I am convinced that it is very unlikely that a terrorist organization cannot successfully design a nuclear bomb without a great deal of money, the protection of a government, and a high risk of being detected by Western nations. But if you're worried that I'm wrong, read the book, yourself. I think you'll find it convincing.

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