Glasstone's errors in The Effects of Nuclear Weapons, and the strategic implication for deterrence. Realistic effects and credible nuclear weapon capabilities for deterring or stopping aggressive invasions and attacks which could escalate into major conventional or nuclear wars.

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

The lack of any credible deterrence led to the invasion of Ukraine by Russia today, 22 02 2022 (updated)

ABOVE: Russian nuclear weaponeer Boris Vasilyevich Litvinov explaining how the world's smallest diameter nuclear artillery shell and allegedly cleanest thermonuclear weapon work to President Putin on 30 March 2000, during his visit to VNIITF at Snezhinsk, Russia. (President Putin wrote on his filmed entry on the Visitor's Book at VNIITF Snezhinsk - screen print of the entry is included later below in Russian - "The biggest danger facing Russia and the whole world is the violation of the balance of power at the cost of huge efforts and sacrifices to the Soviet. The Union managed to achieve a balance of great merit in this, due to your team together. We are obliged not only to maintain the existing achievements but also to achieve new frontiers relying on the talent and courage of our scientists. With hope and love, Vladimir Vladimirovich, March 31, 2000". This is from the film the lab put out in 2005, and we include a selection of stills from it. We're not as yet entirely sure of the reason for the possible discrepancy in dates of Putin's visit, 30 and 31 March 2000, from different sources. It is obviously possible Putin stayed overnight, arriving on 30 March 2000, and signed the visitor's book when leaving the next day.) Peace through credible war deterrence. The worthless Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances signed Russia, UK and Ukraine on 5 December 1994 led the way to the removal of the war-preventing nuclear deterrent from Ukraine: the liars claimed like the 1930s Nazis that signatures on paper would guarantee survival, not deterrence. OK, you edit a TV show or paper, and you think this is not relevant to today's problems faced by the person in the street unless Putin actually presses the button. You're a liar if you claim this. Paying higher energy prices? It's due to nuclear disarmament liars allowing Putin to start the war, cutting energy supplies to Europe, driving up prices. Like the disarmament of the UK up to 1935 (and slower rearmament thereafter, to avoid provoking a tantrum from Nazis, in the name of "peaceful coexistence" with state terrorism and racism), Ukraine's nuclear disarmament from 1994-8 guaranteed war, not peace; it gave the green card to the supporter of enemy disarmament, Russia. Nazis in the 1930s pushed for Western disarmament in the name of "peaceful" gas chamber genocide and "peaceful" invasions without opposition (because their enemies had disarmed), just as the thugs do today. As you'll see below in this post, this is not "news". It's the regular, repeating, trick used to by bankrupt dictatorships to start world wars: get your enemies to disarm then invade neighbours with impunity!

ABOVE: from 1992-8, Russia pushed for Ukraine (which has excellent nuclear competence, having Europe's largest nuclear power station, which could have been used to irradiate lithium to produce tritium for independent maintenance of nuclear warheads), to disarm its extensive nuclear warheads using its Cold War traditional Russian supported hypocritical "peace through nuclear disarmament" propaganda movements in the Western media and Western politics (including the current US president) and in 1994 signed a peace guarantee to protect Ukraine's borders, with the UK and USA. Many of us were worried that this was a recipe for a future world war should Russia's attempt at reform fail, leading to a decision to rebuild the USSR starting with the biggest component outside Russia, i.e. Ukraine. At the same time, Boris Yeltsin and the Russian nuclear labs were producing a new generation of tactical nuclear weapons to counter and cancel US conventional weapons, according to a secret-classified 2000 CIA report (linked here). "During Putin's mobilization announcement, he[Putin] also threatened to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine, baselessly accused Western countries of provoking him with "nuclear blackmail," and said his remarks weren't a bluff. Russia has the world's largest nuclear arsenal, equipped with both tactical nuclear weapons as well as strategic nuclear weapons, which would be used against cities. "Russians that I keep in touch within Russia are convinced he's going to go nuclear," [ex-CIA agent] Baer told CNN. "I don't know how well-connected they are, but this threat — it was a threat initially — but the more trouble he's in, the more likely he's going to use nuclear weapons"." - Business Insider, 27 September 2022, Ex-CIA officer says Putin is 'completely cornered' and the chances of his using tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine are increasing 'by the day'. "The US and its allies would eradicate Russia’s military troops in Ukraine and sink its Black Sea fleet if Vladimir Putin uses nuclear weapons, said former CIA director David Petraeus." - US would destroy Russia’s entire army if Putin use nukes in Ukraine, says former CIA director, The Independent, 3 October 2022. Nobody believes Petraeus because Putin has already made clear he will start start off with a Fourth Protocol style false-flag (contrived) nuclear attack on a Russian supply dump or whatever in Ukraine, pretend that is an enemy attack, and use that as a basis to "retaliate" using nuclear weapons. This is actually a very old diplomatic "fog of war" tactic, which President Kennedy's brother Robert referred to as "sinking the Maine again", in a taped discussion on 16 October 1962, when he considered it during the Cuban Missiles Crisis as a possible false-flag "justification" for invading Cuba to remove those Russian nuclear weapons. (The USS Maine was sunk, supposedly by a Cuban mine, in Havana Harbor on February 15, 1898, and was used to "justify" the American war with Spain in April.) As a pretext for war, this doesn't matter a dime from the perspective of whether the West believes it. It's just about creating an iota of doubt to enable it to violate agreements. Similarly, Russia has never admitted the lethal attacks with Po-210 (UK, 2006) or Novichok (UK, 2018). It's not about whether the West believes any of it. It's purely about Russian bureaucracy. The more evil there is, the more fake justification. (The Nazis were also obsessed with generating fake justifications by diplomatic bureaucracy to excuse genocide and invasions; this always seems to be about trying to go down in history as holier-than-holy.)

ABOVE: the Russian instrumentation and target array methodology on their first nuclear test (RDS1, 21 kt on a 37.5 m high tower, 1949) was far more extensive than any Western nuclear test ever conducted, and animals were successfully used to determine the protective factors of shelters and trenches against the combined blast and radiation environment, proof testing almost the entire Russian nuclear civil defense system (it continued to do this at later tests up to and including the 1955 1.6 megaton shot; see the data summary in the DTRA commissioned report Animal Effects from Soviet Atmospheric Nuclear Tests by V. A. Logachev and V. A. Mikhalikhina of the VNIIEF, Sarov - the protective factor of a structure is the ratio of the percentage of animals surviving in a structure, compared to unprotected controls - which are unfortunately lumped together for different tests with varying yields and distance ranges to avoid secrecy here). The cost of setting up the 1949 nuclear test site with its 14 target array sectors around ground zero out to 10 km radius was 185,000,000 rubles, including a 560 km cable network which was damaged by the unexpected EMP effect. Key American nuclear test effects data on simple trensh and earth covered emergency shelters is still classified secret, since it comes within the bureaucratic province of military structures. America's secret EM-1, Capabilities of Nuclear Weapons, Chapter 15, Damage to Structures, revised in April 1993, Tables 15.17 and 15.18 in Northrop's 1996 compressed book summary, states that such 6x8 ft military command post and hardened-frame/fabric personnel shelters with 4 feet of earth cover, all require 30, 50 and 60 psi peak overpressure for 50% probability of light, moderate and severe damage, respectively. Northrop's Table 14.1, Combat Ineffectiveness for Personnel in an Open Two-Man Foxhole (2 x 6 x 4.5 ft) side-on the blast wave shows 50% combat ineffectiveness at 37 psi peak overpressure for a 0.01 kt and 29 psi for yields of 0.1 kt to 1 Mt (so the clean or enhanced neutron bomb is needed for credible deterrence, not just the low-yield option on high yield dial-a-yield weapons that produce trivial neutron doses). These American nuclear test data derived statistics are similar to T. K. Jones' figures - discussed later in detail in this blog post - for the excellent nuclear war survival of Russian expedient blast/fallout shelters. Figure 15.62, Basic vulnerability chart for tunnels in rock, however, shows that tunnel shelters in granite/hard rock, with a highly deformable composite lining between the rock and the tunnel lining (bags full of metal chips for instance were used by T. K. Jones to shock-protect sensitive equipment in successful tests) survive at just 650 feet or 200 metres from 1 megaton yield.

ABOVE: the report on the radiation shielding by simple, quick, and cheap US Civil War, WWI and WWII-style trench shelters exposed at the UK Hurricane nuclear test in 1952 was classified Secret, although it states in paragraph 13.1.1: "The experiments described in this section show that slit trenches provide a considerable measure of protection from the gamma flash. From the point of view of Service and Civil Defence authorities this is one of the most important results of the trial." This cover-up even after the data is declassified ensures that in a nuclear attack, many people kill be needlessly killed. Thugs believe this will help disarmament propaganda or other propaganda rubbish that totally failed when tried out prior to WWII. Despite this hard-won data being recognised for its importance for civil defence, this data was never published in any UK civil defence manual, handbook or advertisement, and is still covered up, like the rest of the taxpayer funded nuclear test research. When you combine such simple shelters for essential key workers in target areas with crisis evacuation (or "relocation" if "evacuation" is too invocative of September 1939) for the remainder of a city, you achieve a credible war survival strategy that undermines strategic nuclear deterrence. (An enemy can still bomb an evacuated, sheltered city to cause building damage and contamination, but historically this just backfires, increasing the morale and determination of the opponent to fight back.) America for long used secret data from the 1945 combat attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki as its primary data source, classifying the detailed 6-volume Strategic Bombing Survey reports from nuclear use in Japan Secret, and never publishing them or releasing them on the internet (it did not want Russia to have the information), and it did not need to expose a house to a nuclear blast wave until 1951 at Operation Greenhouse. This backfired due to the direct information Russia obtained from its own nuclear tests. (Similarly, Britain obtained independent data debunking American anti-civil defence propaganda lies on survival in flattened houses, which it used to the horror of Russian biased arms control and disarmament folk; the CND style liars simply claimed falsely that faked style American "data" somehow was more reliable than proof tested British data, whose origin was classified secret due to the Marxist infiltrated British bureaucacy which behaved basically as more subtle, even more effective Russian military propaganda front than the better known Cambridge Spy Ring; this thuggery on nuclear weapons capabilities in the UK media continues to this day via Corbyn et al., who are "respected" on nuclear lies by all UK leading "civil defence historians", "cold war historians" and related propagandarists who know nothing about the nuclear effects secrecy problem.) Recent official publications by the designers themselves of the latest Russian thermonuclear warhead designs, shows equally high quality research, contrary to popular misconceptions.

ABOVE: Secret 1956 USSR order to equip their 8000 km range R-7 ICBM with their 2 megaton warhead with 2900 kg mass (the warhead mass quoted is the important secret, since it is the payload for the missile, and was previously secret), based on their 1.6 megaton 22 November 1955 test at Semipalatinsk. This report states that their previous 400 kt tested yield 1953 hydrogen bomb design (Teller's externally-pit-boosted or single-stage Alarm Clock RDS-6s) would require a mass of 3400 kg to yield 1.5 megatons, so the lighter new two-stage design increased the R-7 missile range by 200-300 km. (The 1955 design's yield-to-mass ratio was a strong function of yield, about 0.5M0.45 kt/kg where M is megatons, so it became worse if miniaturised, but massively improved at higher yields, achieving a possible 4 kt/kg if scaled to 100 megatons for 25 metric tons mass. Thus, they could make it bigger with benefits, but not smaller.) That was the only megaton range test at Semipalatinsk because further high yield tests there were banned after it destroyed the local meat processing factory. Yuri A. Trutnev (First Deputy Scientific Director of RFNC-VNIIEF) explains how a 500 kt yield limit was imposed on Semipalatinsk after the 1955 test of 1.6 megatons caused damage: "it was recommended to put into service a certain [double-primary] version of the product. And so, one of the products was delivered to the Semipalatinsk test site for testing, a product developed under the guidance of Evgeny Ivanovich Zababakhin. He claimed that the power of the explosion would be on the order of 0.5-0.6 megatons. I note that at that time there was a ban on carrying out explosions with a capacity of more than 0.5, because as a result of an explosion with a capacity of 1.5 megatons, the Semipalatinsk meat processing plant was destroyed. And here we are, no weather, nothing to do, I decided to read the reports. I took Zababakhin's report, I compare the calculations with ours, and I see: yes, there is not 0.5, not 0.9, all 1.5 megatons should work out there! I could be silent, but if 1.5 megatons will again “destroy” the meat processing plant? At one of the meetings, I reported this to the test leader. As Zababakhin fell on me: “This is a disgrace, this is not the case, this is ugly! You specifically say to remove our bomb from the tests. Honest people don't do that!" I suggested: "Let's see together." He did not look at anything, slammed the door and left. And it's good that they didn't try it! Because the next year in the north we blew up our version of the product and received about 0.6-0.8 megatons. On the occasion of our success, they poured me a glass of cognac: “For the victory!” It is noteworthy that it was February 23, 1958, the day of the Red Army. In the same year, 1958, we began to prepare the next session on the basis of the 49th project. There were attempts to delay the tests, and the ministry had no desire to test products of lower power. ... And they tried it, and everything worked out. This development subsequently became the most important basis for improving the thermonuclear arsenal of our country." In addition to moving to double-primary theormonuclear weapon design, they also finally conducted their first ever gaseous tritium and deuterium boosted plutonium pit primary stage test on 28 December 1957, yielding an "amazing" 12 kt (below).

ABOVE: how to uniformly compress a secondary fusion stage using x-rays without problems from the reduced x-ray intensity on the side of the secondary which is furthest from the primary stage (due to the "x-ray shadow" created by self-shielding on the secondary's far-side from the fission primary stage, by x-ray shielding due to the presence of the secondary stage itself). This problem has several possible solutions which are discussed in detail later in this post, including quotations from the actual Russian nuclear weapons designers articles and declassified reports. On April 10 and 16, 1957, Russia tested shaped "two-foam" thermonuclear designs (which made the single-foam 1955 design obsolete), yielding 680 and 320 kt, respectively. The final R-7 warhead design, RDS-46A, was proof-tested on October 6, 1957, yielding 2.9 megatons. (Since elongated secondary aka thermonuclear stages become spheres when subjected to linear implosion from two primaries, or two two-stage thermonuclear devices as in the 50 megatons Tsar Bomba and lower yield cleaner devices, and since pear or egg shaped secondary stages become spheres when properly compressed by the anisotropic x-ray exposure from a single primary in devices without foam equalizers filling the case, we will generally depict secondaries as being spheres later in this post; even when they are elongated prior to compression.) It turns out that the first Russian two-stage device tested in late 1955 with 1.6 megatons yield (it was designed to give 1 megaton) had a secondary stage which was a sphere when compressed (it may however have been egg or pear shaped prior to compression, as shown above, in order to allow for the anisotropy of x-ray delivery to a spherically-compressed secondary stage when using a single primary, without the use of a foam filling to disperse x-rays to a uniform energy density throughout the case). The designer testimony (Yuri Trutnev) states that the secondary stage used in 1955 had a low-density ablative material layer (e.g. beryllium metal, or plastic foam) around it (not filling the entire radiation case, unlike Western designs with spherical secondary stages).

Yuri Trutnev: "I knew that when they explode, a lot of energy comes out in the form of x-rays. And I began to think about how to make it so that the thermonuclear charge is overlaid with a light substance - "coating", these can be chemical elements with a low number, having very good thermal conductivity, and with the help of X-ray radiation from the explosion of the primary atomic charge "coating" heat up. At the same time, its substance would evaporate outward, towards the radiation, and as a result, as during the movement of a rocket, a reactive impulse would be created, directed into the secondary charge and creating the pressure necessary for effective compression of the thermonuclear "fuel"." (The day after seeing that successful 1955 test, Yuri Trutnev told his colleague Yuri Nikolaevich Babaev another idea, the idea for using two primaries, one on each side of the secondary stage, which was assigned product number 49, weaponised by the deputy director of the lab, and air drop tested on February 23, 1958, becoming the basis for today's cheap thermonuclar warheads made by Russia; all of this will be discussed later in detail in this blog post, since .) This would have caused a far gentler (slower) compression of the secondary stage than when using a dense U238 or lead ablator, thus increasing what Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory weaponeer Nuckolls calls "approximately isentropic" (unchanged entropy) shock compression, which is more efficient since more of the compression energy remains in compressive mechanical work, rather than being turned into heat energy (you want the secondary stage to be as compressed as much as possible without wasting that energy as heat; heat is generated by fission in the compressed oralloy layer or the spark plug core of the secondary stage, or in clean secondary stages, in fusion of D+T gas in the core, following its extreme, isentropic compression, as used by Russia from 1965 for more efficient thermonuclear weapons).

ABOVE: the Russian 1955 thermonuclear weapon with a low density ablator is similar to a system described for evaluation purposes in a declassified 2011 Jason report, Hydrodynamic and Nuclear Experiments (JSR-11-340, Secret-Restricted Data before deletions such as the deletion shown above) on pages 72-3 compares the shock compression versus the isentropic compression of beryllium coated plutonium pits in nuclear weapons by different shapes of x-ray energy pulse. It notes on page 21: "The National Ignition Facility [NIF] utilizes laser drive to compress samples using shock or quasi-isentropic compression [Emphasis added], potentially to in excess of 100 Mbar. Currently, samples have been ramp compressed to 50 Mbar. It can also be used to explore high strain rates (up to 107 /s). It has not yet been qualified to handle Pu, but has provided important data on surrogates such as Ta." Shock compression is an abrupt hammer-blow produced by a fast-rising, brief pulse of x-ray energy, whereas the less abruptly rising pulse of isentropic compression is a reversible adiabatic pressure wave such as sound waves, which for high energy densities must be produced by a more gradually ramping, longer pulse of increasing energy density; this increases the proportion of the energy in kinetic energy of particles (dynamic pressure) rather than in internal energy (overpressure and heating). Pure isentropic compression would violate thermodynamic physics, but quasi-isentropic compression is possible. A simple analogy is hitting a door with a hammer blow, versus gently pushing a door closed. Hitting the door wastes some energy in sound waves, oscillations, and heating, causing a large, abrupt and wasteful rise in the entropy of the system, whereas a gentle push maximises the fraction of delivered energy which goes into kinetic energy of motion of the door causing it to pick up momentum efficiently and swing in the desired direction, minimising the energy wasted as sound, oscillations and heating. For a gas, isentropic flow does not imply that temperature is constant, only that entropy is constant:

ABOVE:We can get rid of the natural logarithms in this isentropic solution, Cvln (T/T0) = -R ln (V/V0), by raising both sides to become powers of the base, e, thus: T/T0 = (V/V0) exp(-R/Cv) = (V/V0) exp(1 - gamma). Nuckolls et al provide the idealized equation for the x-ray delivery rate of energy required for isentropic compression of the secondary (fusion) stage in nuclear explosives, in a paper openly pubished in Nature, v239, p139, 1972 (extract is linked here): (1 - t)-1.875 where the 1.875 is from 3{gamma}/{gamma + 1} = 15/8, gamma being the ratio of the specific heat capacity at constant pressure to that at constant volume, for dense hydrogen with degenerate electrons (where gamma = 5/3), and t is time measured in units where 1 unit of time is the time taken for the shock wave to reach the centre of the secondary stage. You can't ever achieve this idealized isentropic energy rate, but you can do your best (any movement of the curve from an abrupt shock to a gentler rise increases the isentropic conpression contribution relative to shock compression, so it is not true that you need a "perfect" fit to the idealized isentropic pulse delivery curve, which approaches infinity in the asymptotic end limit anyway!), and Dr John Nuckolls successfully proof tested this "Ripple" concept with multimegaton 99% clean atmospheric nuclear tests during Operation Dominic in 1962, which will be discussed in detail later. The quasi-isentropic compression in the 1955 Russian thermonuclear test with a low-density x-ray ablator rather than the high-density ablators used by America, may account for the fact the yield was 60% greater than predicted (presumably the prediction ignored isentropic compression): 1.6 megatons measured, versus 1.0 megaton prediction. Since the Russians did not use tritium plus deuterium gas in the core of their secondary stage in 1955, the contribution of isentropic compression was probably marginal, but the low-density ablator would have come into its own when Russia placed deuterium plus tritium gas into the core of the fusion charge in their 27 October 1966 test, yielding 700 kt. Russian has always prided itself on over-educating its population in advanced physics (poster below).

Our point here is just that the Russians seem to have replicated the TWO key features of the isentropic Ripple design (a low density ablator to replace a dense ablator, and T+D gas in the core of the fusion charge) and compressed these into smaller devices for MIRV warheads (an approach rejected by the USA, despite its rhetorical use to attack Russian competence, by AEC Chairman and plutonium discoverer Glenn T. Seaborg in a tape-recorded secret response to President Kennedy's question of what Russian nuclear warhead designers would make of the secrets of the American thermonuclear warheads; this issue will be discussed further, later in this blog post). Isentropic compression nuclear warhead design details were declassified because of its alleged relevance to "clean nuclear fusion power" pipe dreams. In reality, this is purely clean nuclear weapons research, because to make it efficiently generate electric power you'd need to be setting off huge H-bombs regularly to generate significant heat to justify the expense! The declassified 1955 two-stage Russian thermonuclear case design was called by the Russians "pear-shaped", possibly due to the fact that a pear-shaped secondary stage, when compressed by the anisotropic x-ray environment produced by a single fission primary stage, becomes an ideal sphere with maximum fusion burn efficiency (above) for that single primary design (without a foam x-ray diffusive equalizer, which slows down the x-ray ablative secondary stage coupling mechanism, thus increasing the number of neutrons that arrive in the secondary stage prior to full compression, leading to the need for a neutron shielding interstage to prevent pre-detonation of an oralloy loaded secondary).

ABOVE: the American problem with discarding the 1962 isentropic breakthrough and instead using an expensive highly-enriched U235 aka "oralloy" ablative "pusher" (external spark plug around the fusion fuel capsule in the secondary stage of classic cylindrical shaped American two-stage devices), to increase the yield-to-mass ratio for compact nuclear weapons like the B61 and its alleged smaller derivative the W80, is the critical mass of the oralloy pusher. You can't put a whole load of U235 concentrated in the bomb's secondary stage to give a huge yield, or it is critical (and you have a nuclear reactor, not a bomb!). One solution to this critical mass issue in secondary stages, particularly for cylindrical secondary stages, is for relatively small rings of oralloy to be separated by larger diameter neutron absorbing "washers" of, say uranium-238 or possibly lithium deuteride (above right; oralloy is colored blue, U238 washers are white), as suggested by the declassified nuclear weapons film, Developing and Producing the B-61 (see 10 minutes, 7 seconds into the video - screenshot below - where the B61's entire secondary stage assembly is seen undergoing "criticality studies of the nuclear assembly", and compared to 12 minutes 21 seconds where the partial assembly components of both pit and secondary stage are displayed). This film also shows an axial rod through the centre of the secondary stage and an x-ray baffle separator in the middle of the secondary stage, which we will ignore for the present. Teller's original "sausage" secondary concept was for a series of secondary stages connected like sausages, x-ray irradiated and imploded one at a time, with baffles separating them, because if there was just one very long cylinder, the axial fissile spark in will be initially compressed properly only near the primary, and then will pre-detonate itself along the remainder of the spark plug before the remainder of the secondary has been compressed (the x-rays may go a light velocity in a vacuum, but the compression of the secondary, whether by shock or isentropic, is much slower!). Details of the axial central rod through the B61 secondary stage are shown below, in stills from the same declassified film.

The alternating rings along the secondary stage in this design makes the surface area of the secondary stage rippled, a concept that increases its surface area for absorption of x-rays, which was the original motivation for Teller's ambitious but failed 1954 Morgenstein (spiked secondary stage Operation Castle shot 3) nuclear test at Bikini Atoll. Even excluding the issue with computing and achieving the geometry of isotropic compression of a sphere by radiation from a single primary, Teller at first did not want the spherical secondary stage (used by Russia in 1955) in American nuclear weapons, because the soft 1-10 keV x-rays that couple energy between stages are absorbed in a very thin surface layer of the secondary, so the surface area of the secondary stage is crucial, and is minimised (not maximised) for a spherical shape. This means that, because a sphere mathematically has the MINIMUM surface area to volume ratio of any shape, a sphere absorbs the MINIMUM possible fraction of the x-rays from the primary stage. So the sphere is the WORST design possible, if you want to maximise the coupling of x-rays to the secondary stage. This is not speculative or a matter of secret computer designs of classified weaponry: it is very simple mathematically for a kid to prove that far more x-ray energy will be absorbed by the inside of the weapon casing than on the outer surface of a spherical secondary stage. Teller's Livermore laboratory, however, even in 1954 at the Morgenstein test of Castle, tried to get around this problem of the small surface area absorption of soft x-rays by the surface of a sphere, by hugely increasing the surface area of the "sphere" by making its surface "spiked" or convoluted so it will absorb a larger fraction of the x-ray energy from the primary stage. This may also improve the stability of axial compression in a cylindrical secondary stage, where (unlike early designs like Mike in 1952) a very small primary (5 kt unboosted or 10 kt boosted) is used to axially compress just a very small part of the secondary stage near the primary stage in an x-ray radiation channel confined by a seabreeze x-ray baffle foam.

In the Mike "sausage" and other earlier Castle nuclear designs, x-ray baffling foam was not used in this way to fill most of the case and create a radiation channel confining the initial fusion burn region, but was just used as Teller's "x-ray mirror" (a layer of plastic hammered on the the lead lining of the steel case with nails, to reflect some x-ray energy back on the secondary stage, and to prevent high-Z lead ablation debris quickly filling the radiation channel and killing the coupling). So it appears the Mike "sausage" design required a larger yield primary stage to compress the entire clyinder, whereas the use of x-ray attenuating foam to limit initial exposure of the secondary stage to a few rings near the primary, reduces the size of the required primary. Once the fusion burn begins in a limited part of the secondary, it releases x-rays which then help to compress and ignite fusion in the remainder (this is the brains of the American secondary design, requiring very sophisticated computer modelling as well as back-up nuclear testing to verify them). A declassified film of the B61 shows the secondary stage of the B61 (and presumably its scaled down version, the W80) being tested, a rippled cylinder with rounded shielding end caps (below). This appears to be an entirely different concept to Russian nuclear warhead design.

Another option, which the Russians first tested very successfully in 1958, is to simply put two smaller fission primary stages into a radiation case, one on each opposite side of the fusion capsule, as shown below, with the two sets of neutron initiator tubes and detonators, corrected in parallel circuits - there is a delay between conventional explosives and neutron guns firing to allow for the time it takes to compress the fissile cores - via high-current, fast vacuum tube switches called krytrons. However, Britain and America (for reasons discussed later, below) completely ignored this possibility, and the American Los Alamos nuclear weapons designer of devices Scorpion, Hamlet, Viper, Davy Crockett and King, Dr Theodore Taylor, dismissed the key Russian double-primary thermonuclear warhead design when presented with it by author John McPhee: "'The shape tells you a lot about H-bomb design,' Taylor said again. 'But not enough.' I drew a sketch of a hydrogen bomb showing a cylinder full of thermonuclear fuel, with two fission bombs, one at each end ... he said, 'Nice try, but that is not what happens'." (This quote from J. McPhee, The Curve of Binding Energy, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, NY, 1974, p149. This dismissive error was then repeated again in response to Chuck Hansen's 27 August 1979 letter to Senator Charles Percy of Illinois, which contained the diagram shown below, which Howard Morland dismisses incorrectly in his book, The secret that Exploded. This casual dismissal of double primary designs may well mean American efforts to deduce Russian nuclear weapon design from fallout samples by analogy to the designs America tested in the past, were plain wrong. Certainly, Russia tested two-stage, single-primary weapons; but their most compact efficient designs are provably double-primary for 0.1-1 megaton yields and use two thermonuclear stages for both cleaner and 1-100 megaton-yield fusion tertiary stages.)

On 23 February 1958, Russia tested the new, radical Babaev-Trutnev compact design of thermonuclear weapon (above; detailed documentary evidence from multiple sources is provided later in this post), a pipe containing a spherical fusion stage sandwiched between two fission (primary) implosion charges, wired in parallel circuit for simultaneous firing via a krytron high speed, high current vacuum tube switch. This was a relatively small diameter 860 kiloton deliverable thermonuclear weapon, weaponised by Vladimir Fyodorovich Grechishnikov (Deputy Chief Designer of VNIITF, Snezhinsk) and detonated at 2500m altitude (the long range American detectors, which were less accurate than close-in Russian instrumentation, suggested that this Russian test 52, codenamed "Joe 46" by America, had a yield of 1.2 megatons and a burst height of 3200m). Litvinov gives details of the development of this bomb into modern Russian nuclear weapons in his report to the 3rd Historical Conference on the History of the Nuclear Weapons Complex of Russia, Snezhinsk, June 16-19, 1998, Development of Nuclear Charges at the RFNC-VNIIFT (1963-1976) (first published on pages 135-145 of his book, Nuclear energy is not only for military application, published by the Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Ekaterinburg, 2002, and now available online on pages 536-547 of his Selected Works, published by VNIITF, Snezhinsk in 2014, linked here:,0/, whose page numbering we will quote from in the list of key Russian nuclear weapons design developments, below). Litvinov there explains that:

(1) between 1963-76 Russian nuclear charge designs were mastered for cheap factory mass production (serial production).

(2) the very high yield 1961-2 Russian nuclear tests of 20-50 megatons yield far exceeded the practical weight for missile warheads that could be delivered by affordable missiles, and when both Russian nuclear weapons labs (Sarov and Snezhinsk) tried to scale those designs down to give ~1 megaton from 300-500 kg mass, the results (quote from page 538 follows, emphasis added): "in 1961-1962 were not crowned with success and this worried the military and the developers themselves. It turned out that it is easier to create powerful charges [20-50 megatons] than less powerful [~1 megaton] ones, that have a weight restriction [300-500kg mass]." Reports in recent years however indicate that President Putin has brought back into production the 1961 designs for the tested 50 Mt (lead fusion capsule pusher) or untested 100 Mt (natural uranium fusion capsule pusher) version, to be used in his 32 Kanyon or "Ocean Multipurpose System Status-6" 24 m long, 2 m diameter, 100 ton nuclear underwater torpedo submarine drones, propelled by a nuclear reactor at up to 100 knots, with an operating depth up to 1000 m. This was announced by Putin on 1 March 2018 (below).

(3) To make progress with compact ~1 Mt warheads for missiles, they improved the fission primary stage designs, testing plastic explosive for implosion for the first time in February 1964, and then "octogen" (known in the West as the explosive HMX) for the first time by Russia in the 280mm diameter calibre nuclear shell tested on 19 October 1966 (Russian nuclear test 256, yielding 55kt), which "more than doubled" (page 545 quote) the yield of that device, due to the greater core compression achieved by using a better chemical explosive. This is also of course of great importance to Russian thermonuclear weapons of higher yield, since more efficient primary stages release more x-rays and therefore enable greater fusion charge compression, giving a more efficient fusion burn.

(4) They also improved the fusion charge design radically in 1965 by inserting tritium-deuterium gas into the hollow core of their fusion capsule (i.e. boosting the fusion capsule for the first time), which both improved the efficiency of their thermonuclear weapons, and also made possible cleaner devices (with greater fusion capsule compression due to their improved primary stages, they could replace a fissile spark plug neutron source inside the LiD charge with neutrons from tritium + deuterium fusion, which then fission lithium in the surrounding solid LiD, producing more tritium), allowing the testing of the cleanest ever 140 kt Russian thermonuclear test at Semipalatinsk on 10 December 1972, which had fully 10 times lower fission product radioactivity than the earlier similar 140 kt total yield (of which about 6 kt was fission) relatively clean test of 15 January 1965 at Chagan River (these data are from pages 541-542). In other words, they achieved well over 99% fusion yield (under 1% fission) in their 10 December 1972 test of 140 kt total yield (illustration of Russian >99% clean bomb design is shown below)!

ABOVE: the world’s first nuclear explosion-created freshwater lake, Lake Chagan. It was produced on 15 January 1965 at the edge of the Semipalatinsk Test Site in Kazakhstan using a 140 kt (96% fusion, 4% fission) thermonuclear weapon, detonated 178 m underground in saturated siltstone (12% water), employing only 6 kt of fission in two primary stages of 3 kt each. About 80% of the radioactivity was trapped underground and only 20% escaped into the atmosphere. The crater is 408 m in diameter and 100 m deep. The dose rate on the crater lip at 30 years after detonation was reported as 2.6 mR/hr, i.e. about 260 times the Earth’s average natural background radiation level of 0.010 mR/hr, with the lake water in the crater containing just 300 pCi/litre. On the 10 October 1965, they detonated a 1.1 kt nuclear bomb at 48 m depth in weak siltstone rock under the dry clay bed of the Sary-Uzen stream. The crater produced was initially 107 m in diameter and 31 m deep, but when flooded it slumped to 20 m depth and 124 m diameter. Some 96.5% of the fission products were trapped underground, and the crater lip had a dose rate of only about 2.5 R/hr at 5 days after detonation, decaying to 0.050 mR/hr (including natural background) at 30 years later. (Data source: Milo D. Nordyke, The Soviet Program for Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Explosions, Lawrence Livermore National Lab., UCRL-ID-124410, July 1996, pp. 13-15.)

(5) In the later chapter, "Exploding Deuterium", Litvinov clarifies that although Russia failed to initiate the fusion of pure deuterium in its nuclear weapon tests, Russia succeeded in pure deuterium fusion, provided that the deuterium charge was ignited by prior fusion from a larger mass of deuterium + tritium. In other words, in clean weapons, they can boost the total energy from expensive T+D fusion by adding a smaller additional stage of cheaper pure deuterium fuel; this smaller deuterium stage size compensates for the fact that pure deuterium requires a higher burn temperature. (That chapter also examines the use of uranium-233 in nuclear weapons, which is made in reactors by irradiating thorium-232 with neutrons. There is an important storage problem, since Litvinov states that this uranium-233 is contaminated by 0.1% uranium-232, which has an alpha decay chain which includes thallium-208, which releases high energy 2.6 and 0.6 MeV gamma rays, so that a year after production, a mass of 1 kg of U233 or 1 g of U232 gives a gamma dose rate of 10 R/hour at 50 centimetres distance. This makes U233 weapons very difficult to service safely!)

(6) A 2005 film (embedded above, and linked on YouTube here) by the Snezhinsk nuclear weapons lab about their nuclear weapon "products" (extensive stills from this film are reproduced below, showing the range of nuclear missile, bomb and cannon shell warheads they developed) adds further information on how Russia managed to reduce the weight of its MIRV nuclear warheads. Translating from the Russian voice narrative commentary of the film: "a Russian patent was obtained for the design of the [thermonuclear weapon casing or] container by the specialists of the two institutes under the leadership of Petrov. In close cooperation with the Institute of Superplasticity of Metals, the city of Ufa, a new technology was developed for manufacturing multi-profile parts from hard-to-form alloys based on nickel-titanium and aluminum using the effect of superplasticity. ... the new technology makes it possible to reduce the weight and increase the strength of parts, and for their manufacture to use hard-to-deform superalloys. ... Product 244 was the first mass-produced atomic small-sized bomb for equipping front-line aircraft weighing 55 times less than the mass of the product 202. Product 245 was the first mass-produced thermonuclear bomb for equipping strategic aviation weighing five times less than the mass of the product 202. When creating products 244 and 245, conceptual provisions were developed for the development of single bombs for a wide range of carrier aircraft ... more than 20 samples of aerial bombs of various calibers were developed and designations for creating a family of them were awarded the State Prize of the USSR. Product 6 was a nuclear warhead of an anti-aircraft guided missile ... Product 30: this is the first development by the Institute of Nuclear Ammunition to equip the ground-based missile system UR-100 ... Product 269 is a nuclear warhead of an operational tactical single-stage missile ...

"The presented nuclear munitions of the missile systems of the navy allow us to trace the origin and development of the least vulnerable naval component of the country's strategic nuclear forces of the product 255a 13 nuclear munition of the R12 missile with a detachable warhead of the D2S complex. ... Product 3 combat equipment of the R21 missile with a detachable warhead of the complex 24, the first domestic complex with the launch of a missile from a submerged position. ... Product 15 combat equipment rocket R27 medium range ... Product 42 combat equipment of the R27 missile to the complex was intended to destroy aircraft carriers and electronic missile defense systems of a potential enemy. Product 46 ensuring the stability of ammunition, the operation of electronic countermeasures and air shock in the conditions of Western firing, the creation of ammunition 46, ensuring the effective use of the T9 complex. Products 82 and 83 combat equipment, the R-27 missile, the first missiles of the naval fleets that could be equipped with both monoblock main part of the v82 nuclear weapon and those sharing the main part with three nuclear weapons of type product 83. ... The ammunition 82 automation system was improved compared to the automation of ammunition 15 and 46. ... Products 94 and 95 were developed for the value of the first complex of the methodological purpose of the navy of the 3rd generation; this can be equipped with a single-block nuclear warhead 94 or divided main and part of the firing of warheads nuclear ammunition 95 individual targeting at specified trailer points. ..." (For clear photographic definitions of the various "Product" numbers assigned to Russian nuclear warheads, see the stills from their film summarising their warheads, below.)

BELOW: a declassified data summary of a wide range of Russian nuclear weapons, their designers, and the use of the weapons by various delivery systems from the VNIIFT nuclear warhead design laboratory, which designed 100% of the currently stockpiled Russian strategic freefall nuclear bombs, and also 100% of currently stockpiled Russian tactical nuclear warheads (both freefall aircraft delivery bombs and artillery fired projectiles of various kinds). This film concludes with the message: "Postscript: In the real conditions of Russia's current position in the world community, and the state of the Russian army, Russia's nuclear weapons remain a reliable guarantor of strategic stability in the world, independence, integrity of the country's military and economic security. - From the (VNIIFT nuclear weapons lab) authors."

The film stills above taken from the 2005 film dedicated to the 60th Anniversary of the USSR's Victory in WWII, made by the VNIITF Russian nuclear weapons design laboratory at Snezhinsk, and it summarises the warheads, their purposes, delivery systems, uses, designers, philosophy, and so on. Note that one of the weapons designers shown to be responsible for the 1970s MIRV narrow-diameter Snezhinsk nuclear warheads (Product 83 with a mass of 170 kg was tested on 2 November 1972 yielding 165 kt, and Product 95 with a mass of 210 kg was tested on 23 July 1973 yielding 212 kt) is Vladimir Fyodorovich Grechishnikov (1917-58), who died in 1958; the point is that the dual-linear implosion primary design of thermonuclear weapon (simply a pipe with two melon-shaped linear implosion fission bombs in it, separated by a capsule of fusion fuel) was developed by 1958, earning Grechishnikov a Lenin Prize. Grechishnikov, a design engineer, had earlier appropriately worked on other straightforward and low-cost solutions for Russia, namely designing the cheap, easily manifactured, but efficient tank and aircraft engines during WWII that helped Russia win decisive battles by numerical superiority. The hard fact that the laboratory credits him with the MIRV warhead designs of the 1970s, despite his death in 1958, proves that the dual primary design first tested in 1958 was used in those 1970s MIRV warheads. Grechishnikov's background in Russian tank designs of WWII is not an aberration of Russian nuclear weapon design, witness that in "Designer N L Dukhov and his School" published in 2004 by JSC South Ural Publishing House, Chelyabinsk, Dukhov is another similar, WWII Russian tank designer who ended up a nuclear weaponeer, deputy chief designer of KB-11 (aka Arzamas-16, or Sarov) developing over 10 years the neutron initiators for the first generation of Sarov's deployed nuclear weapons across 17 delivery systems including the R-7 missile and the T-5 nuclear torpedo!

The weapons designer with the big eyebrows in the film, shown both as a designer of the world's smallest diameter nuclear artillery shell and with President Putin on the latter's visit to the lab by helicopter in 2000, is the late Boris Vasilievich Litvinov (1929-2010), a prolific author of scientific papers and also books hankering after the restoration of Russia as a great power. Russia's version of Edward Teller. In 2019, a 506-page book of tributes to his work was published in Russia, "BORIS LITVINOV: FACETS OF PERSONALITY", published in 2019, which begins with the following quotation from Litvinov: "By the way, a bomb designed for rapid self-destruction, makes it easier to create long-term useful technologies." (VNIITF also has a 1 hour recent film about him on their website, quoting his political books, with his colleagues talking how he remembered the German attack of 22 June 1941, how Russian victory in the war led to progress, and prestige now needs to be restored following the tragic break-up of the USSR. You get the idea...) Boris Litvinov is one of the four authors of the article "History of the nuclear weapons industry" in the Russian journal Atomic Energy, Vol. 86, No. 6, 1999, pages 402-410), which states:

"The creation of the nuclear weapons industry in the Soviet Union is correctly considered as one of the greatest achievements in Russian history. It has been accompanied by the defeat of fascist Germany and space flights to constitute the Soviet Union as a superpower. ... The stocks of uranium (100 tons) accumulated in Germany passed to Soviet physicists in 1945 and were used to construct the F-1 reactor in Laboratory No. 2, which was the first such reactor in the USSR and in Eurasia. ... 31 theoreticians ... participated in various ways in the work on the RDS-37. ... The energy release was 1.6 Mt of TNT equivalent. The USSR was ahead of the USA, which tested a similar thermonuclear aircraft bomb half a year later on May 26, 1956. ... In 1956, NII-1011 had obtained a commission to develop an aircraft bomb containing a gigantic thermonuclear device ... mass about 25 tons. The bomb should have been dropped for bombardment purposes by M-2 and Tu-95 aircraft. Design studies showed that such a bomb could be carried to the target only by the Tu-95 after its bomb bay and framework had been modified provided that the dimensions were reduced to 1.8m in diameter and 8m long with a mass of not more than 25 tons. NII-1011 in 1956-8 worked on the design of that bomb and performed theoretical calculations on the thermonuclear device, but in connection with the moratorium on nuclear tests, manufacturing the body parts was halted, and the only body remaining after the summer tests was destroyed. The work on the device was halted. Nuclear tests were renewed on September 1, 1961. A body was prepared for the gigantic bomb. On October 31, 1961, the world's largest thermonuclear device was exploded above Novaya Zemlya, which had been developed at KB-11 under Sakharov's direction. It was designed for a total energy production of 100 Mt of TNT equivalent, and the device was tested at a height of 4000 m for half the energy production in order to reduce the radioactive contamination of the atmosphere and the effects of the shock wave. ... Somewhat later, a similar thermonuclear device yielding 20 Mt was proposed by KB-11. Out of the gigantic devices tested, only two were adopted as weapons and were for a certain time part of the strategic rocket armament: one developed by NII-1011 and the other by KB-11. ... With the start of reform, the attitude of the country's government to nuclear weapons began to change. The nuclear weapons industry attained its apogee at that time. It was apparent that its experts could resolve any problem in supplying nuclear weapons to the Soviet army although there was an ongoing and considerable lag in Soviet computing behind American."

ABOVE: 30 August 2000 Secret CIA Intelligence 23-page technical Memorandum, "Evidence of Russian Development of New Subkiloton Nuclear Warheads", now declassified with deletions at states that these 0.3 kt tactical/battlefield (so-called "non-strategic" in the obfuscation jargon popular with disarmers) nuclear warheads "blur the boundary between nuclear and conventional war ... as an 'asymmetric response' to US superiority in conventional weapons [e.g., Russian 0.3 kt nuclear weapons will be used when they run short of conventional weapons in the ongoing Ukrainian war, as the West replenishes Ukrainian conventional weapons to enable it to destroy Russian conventional arms]. According to Sergei Rogachev, Deputy Director of the Arzamas-16 nuclar weapons design laboratory: 'Russia views the tactical use of nuclear weapons as a viable alternative to advanced conventional weapons'." Note that these tactical Russian nuclear weapons originated, like the American neutron bomb, from early efforts to produce peaceful nuclear explosives for purposes such as space travel (e.g. American "Project Orion", led by Theodore Taylor and Freeman Dyson, employing Lawrence Livermore's relatively clean, i.e. low fission yield and high fusion yield nuclear warhead designs Dove and Starling, which had little fallout but a huge 14.1 MeV neutron output, motivating Sam Cohen to propose using them for military deterrent purposes in W66, W70 and W79 enhanced neutron output devices), and in this peaceful project "coincidentally", Russia tested a similar 0.3 kt tactical nuclear weapon 900 m down the Ukrainian coal mine at Yumkom, Donetsk on 16 September 1979 (allegedly for "safety" to expel methane gas from the mine - which resumed operation the next day - but such tests also provide military data for use of atomic demolition munitions - ADMs - without violating the 1963 Atmospheric Nuclear Test ban Treaty).

William J. Broad wrote in his 5 February 2022 New York Times article, Ukraine Gave Up a Giant Nuclear Arsenal 30 Years Ago - Today There Are Regrets (contrary to disarmament scammers): "At the end of the Cold War, the third largest nuclear power on earth was not Britain, France or China. It was Ukraine. The Soviet collapse, a slow-motion downfall that culminated in December 1991, resulted in the newly independent Ukraine inheriting roughly 5,000 nuclear arms that Moscow had stationed on its soil. [Along with the nuclear civil defense underground shelters which have allowed the civilians to survive the invasion and fight back, which were fortunately not also destroyed on the say-so of the anti-civil defence journals Scientific American and Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.] The removal of this arsenal often gets hailed as a triumph of arms control. Diplomats and peace activists cast Ukraine as a model citizen in a world of would-be nuclear powers. But ... both Ukrainian and American experts questioned the wisdom of atomic disarmament. The deadly weapons, some argued, were the only reliable means of deterring Russian aggression. ... “We gave away the capability for nothing,” said Andriy Zahorodniuk, a former defense minister of Ukraine. Referring to the security assurances Ukraine won in exchange for its nuclear arms, he added: “Now, every time somebody offers us to sign a strip of paper, the response is, ‘Thank you very much. We already had one of those some time ago.’” [Idealists will never be able to understand that trash lies written on paper as treaties or agreements are as worthless as trash speeches and acted handshakes in front of TV cameras. Hitler signed endless such treaty lies and also similarly gave endless lying peace speeches and peace handshakes before his invasions and genocide, as did Stalin and all the other dictators. The media of the 1930s lapped it up then as peacemaking, as it always does.]"

From Anthony Loyd, Kyiv, "Veterans of Kyiv rue the day they gave up their nuclear arsenal", Friday February 11 2022, 3.00pm, The Times: "The general who had his finger on the button warns: Don’t give up your missiles. ... tritium boosters and fragments of SS-24 “Scalpel” rocket launch systems on tabletops, all that is left of Ukraine’s nuclear missile stockpile, once the third largest in the world, as workmen began to box them, taking them away into storage in preparation to close the office for good. 'I knew deep in my soul that we should never have given them away' ..." - (Only one nuclear SS18 ICBM base now remains in Ukraine, 25km north of Pervomaysk, but it is now just a tourist museum, since all of the nuclear warheads have been removed from the remaining four SS-18 ICBMs on display.)

ABOVE: declassified Russian photo of the the 99.85% clean (fusion) Russian nuclear warhead (referred to the secret CIA report above), originally developed by E. I. Zababakhin at Russia's VNIIFT (the Russian Federal Nuclear Center, All-Russian Research Institute of Technical Physics) nuclear weapons lab for "peaceful" uses, but more recently weaponised and put into the unregulated Russian tactical (aka "non-strategic") nuclear warhead stockpile, for use in coercing and overcoming Western defences which now lack purpose designed tactical nuclear weapons W54 and W79. This photo is directly taken from VNIIFT's own book A WORD ABOUT ZABABAKHIN - COLLECTION OF MEMORY (second edition, corrected and enlarged book by vniitf, published in the closed city Snezhinsk in 2016, with an Editorial foreword stating: "... the editors considered it possible to update the biographical information of the memoirists and include previously unpublished materials, such as those declassified ..."), online on their website in PDF form (along with other useful books, containing previously classified data and photos of Russian nuclear warhead designs and tests). This book states on pages 6-7 that the Russian cleaner tactical nuclear weapons were first tested in 1965 when tritium and deuterium in gaseous form replaced solid lithium deuterium, in an experiment to reduce the yield of cleaner weapons to the minimum:

"In terms of volume and breadth of coverage, the program of physical experiments VNIITF has no analogue among all the world's nuclear weapons centers. Of particular importance was a physical experiment conducted in 1965, in which thermonuclear combustion of gaseous deuterium and gaseous deuterium-tritium mixture was carried out. This experience marked the beginning of the development of a new type of atomic charges, the use of which in thermonuclear munitions made it possible to significantly reduce their dimensions and mass, which was very important for the creation of multiple warheads of missile systems, both ground-based and underwater-based. Its results were also in demand in the creation of nuclear explosive devices (NED) for peaceful applications. Peaceful Use of Nuclear Explosions Eugene Ivanovich paid special attention. Under his leadership, VNIITF became a leader in development and use of devices for peaceful nuclear explosions: from the conducted in the USSR 124 peaceful nuclear explosions in 75 development devices were used VNIITF. ... The experience of 1965, in the development and implementation of which Evgeny Ivanovich took personal active participation, was useful for both types of NED. ... Works performed by VNIITF under the scientific supervision of E. I. Zababakhin were marked by high government awards: received 10 Lenin and 20 State Prizes, 4 employees of VNIITF became Heroes of Socialist Labor, many employees received orders and medals of the USSR." Page 15 adds: "In recent years, the VNIIP team under the leadership of E. I. Zababakhin has been actively involved in search of ways to reduce fragmentation [fission fragment residual radioactivity] activity in special atomic and thermonuclear charges of high purity, intended for overburden work. To extinguish a flowing gas well under the guidance and directly with the participation of E. I. Zababakhin, a special small-caliber atomic charge was created."

ABOVE: first Russian MIRV for SLBM was 170 kt yield, 170 kg mass warhead (1974); the first Russian MIRV for ICBM use was a 210 kt yield, 210 kg mass warhead (1978). Both of these signify the 1 kt/kg limit achievable for the small-diameter MIRV warheads (2 MIRV's in the SLBM missile, 3 warheads in the bigger ICBM), using the dual linear-implosion Russian thermonuclear design. However, Russia had earlier put 1 megaton 650 kg, i.e. 1.5 kt/kg "monoblock" (single warhead) on SLBM's in 1974. The design here was more efficient, since it used two spherical primary stages (one on each side of the central thermonuclear charge), rather than two linear-implosion primary charges around the thermonuclear charge which had to be used in the later, smaller-diameter MIRV warheads. All of these weapons employing two primary stages were less "efficient" than the single-primary two-stage Western designs, but they had advantages to Russia in terms of the reduced cost and complexity. (In WWII, cheap Russian tanks overrun more costly German Panzer tanks, because of their sheer numerical superiority: Russia could afford to employ several of their cheaper tanks to destroy one Panzer. Having two primaries means you can use simpler, cheaper primary stages, that don't require boost gas, etc. Russian warheads are mass-produced, unlike hand crafted Western devices. It is the Ford Model-T versus the Rolls Royce Silver Ghost. Which made the most impact?)

ABOVE: this book, RFNC-VNIITF in the Development of the atomic artillery of the USSR, is available online in full here:,0/. Published in 2011, it confirms the secret CIA report from 2000 which gave evidence that Russian work in the 1960s on cleaner peaceful low-yield (subkiloton) small-diameter dual linear-implosion devices compressing levitated pushers with gaseous thermonuclear fuel (tritium and deuterium) was combined with tactical nuclear weapons for military use by the RFNC-VNIITF based in Snezhinsk, Russia. Such devices may well be more efficient as neutron bombs than the USA's single-primary W79 enhanced neutron weapon, which was 0.8 kt fission and only 0.3 kt fusion (if the removable D+T capsule was inserted; if not it was just a pure fission 0.8 kt linear implosion shell). Please also see this book on the assembly of the 50 megaton RDS-202 test design, again in Russian, giving further details of the general approach to nuclear warhead design by Russia, showing on page 38, chapter 4 section 4.1, "Assembly of the main module", that Tsar Bomba 50 megaton bomb's fusion charge was a hollow sphere (of Li6D) with section 4.2 indicating that it had a composite core (e.g. U235 and Pu239) fissile sparkplug (illustrated below):,0/?bookhl=

ABOVE: latest declassified information on design of the 1961, 50 megaton RDS-202 Tsar Bomba shows it contained a central hollow sphere made up of lego like pentagons of lithium deuteride which has to be assembled by a worker stamping on them in slippers (inside each huge hemisphere), and contained a central 500 kt hollow composite core spark-plug (to fission the lithium in the compressed Li6D to give tritium for fusion). This better accounts for the actual weight of the device than a solid central sphere, and also explains the 2-3% fission yield better. Two "pear-shaped" 1.6 Mt 1955 two-stage RDS37's were scaled down to 500 kt each, to act as initiators of the main charge in 50 Mt RDS202, irradiating its pusher from both sides. (The discussion of evidence declassified of this design later in this post will, for simplicity, omit the details of the hollow central spherical fusion charge and its fissile core.)

ABOVE: 40 kt RDS4 Russian test, air dropped and detonated 350m above the Totskoye, 14 September 1954, in WW2 hero Marshall Zhukov's exercise of 45,000 Russian troops in tactical nuclear war (copying America's Nevada "Desert Rock" nuclear tests with troops in trenches near GZ). A whole book has been published about the radiation effects from this test, showing that the gamma radiation was 140 R/hr at 30 minutes, at 200 m from ground zero, decaying to 0.8 R/hr at 24 hours, and that a peak fallout gamma dose rate of 100 mR/hr occurred 1.5 hours after burst 70 km downwind, where the fallout pattern was 23 km wide. (These are useful data to have, since Russia has not yet openly published anything like America's DASA-1251 fallout patterns compendium.) This is relevant to the whole question of whether Russia really thinks it can use tactical nuclear weapons for military objectives in a limited war: it has actually done the nuclear tests long ago. It is not theoretical!

ABOVE: Russian illustration of American's very inefficient first design of a 15kt oralloy (highly enriched U235) nuclear artillery shell, a total waste of money and materials, as the yield-predicting warhead designer of the first Russian tactical shell explains in his article (discussed in detail later in this blog post). This American design of firing hollow rings of uranium-235 was a very inefficient device. (It is not much better than the design of the gun-type assembly Hiroshima bomb which contained enough oralloy to yield 1 megaton, but was so inefficient it yielded just 16 kt!) More efficient warhead designer Dr Theodore Taylor slammed gun-type assembly weapons as groupthink "committee" designs, based on minimising risks of a misfire, not maximising efficient use of fissile material!)

ABOVE: Russian illustration of a re-design of the America gun-assembly uranium-235 bomb to try to improve efficiency (not by much!). Here, each of the U235 pieces is fired at the other, to reduce assembly time and thus to allow a larger supercritical mass to be assembled before preinitiation risks (fizzle risk) becomes appreciable! American designs are obsessed with minimising risks. Russians are obsessed with maximising performance, efficiency and reducing costs to a minimum (the same approach used with their tanks etc in WWII).

ABOVE: Russian illustration of the first cheap, efficient American linear-implosion plutonium artillery shell, the W48, first put into service in 1963, SEVEN YEARS after the first plutonium linear-implosion Russian tactical nuclear shell was successfully tested with 14 kt yield on 16 March 1956! This American W48 old nuclear shell remained in service from 1963 until 1992, when disarmers withdrew it, allegedly as appeasement, to somehow prevent WWIII via Russia invading Ukraine (or whatever lies are fashionable!).

ABOVE: Russian nuclear warhead designers of the 170 and 210 kt MIRV thermonuclear warheads and the 2.5kt smallest ever diameter nuclear artillery shell (linear implosion), all at the Snezhinsk (formerly Chelyabinsk-70) nuclear warhead design laboratory. They are not as well paid as their American counterparts, but are respected and awarded medals and visits and praise by President Putin (compare faces above to the photo below).

President Putin meeting Russian nuclear warhead designers in 2000, and writing his praise of Snezhinsk nuclear lab's warheads! President Biden, by contrast, campaigned against the nuclear deterrence of invasions, even criticising Donald Trump's modest efforts to convert a relatively few old, low yield W76 Trident warheads into ad hoc tactical warheads four years ago, AFTER Putin had seized Crimea! Duhhh! The Cold War propaganda for Western nuclear disarmament is still going strong today despite all the lives lost in all the wars and invasions that could have been prevented by credible nuclear deterrence since 1992! Tactical nuclear weapons are not regulated by "arms control" liars, so Russia has thousands (precise number UNKNOWN!), and America has zero specifically designed tactical weapons (as we'll see later, the neutron output of low-yield dial-a-yield options on strategic warheads like the B61 are pathetic compared to purpose designed tactical nuclear warheads, so aren't a credible deterrent, a fact covered-up by disarmers). Translation from the 2005 Snezhinsk nuclear weapons film: "In 2000 the President of the Russian Federation visited the All-Russian Scientific Research Institute of Technical Physics. He examined the exposition of the museum of nuclear weapons and left the following entry in the book of honored visitors: The biggest danger facing Russia and the whole world is the violation of the balance of power at the cost of huge efforts and sacrifices to the Soviet. The Union managed to achieve a balance of great merit in this, due to your team together. We are obliged not only to maintain the existing achievements but also to achieve new frontiers relying on the talent and courage of our scientists. With hope and love, Vladimir Vladimirovich, March 31, 2000"

ABOVE: protected underground Russian launch controller centre for SS18 (Satan) ICBM's. Despite the "dead hand" automatic override system (which supposedly automatically launches missiles after a sustained loss of communications from Russian leaders), basic firing is done using relatively simple, low-tech equipment that is hardened against nuclear effects, e.g. resistant to EMP and shielded to give radiation protection against fallout collateral damage. Even if America could knockout such missiles, there is no guarantee that Russia would not - in times of intense crisis such as a US-Russian conventional war - change its basic doctrine to launch them on warning, before American missiles have arrived! Then American warheads would be uselessly blowing up EMPTY SS18 silos! Duh!!

ABOVE: declassified blueprint of Russian nuclear weapon detonator design. Everything they designed was more suitable for cheaper mass production than Western technology, maximising efficiency rather than minimising misfire risks which is the Western idea!

ABOVE: "The creation of [Russian] tactical nuclear weapons, including for artillery systems, began immediately after the appearance of the first atomic bombs. In the Soviet Union, such a task was set for specialists at the beginning of 1952, and already in 1956, a successful [14 kt] test of the RDS-41 charge for a 406 mm caliber projectile took place. ... In the early 1970s, nuclear warheads were created in Snezhinsk [aka the Cold War lab Chelyabinsk-70, i.e. Russia's equivalent to America's Lawrence Livermore nuclear weapons designers lab; a huge number of photos of their currently stockpiled nuclear warheads have been declassified with museum plaque summaries of details of the delivery systems they are each intended for, their nuclear physics package internal layout which differs from ALL Western nuclear weapons, the names of their key designers, and so on; and we have included a summary of this vital data in this blog post for easy reference, since they are the overriding nuclear war threat under the current political situation seems to be Russia, since America disarmed itself of tactical nuclear warheads in the 1990s apparently to convince Russia it could not credibly oppose a Russian invasion in the mistaken belief that this would end the risk of a nuclear war] for ammunition of 240 mm and 203 mm calibers for the B-4M towed howitzer; heavy towed mortar M-240, self-propelled mortar 2S4 "Tulip" and self-propelled artillery gun 2S7 "Pion". ... 203-mm self-propelled guns 2S7 "Peony", which were put into operation in 1975. For them, low-power tactical ammunition "Kleshchevitsa", "Sazhenets" and "Perforator" were specially created ... The development of nuclear projectiles of 152.4 mm caliber is considered one of the brightest pages in the history of the creation of Soviet nuclear weapons. The creators of nuclear charges and nuclear ammunition based on them for artillery and mortar systems were awarded the USSR State Prizes (1973, 1974, 1984) and the Lenin Prize (1984)." - Igor Zot, The Russian army has means of delivering low-yield tactical nuclear weapons to strike at enemy troops at a distance of up to 45 kilometers,

Dr Shirkov, the quantum field theorist who was the yield prediction designer of the RDS-41 tactical 14 kt two-point 406-mm diameter Russian nuclear artillery shell at Sarov, which was tested successfully on 16 March 1956 yielding the maximum possible predicted design yield of 14 kt kilotons, winning him the 1958 Lenin Prize, has a published unclassified article (PDF version of full article linked here) about it online (webpage with summary of article including PDF link to full article is linked here). It was melon shaped, had a U238 reflector, and a thin Pu239 hollow core containing Po210-Be neutron initiator. At Irtysh River in Semipalatinsk, while they were waiting for the wind to stop blowing towards the town, to allow the RDS-41 to be safely surface burst (an air burst would not have created this fallout risk), Shirkov's friend Lev V. Ovsiannikov became interested in the QFT renormalization group functional equations Shirkov was interested in, and solved them, publishing the solution in Proceedings of the Academy of Sciences just three weeks after their nuclear test:

Fellow Russian nuclear weaponeer Vasilii P. Zhogin wrote in his paper, "Development of the First Nuclear Charge RDS–41 (11D) for Artillery Projectile", Combustion, Explosion, and Shock Waves, vol 36, November 2000, Issue 6, pages 689-694 (translated from the Russian version in Fizika Goreniya i Vzryva, Vol. 36, No. 6, pp. 14–20, November–December, 2000): "The result of this trial was so important that the team of implementors with Academician M. A. Lavrent’ev as its leader became Lenin Prize winners in 1958. This Prize was introduced anew and was the second after Kurchatov, Zel’dovich, Sakharov, and Khariton. ... In the U.S., the range nuclear test of the first nuclear charge MK-9 of diameter 280 mm (11 inches) was conducted on May 25, 1953 [the 15 kt Grable shot of Upshot-Knothole in Nevada, which produced no significant fallout despite the fact that its 557.6 ft maximum fireball radius at second maximum thermal output exceeded the height of detonation of just 524 feet, a fact explained by RAND Corp's Dr Kellogg in the 1957 congressional hearings on fallout; the neutron induced Na-24 maximum dose rate near ground zero was only about 10 R/hr at 1 hour and decreased to merely 10 milli-Roentgens per hour at about 1 mile from ground zero!]. ... The [RDS-41] focusing system was developed by V. P. Zhogin. ... Electric detonators were elaborated by M. I. Puzyrev’s team. The neutron source was designed by A. I. Abramov ... a thermostable explosive composition was chosen for use in the charge. After a series of examinations, it was tested on the range of the Central SRI-58 by gun-firing of 2000 37-mm rounds to check their resistance to explosion. ... A test of the RDS-41 charge was planned for March, 1956. The charge enclosed in a projectile was to be placed on the floor of a wooden hut. ... finally the trial was set for the 16th of March ... The equipping operation was delayed for an hour (quite unexpectedly, the aluminum lids of the steel projectile body were jammed, and the projectile body required cooling with snow). ... Some hours later the device was detonated. The results of the test were beyond expectations. The charge exhibited the highest possible power." (Note that the seismic and fallout data at long range led the CIA in its Top Secret NIE report dated 16 May 1962 to wrongly assess this 16 March 1956 Russian nuclear test, "Joe 21" to be 30 kt yield, when in fact the accurate close-in yield determination by Russia was 14 kt. At least the CIA correctly deduced it was a surface burst!)

ABOVE: Russian news aka propaganda site infosmi has published photos of Russian nuclear weapons in crates ready for use in the Ukraine, e.g. see "Tactical nuclear weapons of the Russian Federation will force the US and NATO to capitulate", "As Voennoye delo reports , the risk of using nuclear weapons is only increasing, with Western experts James Ragland and Adam Lowther saying that the main danger lies in Russian tactical nuclear weapons. At the moment, according to experts, the number of such ammunition that Russia possesses ranges from three to six thousand units, while the North Atlantic Alliance does not have weapons of this type at all. In the current situation, according to analysts, the Russian side can use tactical nuclear weapons in such a way that the effect of destruction, as well as radioactive impact, is minimal, while the psychological aspect of such actions will reach a maximum. As a result, the US and NATO will be forced to capitulate to the threat of a full-scale nuclear conflict." (There is one BIG problem with this particular example of Russian "propaganda": it happens to be a credible threat, unlike Western books on nuclear weapons/war effects. Even bad propaganda can sometimes be useful kicking the self-deluded into sense, if they can be persuaded to face the truth, rather than the fairy tales from the even worse propaganda of disarmament activists and bigots on knockou blow and countervalue nuclear war. But the correct solution is not the capitulation to Russia suggested in this article, but instead for NATO to begin once more to credibly deter Russia from its conventional warfare which risking escalating to tactical nuclear war, when it runs out of conventional arms, due to the supply of Western arms to Ukraine to enable it to blow up Russian conventional weapons stockpiles. NATO had tactical nuclear weapons for this very same purpose in the Cold War, including the W54 and later the W79, these designs still exist and these can be produced again in an emergency to serve the same useful purposes, of deterring both nuclear escalation in an invasion, and WWIII. The fact is that the Western tactical nuclear warhead disarmers SIMPLY GOT IT WRONG.)

ABOVE: the world's smallest diameter nuclear weapon is the Russian Snezhinsk lab's 2.5-kiloton 53 kg ZBV3, a 17.4km range, 152.4 mm diameter, 774 mm long artillery shell, shown here with its museum plaque (it is also shown below with the world's biggest ever nuclear weapon - also, you guessed it, a Russian product, in the Snezhinsk nuclear weapons lab instructional museum of warhead design). (For comparison, the smallest Western nuclear weapon, Theodore Taylor's 0.02 kt W54 or Davy Crockett, is 305 mm in diameter, 457 mm long and 26.5 kg. So the Russian ZBV3 is only half the diameter of the W54, but it is twice the mass and of course longer than the W54. There is also a great difference in yield, 0.02 kt for the W54 compared to 2.5 kt for the ZBV3.) The ZBV3 research supervisor was Academician E. I. Zababakhin, the chief designer of nuclear weapons was Academician B. V. Litvinov, and the chief designers of the development of nuclear weapons were L. F. Klopov, O. N. Tikhane and V. A. Vernikovsky. This design began in 1971 and was completed in 1981. Manufacture by mass-production began at the Trekhgorny City Instrument Making Plant in 1981 and was completed in 1991. The special casing it is held in is designed to protect it during storage and transit to the battlefield. It was built to be fired from the widest possible range of Russian artillery: D-20 howitzer guns, ML-20 howitzer guns, 2C3 Akatsia self-propelled howitzers, 2A36 Giatsint-B guns (towed), 2C5 Giatsint-C self-propelled guns.

The descriptive plaque on the bomb in the photo above states (in Russian): "NUCLEAR PROJECTILE. 152 mm CALIBRE. FOR SELF-PROPELLED ARTILLERY INSTALLATION. RFNC - VNIITF [note that VNIIFT = the Snezhinsk nuclear weapons lab design, now part of Pocatom; they have some information on their website about their achievements in developing the best Russian nuclear warheads, stating that they developed the smallest ever nuclear weapon, namely the 152mm one photographed above, the cleanest ever nuclear weapon "in which 99.85% of the energy is obtained through the synthesis of nuclei of light elements", the lighest ever nuclear weapon, and the "the most economical in terms of the consumption of fissile materials", and nuclear warheads capable of withstanding 120C temperature, 750 atmospheres overpressure, and 12,000g's of acceleration on re-entry; maybe we should start buying their nuclear warheads if all this is true]." Snezhinsk nuclear weapons lab also has an interesting webpage about their peaceful nuclear weapons tests here: "Of the 124 peaceful explosions carried out in the USSR, 80 nuclear charges developed at VNIITF were used in 75 cases. ... VNIITF began to carry out peaceful explosions of its charges from May 1968. ... All developments of NEDs for peaceful purposes were headed, carried out, supported and supervised at VNIITF by Academicians E.I. Zababakhin, E.N. Avrorin and B.V. Litvinov. ... If for peaceful camouflage explosions there were no special requirements for the “purity” of charges, then for ejection explosions (formation of dams, trenches) nuclear explosive devices with a minimum amount of radioactive fission fragments were needed. In these cases, thermonuclear devices are more suitable, in which the main energy release is due to fusion reactions. Such charges were also included in a series of peaceful NEDs developed at VNIITF, and were used to create a trench in the Pechora-Kolvinsky Canal section (Perm Region) - an integral part of the project developed in the 1970s to transfer the waters of the northern rivers to the Volga. The experiment to create this trench was called "Taiga". It was preceded by model explosions of low-power (0.2 kt) nuclear charges in wells at the Semipalatinsk test site (1968) "Telkem-1" and "Telkem-2", where the formation of an ejection funnel (a single explosion, T-1) and a short trench (a group explosion of three charges, T-2) was checked. The analysis of the results of these explosions was used in the design of the main experiment "Taiga". A year after this experiment, an improved “clean” charge was tested at the Semipalatinsk test site with a 5-fold reduced fragmentation activity compared to that used in the Taiga operation. ... In conclusion, we note that VNIITF is, in fact, the only organization in the world that develops specialized nuclear explosive devices for industrial applications."]

ABOVE: In 2015, S. Douglas Woodward's book Is Russia Destined to Nuke the US pointed out that Russia's only real military superiority is in tactical nuclear weapons, the most effective deterrent possible to allow it to invade Ukraine and Europe, since the West has now no way to counter it: "Europe protests the incursion but seems unwilling (and unable) to use military force to push Russia back from its designs on Ukraine and Crimea. ... Then there is the state of the Russian people. They suffer under economic sanctions imposed by Europe and the United States. Backed into a corner, is it suprising Russia rattles its sabre? However, Russia's only sabre - its one area of military superiority, is Russian tactical nuclear weapons [2,000] outnumbering NATOS tactical nukes 10 to 1 in the region. As Russia weakens in critical areas, several factors are converging which suggest Russia must act now ... The February 2014 agreement between Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany (the so-called Minsk Agrement) has failed ... 'During the era of political romanticism, the Soviet Union pledged never to use nuclar weapons first,' Kiselyov told the audience of Vesti Nedeli, his current affairs show ... 'But Russia's current military doctrine does not - no more illusions'."

ABOVE: Russian plans for the tactical use of nuclear weapons (English translation left; original Russian on right), from our 20 September 2017 blog post here, taken from restricted Russian manual Nuclear Weapons - A Manual for Officers, which we obtained from Ukraine and put on internet archive to show the threat. On pages 9-10 of his 1977 book Surviving Doomsday, Bruce Sibley (who in the 1980s edited the UK CD magazine protect and Survive Monthly) pointed out: "During the 1960s, the original lead which America held in numbers of strategic missiles began to show signs of erosion ... Not only were the Russians developing new missiles and warhead techniques, but their whole armament programme began to expand at an alarming rate. At first, Soviet proclamations asserted that this was merely a 'catching up' with America and NATO, but since this expansion has continued aggressively ... it may not be an exaggeration to hold the view that the Soviet Union has now overtaken NATO and American military might ... The matter of civil defence playing a major role in strategic warfare planning ... the 'ace in the hole' ... No country on earth has a civil defence programme as extensive as the Eastern Bloc. ... Unfortunately, the majority of Western politicians and some of their advisors seem quite oblivious to the strategic significance of Russia's preoccupation with a major civil defence programme. They either scorn or remain in ignorance of the facts. Some critics even charge that by its very existence, civil defence makes the prospect of nuclear war more thinkable, and therefore should not be developed. This is an essential part of their package for banning the bomb."

ABOVE: Page 42 of Putin's latest 2014 Russian civil defense manual supporting the tactical use of nuclear weapons (English translation and original Russian test), from our 20 September 2017 blog post here, full manual was put on internet archive to show the threat. Again, civil defense when combined with offensive plans for nuclear weapons is an offensive problem; the opposite is true for purely defensive civil defense (which increases the nuclear threshold by enabling survival of accidental and limited nuclear strikes). On pages 5-6 of his 1977 book Surviving Doomsday, Bruce Sibley pointed out: "Meanwhile, the Soviet Union possesses the largest and most comprehensive war-survival programme in the world today. The Soviet leadership never tires of reiterating that victory is impossible unless every Soviet citizen has undergone intensive practical and moral-psychological civil defence training. ... The Soviet evacuation scheme intends to scatter 241 million citizens throughout the Russian countryside ... urban evacuation is the key to twarting the 'estimated' killing power of nuclear missiles ... the Soviets have maintained vast stockpiles of grain, tinned food, fuel, water, medical supplies, clothing, spare parts and raw materials throughout the USSR ... The entire Moscow underground railway system has been equipped to give protection and life-support to over one million persons. Every Soviet citizen has been issued with a gas mask, that will filter out radioactive dust and chemical and biological aerosol agents ... the Russians may be committed to the downfall of Western ideology - by peaceful subversion or by open conflict." (All of the arguments against this kind of civil defense are specious: Britain evacuated 1.5 million of vulnerable people from London 48 hours before declaring war in 1939, and the Luftwaffe didn't bomb the evacuees or "simply" retarget the dispersed population. Another fallacy is that dispersing millions of people into the countryside will make sanitation and food problems worse. The reality is that sanitation and food supply logistics break down in bombed cities far sooner than in the countryside, where people are nearer food sources! The effect of fast-decaying fallout on crops is trivial.)

ABOVE: major designs of Russian warheads using two primary stages wired in parallel circuit (for explosive detonators on the implosive systems of each primary charge, and also parallel circuit for the later pulse of current to the neutron sources for each primary charge), to produce x-ray ablative linear implosion of a central thermonuclear charge:

"Yuri Nikolaevich Babaev became one of the main creators of the world's largest detonated bomb ... In the future, the efforts of Yuri Nikolaevich Babaev focused on the fundamental improvement of thermonuclear charges, for which he developed the theory of "double approach". -"

These are an alternative to using plastic foam to diffuse x-rays in all directions to allow a single primary stage to compress a spherical secondary stage isotropically, without x-ray shadowing problems. Plastic foam reduces speed and efficiency of x-ray delivery (the recoil ablation force on the secondary, F = dp/dt, is reduced when plastic foam is used to diffuse x-rays, because the longer diffused pulse of x-rays which is delivered via plastic foam has an increased pulse duration, t). For many purposes, therefore, two primary stages for linear implosion of a fusion charge, without needing any plastic foam, is just as an efficient approach as that used in single-primary Western devices.

ABOVE: useful entry about Babaev's design work on Russian thermonuclear weapons in the 2005 Russian book, Герои атомного проекта (Heroes of the atomic project), with side by side Russian and English text translation (since this is important to establish as hard fact beyond any doubt, for the record): "In 1961-1962, Yuri Nikolaevich (Babaev) and his colleagues developed new, more advanced charges. Most of these charges are still in service with the Russian Army. For his participation in the development of a number of thermonuclear charges with high specific characteristics, Yu. N. Babayev was awarded the title of Hero of Socialist Labor in 1962 with the award of the Order of Lenin... Under the leadership of Yu. N. Babayev, new nuclear and thermonuclear charges of various values were developed in subsequent years to equip most branches of the Armed forces of the USSR. ... The further direction of Yu. N. Babayav's work was the radical improvement of nuclear charges - a dual approach. ... Such thermonuclear charges were simpler in design and manufacturing technology.". (Tip: to translate Russian to English from a low quality image scan, upscale the image of the text with Zyro, and then translate the result using Yandex translate.)

ABOVE: the precise nature of Putin's nuclear threat, photos from both the Russian nuclear weapons labs museums (older stuff is in Sarov, but the latest Russian very small MIRV warheads whose shapes reveal design data are in the RFNC-VNIITF Museum at Snezhinsk including the pink painted warheads which are not in the Sarov collection). The first two-stage 1.6 megaton yield Russian thermonuclear weapon, tested in 1955, RDS-37, had a spherical secondary (fusion) stage which required isotropic compression (unlike early American cylindrical designs). The Russian design omitted the plastic foam used to fill the radiation channels in the early UK two stage warheads (and modern W87 and W88 etc.) to deliver x-rays isotropically to the secondary stage. Instead, the Russian design used precise geometric mirroring of x-rays by a large (1.5m diameter) ellipsoidal (prolate spheroid) shaped case, with the fission primary at one focus and the secondary stage at the other (legendary Russian thermonuclear warhead designer Yuri Trutnev has confirmed this use of a lead lined case, a reasonably effective x-ray mirror - it isn't a perfect mirror since the "reflection" is accompanied by a lot of absorption of radiation - in the RDS-37 and later designs, with low-density material merely used as an x-ray absorber as a surface covering on the spherical secondary charge and not as a radiation channel filler - as discussed later in this post, below). This design - without plastic foam filling the radiation channel - was first used by America a year later, as the Egg device tested during Operation Redwing shot Huron (discussed and illustrated later in this post). It has its advantages: faster and more efficient compression with less risk of neutron pre-initiation of fissile materials in the secondary stage, since x-rays are slowed down by plastic foam, but travel faster than neutrons if simply reflected from the case. Therefore, when using the outer case as an x-ray radiation mirror, the speed of delivery of the x-rays to the secondary (to compress it) is faster than the speed that neutrons can arrive, so you don't need a neutron interstage barrier the way you do for devices employing a plastic foam filling, which slows down the x-rays delivery time and allows more neutron fission in the secondary to occur before full compression by x-rays.

Anything large in the case which creates x-ray "shadow" zones increases anisotropy of x-ray delivery to the secondary stage. This problem doesn't exist for the early American cylindrical stages, where the compression geometry is simply axial symmetry, i.e. radial compression in 2, not 3 dimensions. (To double the density of the secondary, radial compression of a cylinder requires a 29.3% reduction in radius, compared to just a 20.6% reduction of radius for spherical compression to achieve similar doubling of density.) But this outer case x-ray mirroring also has the disadvantage that the overall diameter of the outer radiation reflecting case must be large in comparison to the diameter of the spherical secondary charge (at least several times larger), or you do not get a sufficiently isotropic compression of the secondary stage (i.e. similar compression from all directions), because if the case is too small, the finite size of the secondary stage itself blocks reflected radiation from hitting it on the opposite side to that in proximity to the primary stage, which reduces compression, efficiency, and yield. This is just a simple shadowing problem that you can see in a room lit by daylight from a window. If you place a large object in front of the window, it creates a shadow behind it, so it is not isotropically illuminated (i.e. lit equally on all sides). If you place a smaller object in front of the window rather than a huge object, this shadowing problem is reduced or even eliminated because enough light can get into the room around the object, to be reflected back on the far side of that object by the walls of the room - particularly if you have mirrors on the walls - since the mirrors can then reflect light back so that the object is illuminated more uniformly on all sides (isotropic exposure, as opposed to anisotropic - unequal - exposure of all sides; for a diagram illustrating a suppressed example of the effects of a certain kind of fascinating anisotropic radiation exposure, please - for example - see my very brief 1-page long PDF paper linked here!).

ABOVE: illustration of the problem of the anisotropic x-ray exposure of the secondary stage and some of its possible solutions, namely fill the case with foam to slow down and diffuse the x-rays to a uniform concentration everywhere in the case (a terrible idea for several reasons, e.g. it reduces recoil ablative impulse, allows neutrons time to arrive and pre-detonate any fissile material in the secondary stage, and it means the outer case has to hold the whole thing together for longer while the fusion burn hopefully starts, but this is nevertheless still used in Western devices), make the case huge so you can reflect x-rays more uniformly on to the far end (right ride above) of the secondary stage, use two primaries - one on each side of the secondary stage - as Russia does still, or design an "interstage" shield to go between the two stages above to try to even-up the exposure on each side of the secondary stage (but be careful to design it well, or you will over-shield the secondary and it won't get compressed at all!). The 1958-tested double primary Russian solution has the genius that easy to design: you don't need to bother to make careful design calculations at all!

ABOVE: two versions of the RDS-37 first Russian nuclear weapons design. The first shows RDS-37 as the simple prolate spheroid elliptical system for x-ray mirroring, fitted into an RDS-6 case as shown on a page (the RDS-6 case was used for the earlier 1953 400 kt Alarm Clock externally boosted device). Actual film from the 22 November 1955 test of RDS-37 show a longer bomb, probably with an added parachute to slow the bomb down while the delivery aircraft escapes (the 1953 RDS-6 test, unlike RDS-37 in 1955, didn't need a parachute, as it was a near surface burst). The second illustration is from a Russian language source (Military Russia, Бомба с зарядом РДС-37) showing a slightly different variation in which there is a very clever concave shield used between primary and secondary stages to try to achieve uniform (isotropic) irradiation of the spherical secondary stage with x-rays. The source given is not a declassified report but a Russian youtube video. The problem is that this convoluted design, while simple to draw, is very complicated to design in terms of calculating the sizes and shapes of the various elements for optimum performance, requiring 2- or 3-d simulations by computers unavailable at the time, even in America. It is more likely to be the basis of the 500kt two-stage single primary devices developed in 1958 and used in the 50mt Tsar Bomba (discussed and illustrated later) than the first 1955 test of a two-stage device. The diffulties with the isotropic compression of spherical devices was a key reason why early American bombs had cylindrical secondaries with just radial compression not isotropic compression; they are far more straightforward for design calculations, because you don't have to worry about how to get radiation to the far side of a sphere! In other words, you don't need 3-d calculations. The simpler prolate spheroid case, with primary and secondaries at the two elliptical focii, is easier to analyze mathematically without a computer using straightforward geometrical considerations (cf. Winterberg's 1981 book Physical principles of thermonuclear explosive devices, Fig. 4 on page 28 and discussion of x-ray mirrors on page 32, as shown later in this post), and thus more likely what was tested in 1955. This is because there is less to go wrong, and it is easier therefore to get a definite result if the design has an error; whereas, if you test a design with lots of innovations, and it fails, you learn nothing because you don't know which of the many factors caused the failure (it is not even the case that you know that one thing has gone wrong, which can be discovered by elimination after many changes and tests, because there could be several different design failure causes all working together, in a radical product with lots of innovation!). The same youtuber also has a video of the design of the 50Mt Tsar bomba which is also incorrect, showing a more modern device with a single primary stage (completely debunked below in this post, since that 50mt bomb was provably set off by two 500 kt thermonuclear charges). In both designs above, the overall bomb case diameter is at least three times the diameter of the secondary charge, which is necessary to prevent an x-ray shadow on the side of the secondary furthest from the primary stage, resulting in anisotropic compression.

ABOVE: cartoon-style (non-blueprint) sketch of the problems of designing the interstage to stop neutrons from the primary stage from pre-detonating and deforming the fissile U235 (oralloy) in the secondary stage, while x-rays are diffusing (relatively slowly, compared to x-rays in a vacuum) through the foam shown in blue, to allow isotropic compression of the secondary stage. This requires detailed 3-d computer simulations and nuclear tests for verification, and is very difficult design engineering to get right. Traditionally, the light weight interstage has been beryllium, a toxic brittle material, for its transparency to x-rays and opaqueness to neutrons, while not being excessively heavy for a missile payload. There has been a recent effort to replace the toxic, brittle beryllium interstages with safer, more durable interstages made of alternatives like boron, cadmium and lithium. (For aircraft delivery, where weight is less crucial than for missile warheads, U238 can be used as the neutron shield. But if weight is not an issue, you could simply have a clean secondary stage, comprising of Li6D and lead or tungsten pusher, without any fissile material, so then you don't need a neutron shield interstage!) But the more fissile oralloy there is in the secondary stage of a W88 warhead, the closer it is to criticality, so the greater the complexity of the design to keep primary stage neutrons from predetonating it, while still allowing sufficient channelling of x-rays. This is a complex design trade-off to get right, requiring sometimes multiple nuclear tests and re-designs, which explains why detailed data is still classified secret. (Not shown in the sketch is a thick neutron shield cylinder enclosing the entire secondary stage to reduce its vulnerability to predetonation by neutrons from defensive nuclear warheads from the Russian ABM system. When such a U238 neutron shield shell is shown in diagrams, it is usually misinterpreted as some sort of tamper or reflector to help the reaction! In addition, the primary and secondary stages are simplified. Fissile material would have a hollow core supplied with D+T boost gas from an external flask, prior to detonation. There is also the external x-box with capacitors that must be charged up with HV from a battery powered inverter prior to detonation, supplying large parallel current pulses to detonators and neutron initiator tubes. These are also safety features, helping to ensure that several stages of preparation must be undertaken in order to achieve a full-yield detonation, so the weapon is relatively safe in an accidental fire or impact.)

One of the biggest secrets of thermonuclear weapons became clear from the "clean" H-bomb research at Operation Redwing in 1956; the Zuni (15% fission, 3.53mt total yield) and Tewa (87% fission, 5.01mt total yield) were basically identical designs, but U238 in the Tewa device was replaced with lead in Zuni, and Zuni was topped up with extra li6d to try to compensate. As the results showed, although fusion is on paper more efficient than fission, in reality it was not possible in that design to get as much yield out of the cleaner device. In other words, in the dirty design, the fusion stage is just used as an external boosting tool to release high energy neutrons to fission U238, which produces most of the yield. An exception to this is the more efficient pusherless pulse-shaped isentropic compression system tested in the Ripple II device in 1962, discussed later, where it is claimed by its designer Nickolls that a higher efficiency of thermonuclear burn was achieved than in pusher devices (this isn't reflected in the overall yield/mass ratio of the entire device, which was just a prototype; we're talking just about the yield/mass ratio of the fusion capsule in Ripple II, not the entire prototype bomb whose mass is not relevant to a final warhead system).

"To form the direction of energy transfer, at the suggestion of A. D. Sakharov, the [1.6mt RDS-37] primary and secondary modules were enclosed in a single shell, which had a good quality for reflecting X-rays, and measures were provided inside the charge to facilitate the transfer of X-rays in the right direction. Yu. A. Trutnev in the course of this work proposed a method for concentrating the energy of X-ray radiation in material pressure [a low density x-ray absorbing layer around the secondary stage, discussed later in this post with quotations from Trutnev himself about it], which made it possible to effectively carry out radiation implosion. During this development, he also proposed a method that determined the predictability of the configuration of channels for the transfer of x-rays, which later found wide application in two-stage thermonuclear charges. ... In this case, the problem of ensuring spherically symmetric compression of the secondary module was radically solved, since the time of “symmetrization” of energy around the secondary module was much shorter than the compression time of this module. ... The fact is that the overall mass parameters of the RDS-37 charge and the first samples of thermonuclear charges of the USSR that followed it and the first thermonuclear charges of the USA are fundamentally different. The characteristic value of the ratio of length to diameter of the first thermonuclear charges of the USSR is less than 2, and for the first thermonuclear charges of the USA it is 3.2–4.8.This difference indicates fundamental differences in the structure of the secondary modules of the first thermonuclear charges of the USSR and the USA. The thermonuclear charge modules of the USA had a cylindrical configuration, while the thermonuclear charge modules of the USSR had a spherical configuration." - I. A. Andryushin, A. K. Chernyshev, and Yu. A. Yudin, Creation of the first samples of thermonuclear weapons, (deleted site, but available now on Wayback Machine at

In the sense the Russians I. A. Andryushin, A. K. Chernyshev, and Yu. A. Yudin (above quotation) argue, that America first tested thermonuclear weapons with cylindrical "pipe" secondaries whereas Russia was straight-in with the spherical secondaries now used in compact MIRV warheads, Russia seems to have been ahead in the 50s. The Russian design of 1955 was essentially duplicated by the American Egg design (Redwing-Huron) of 1956. But it was bulky because to get isotropic compression efficiently of a sphere using radiation mirroring from the inside of a prolate spheroid reflecting case, the case needs to be at least 3-5 times the diameter of the secondary stage (unlike getting isotropic compression from plastic foam, where you just need a few cm wide radiation channel!). So Russia wasn't ahead, unlike Britain which in 1957-8 successfully used spherical secondaries (like Russia), but with plastic foam in the radiation channel (unlike Russia) to make the secondary stage compression isotropic while reducing the outer case size to a minimum. If you just use the outer case as a mirror (as the Russians Ya. B. Zel’dovich, Yu. A. Trutnev, and A. D. Sakharov did very successfully with their 1.5m diameter RDS-37 in 1955, and the Americans did with their Egg device in the Redwing-Huron test of 1956), and don't instead use foam to fill the case to absorb and re-radiate x-rays isotropically, you will always need a REALLY HUGE DIAMETER outer bomb case for the geometry to work efficiently! This is due to the immutable mathematical laws of geometry. So although they were able to use a single primary stage with success in 1955, they had a huge problem with trying to miniaturise that design without going back to fission bomb yields.

There were only three possible ways to change their design to get their huge 1955 H-bomb small enough physically to fit into the warhead of an ICBM: (1) change the shape of the secondary to the simpler to compress geometry of a cylinder, where you ignite the end closest to the primary stage and then an auto-catalytic self-burning wave is hopefully initiated (as used in the early 1952 American Ivy-Mike test), but the Russians had already investigated and discarded Teller's original Superbomb "pipe" (the Russian word for it); (2) fill the radiation channel with plastic foam to make the energy delivery isotropic to the secondary, but this is less efficient since the x-rays are delivered more slowly than by simple case reflection (through having to be repeatedly absorbed and re-radiated in a mathematical "drunkard's walk" going in all directions by the electrons in the foam), and this x-ray energy delivery delay also allows neutrons to arrive and partly melt down, expand and pre-detonate any fissile materials in the secondary stage (unless you have an efficient neutron shield or interstage between the primary and secondary stage, which is hard to design effectively without good electronic computers, which the Russians then lacked); or finally (3) use linear-implosion of the final fusion stage, by using TWO primary stages, one on each side of the fusion stage, within a cylindrical casing, wired in a simple parallel circuit for simultaneous detonation. Linear implosion is never the most efficient solution, but it is necessary to get a very small diameter thermonuclear weapon for a ICBM warhead. So it turns out that the Russians use a very different approach to compact nuclear warheads than America and Britain. Yuri Trutnev in 2017 explained the details (this has now been deleted from the Russian site):

"... Avraamy Zavenyagin ... said - take a thermonuclear charge, surround it with atomic charges, blow them up at the same time, they will squeeze it. ... This idea was later developed by our theorist Viktor Davidenko. In fact, he proposed a scheme for the so-called two-stage charge - a casing in which there were spatially separated atomic and thermonuclear units. The explosion energy of the primary atomic stage would be used to ignite thermonuclear reactions in the secondary stage. Our outstanding specialists Yakov Zel'dovich and Andrei Sakharov had great hopes for this scheme of so-called nuclear implosion. ... I did a lot of work on the theory of the efficiency of atomic charges. I knew that when they explode, a lot of energy comes out in the form of x-rays. And I began to think about how to make it so that the thermonuclear charge is overlaid with a light substance - "coating", these can be chemical elements with a low number, having very good thermal conductivity, and with the help of X-ray radiation from the explosion of the primary atomic charge "coating" heat up. At the same time, its substance would evaporate outward, towards the radiation, and as a result, as during the movement of a rocket, a reactive impulse would be created, directed into the secondary charge and creating the pressure necessary for effective compression of the thermonuclear "fuel". But how was it possible to ensure a uniform, symmetrical effect of radiation on the spherical surface of a thermonuclear charge with a "coating"? Here I am stuck. ... Zel'dovich proposed exactly how to direct X-rays, Sakharov showed that this radiation is not absorbed by the walls of the casing, but remains in it, and therefore a uniform effect on the surface of the thermonuclear unit can occur. And my idea is a "coating" of a light substance to transfer radiation to the required pressure. ... I already had another idea in my head - a more advanced product based on a new principle for designing a thermonuclear charge. After testing the RDS-37, the next day in the evening I called my friend and colleague Yuri Nikolaevich Babaev to the bank of the Irtysh and said: "Yura, let's try to do just such a thing." And he agreed. We returned to Sarov and drew a charge diagram and proposed it. This product received an index of 49. I will not say what it is. Product 49 is similar to the RDS-37, but not in everything. They started laughing at us, this is all nonsense, nothing will work out for you. In short, they didn’t support us because they didn’t understand. ... We were supported by Igor Vasilyevich Kurchatov. The test of product 49 took place on the Day of the Soviet Army, February 23, 1958 at the test site on Novaya Zemlya. The success was very big. In 1958, several tests of products of different capacities based on the 49th charge took place. He went into a series, he was put on rockets, and this was already the basis of our country's thermonuclear weapons. ... I said to Khariton: "Yuli Borisovich, let's make a 100-megaton charge. Maybe then the West will understand that it would be pointless for them to increase their megatonnage further." He agreed. But here, for safety reasons, we also made a half-power charge, replacing the uranium-238 stage with lead. ... The Americans understood that they would not frighten us, but we would frighten them. And they lowered the power in their trials. We could have done more, but what's the point?" - Yuri Trutnev, The creation of nuclear weapons is a special kind of creativity, 22 November 2017 (this page has now been deleted, but is available on Wayback Machine at

To get small thermonuclear warheads for missiles, after successfully testing a compact linear implosion primary stage for nuclear artillery (detailed later in this post), at the suggestion of Yuri Trutnev, starting in 1958, the Russians began testing thermonuclear weapons having two compact primary stages, one on each side of a spherical or cylindrical thermonuclear charge, wired in parallel electrical circuit using large krytron vacuum tube switches to get simultaneous detonations and a more uniform compression of the secondary stage. This was because they lacked the computers America and Britain used to design smaller thermonuclear warheads where plastic foam was employed to deliver x-ray energy uniformly to a secondary charge from a single primary stage. Trutnev suggested replacing the two primary stages with two 500 kt thermonuclear weapons to achieve a 50 megaton clean test in 1961. But what is more important is that this whole approach was continued by Russia with more practical weapons, under the leadership of Yuri Nikolaevich Babaev (1928-86):

"Yuri Nikolaevich Babaev became one of the main creators of the world's largest detonated bomb ("Tsar Bomba") with a capacity of 50 megatons, tested at the test site on Novaya Zemlya on October 30, 1961. ... In the future, the efforts of Yuri Nikolaevich Babaev focused on the fundamental improvement of thermonuclear charges, for which he developed the theory of "double approach". -"

The use of two primary stages (or two whole thermonuclear devices, for higher yields) to compress a fusion capsule inside a narrow tube casing without plastic foam to make the radiation isotropic is like a linear implosion system for fusion charges: the central (main) fusion charge will be most compressed along the axis of the bomb than from the sides, so it can be elongated so that it becomes a sphere when compressed (below). This is avoided in US and UK weapons by the use of computer designed low density baffles of plastic foam to make the x-ray energy isotropically compress the secondary (the foam doesn't do the compression, the x-ray ablation of the secondary does it; the foam is merely used in modern Western designs to reduce anistropic compression of the secondary, missed out by the Russian approach which uses two primary stages or two thermonuclear stages for larger devices, instead).

"The A6027 charge was tested on October 30, 1961 at the Novaya Zemlya test site. ... The creation of nuclear weapons by the Soviet Union, despite the hardships of the post-war period, has become an effective factor in deterring any aggressors from launching new global wars [the aggressor is Russia, fighting democracies in Georgia, Crimea, Syria and Ukraine, eh]. ... The young theoretical physicist Yu.A. Trutnev proposed the idea of creating a 100 Mt superbomb, which could frighten foreign skeptics who believed that Soviet nuclear scientists were significantly weaker than American ones [subservience and slavery to authority is always a weakness compared to free thinking trial-and-error based innovation for profit and to supply customers with the latest products they want and need; the backwardness of Russia in microelectronics for decades illustrates the failure of centralised control most clearly; free countries also have this problem but the people are generally better capable of overcoming the tyranny]. The idea was supported by Academicians A.D. Sakharov, Yu.B. Khariton and Ya.B. Zeldovich. The top leadership of the country, having agreed on the issue with scientists, decided to create and test super-powerful weapons. The final decision to resume nuclear testing and create a superbomb was made in July 1961, when the scientific leadership of KB-11 (VNIIEF) reported to N.S. Khrushchev on the possibility of developing a hydrogen bomb with a capacity of 100 million tons of TNT. ... [Copying the USA, which opened a second nuclear weapons lab, Lawrence Livermore, to challenge its first lab at Los Alamos...] In 1955, by decision of the Government, a second nuclear center was established - NII-1011 (RFNC-VNIITF) in Chelyabinsk-70 (now the city of Snezhinsk), where a third of the employees of KB-11 were transferred. ... After the adoption of the decree of the Government of the USSR on the resumption of testing of nuclear weapons in July 1961, KB-11 began emergency work on the development, theoretical justification and preparation for testing not only superbombs, but also a series of other nuclear weapons. Even before this decision, the theoretical physicists of KB-11 were distributed to develop "their" charges. Therefore, to develop a superbomb, it was decided to call Dr. Ph.D. Adamsky V.B., by connecting to it a theoretical physicist - a recent graduate of MEPhI Yu.N. Smirnov, as well as the initiators of the creation of the superbomb, Ph.D. Trutneva Yu.A. [center of photo below, in front of bomb] and Ph.D. Babaeva Yu.N. Academician Sakharov A.D. took over the development leadership. ...

"The situation was aggravated by the tight deadlines for the start of tests (09/01/1961), the lack of a computer park to carry out the proper number of calculations. I had to use all the computers of the Mathematical Institute of the USSR Academy of Sciences (mathematicians at KB-11 worked there at night and on weekends). And only on October 24 (6 days before the tests) was the final report on the design of the bomb and the theoretical justification completed. But even then A.D. Sakharov (already without a computer) additionally worked out the necessary improvements. A large number of serious innovations were applied in the design of the superbomb itself and its charge. A powerful thermonuclear charge was made according to the “bifilar” scheme: for radiation implosion of the main thermonuclear unit, two thermonuclear charges were placed on both sides (front and back) to ensure synchronous (with a time difference of no more than 0.1 μs) ignition of thermonuclear “fuel”. KB-25 (VNIIA) finalized a serial detonation automation unit for this charge. It seemed to A.D. Sakharov that the calculations carried out on a computer were not enough. 2 days before the product was sent to the test site at 8 pm, Sakharov came to the workshop, approached the product (the body of the bomb was open and access to the charge was provided from both sides). Andrei Dmitrievich looked inside, felt the construction, then sat down on a chair in the corner ... the academician drew a sketch, where it was proposed to install lead belts 60 mm thick from the side of the initiating charges on the inner conical surface of the charge body. I call the director of KB-11 B.G. Muzrukov at one in the morning: “What should I do, after 36 hours, sending?” Answer: "Do as Sakharov said!" At 6.00 in the morning, the designers draw “squirrels” in the shop and after 4 hours the lead belts are ready (from the memoirs of the head of the assembly shop of the KB-11 plant A.G. Ovsyannikov). After 40 years, when, on the instructions of the director and first deputy scientific director of VNIIEF, Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences Ilkaev R.I. In the most powerful computer center in Russia, VNIIEF, the calculations for the three-dimensional problem "Mimosa" were checked, it was confirmed that the absence of these lead belts would lead to a significant distortion of the radiation implosion sphere and a decrease in the explosion power by ~ 80%. So the thought of the academician turned out to be much more perfect than computers available at that time. ... In the history of Russia, a certain pattern was noticed in the creation of hypertrophied samples of unique products: the Tsar Bell (which did not ring), the Tsar Cannon (which did not shoot) and, finally, the Tsar Bomba (which was blown up with some excess of the calculated power - 52.5 Mt). ... only about 2 percent of the energy of the explosion came from the fission reaction, the rest of the energy from the fusion reaction ... The creation and testing of the most powerful thermonuclear charge in the world with a capacity of 50 Mt served as an impetus for reducing the arms race throughout the world. And this is the great merit of our outstanding nuclear scientists. [In plainer words, Russia succeeded in starting the West on the road from nuclear superiority to arms control parity, allowing the dictatorship to survive longer before going bankrupt.]" - A.V. Veselovsky, honorary veteran of the RFNC-VNIIEF, head of the scientific and testing department (in 1956-2009), laureate of the USSR State Prize,

"After the end of the moratorium in 1961, they returned to the task of creating a superbomb, but now it was a thermonuclear charge with an energy release of 100 Mt, which was to be placed in an aerial bomb developed according to the “202 project”. At this stage, the development of a new super-powerful charge was carried out in KB-11 on the initiative of Yu. A. Trutnev and A. D. Sakharova, the team of authors also included Yu. N. Babaev, V. B. Adamsky and Yu. N. Smirnov. Original solutions and accumulated experience made it possible to implement this development extremely quickly, and the charge was successfully tested on October 30, 1961. Among the features of this charge, it should be noted that the large volume of the charge (due to its high energy release), required significant amounts of X-ray energy for implosion. The developed nuclear charges did not satisfy this condition, and therefore, a previously developed two-stage thermonuclear charge with a relatively low energy release [~500kt] was used as the primary source of the “superpowerful charge” [TWO of them, one on each end of the main fusion stage!]. This [~500kt] charge was previously developed by Yu. A. Trutnev and Yu. N. Babaev. ... In 1962 Yu. A. Trutnev and V.S. Lebedev developed a smaller version of the superbomb with an energy release 2.5 times less than the 1961 version. The reduction in energy release and overall mass parameters made it possible to count on equipping a heavy ICBM with such a charge. The charge was tested in a non-full-scale version using passive materials [lead ablator/pusher and case lining] that significantly reduced (as in the 1961 test) the release of radioactivity in the test explosion." - I. A. Andryushin, A. K. Chernyshev, and Yu. A. Yudin, Development of the nuclear weapons program of the USSR, (deleted page but it is still available on Internet Archive Wayback Machine here:

"The development of super-powerful thermonuclear charges was considered as an important task for both nuclear institutes of the USSR. The developments of nuclear charges discussed above, tested on October 30, 1961 and September 27, 1962, were carried out at VNIIEF (Arzamas-16 [now called Sarov]). As examples of the development of super-powerful charges carried out by VNIITF (Chelyabinsk-70) , one can cite devices tested on September 25 and December 24, 1962. In the first case, a charge was tested that was close in characteristics to the VNIIEF charge tested on September 27, 1962. The comparison shows that they were essentially duplicate designs. In the experiment on December 24, 1962, a super-powerful charge with a nominal energy release of about 50 Mt was tested under conditions of a non-full-scale explosion with a power reduced by about half. The test confirmed the expected characteristics of the charge. Note that in the test version, which is a high purity charge, the actual nuclear [fission and fallout] energy release was small. ... The first test for the same purposes [reduced fission yield proportion, i.e. cleaner] was carried out in the USSR on October 20, 1958 at the test site on Novaya Zemlya in a modification [lead replacing U238] of the previously tested "dirty" two-stage charge. The level of nuclear [fission and fallout] energy release achieved in the development was an insignificant part of the total energy, however, the total [fusion plus fission] energy release was significantly reduced compared to the base [U238 containing] charge. ... Already in 1954, it was realized that a non-nuclear explosion of a nuclear charge is accompanied by the dispersion of plutonium, which is part of it, with its subsequent fallout. The first experiment in which practical results were obtained in this regard took place on October 19, 1954, when an unforeseen failure of a nuclear charge occurred. ... The first experiment to study the "single-point safety" of a nuclear charge was carried out in the USSR on August 26, 1957, and, in essence, the USSR nuclear test program in the interests of security began to be implemented in 1961. A total of 11 experiments of this type were carried out during the period of atmospheric testing in the USSR. After the transition to underground nuclear tests, 14 more special nuclear tests were conducted for these purposes, as well as an additional 17 experiments as part of group nuclear explosions. ... The maximum nuclear energy release in the nuclear safety experiments was realized in the experiment on September 9, 1961. This value is close to the maximum energy release realized in the US nuclear safety tests during the period of atmospheric tests, which is 500 tons of TNT equivalent. [Nice to know Russia is concerned for nuclear safety!]" - Nuclear testing and the creation of nuclear weapons, (deleted but still available on Wayback Machine:


The exaggeration of nuclear weapons effects by draconian propaganda for disarmament is now leading to a lack of credible deterrence of precisely the kind of invasions (Belgium 1914, Poland 1939) that triggered both world wars. In reality, if you disarm democracies sufficiently that Teller's deterrent criterion of "overwhelming superiority" is removed, you clearly invite a return of the world war. Perhaps the most absurd kind of exaggeration is the Glasstone/Nukemap application of free-field nuclear test data from deserts to modern concrete cities which absorb energy from blast, nuclear and thermal radiation quite efficiently. (All published here in 2006, and ignored.)

ABOVE: error by DTRA regarding energy absorption by buildings. U.S. Government's DTRA DISPATCH magazine article "Building Effects on Airblast from Nuclear Detonations in Urban Terrain" falsely conflates the abrupt shock front with the length of the entire blast wave, claiming that since buildings are 2000 denser than blast waves: "the air will move 2000 times father than the structure in the same time interval. Thus while the building is moving 1cm. the shock has moved more than 20m, and the energy is a small fraction of 1% the blast energy." The key error here is the statement that "the shock has moved 20 m". They meant the shock front, which isn't the same thing as the entire blast wave, the thickness of which is dependent on bomb yield, and is what moves drag-sensitive buildings with large window openings where the overpressure quickly equalises. So they are totally wrong. They are absurdly arguing that only 1/2000 of the dynamic pressure (kinetic energy per unit volume of air) of air presents a force upon buildings, or presumably upon ships sails (which are denser than air), or eardrums (again which are denser than air). The shoddy, imprecise form of their statement makes it hard to understand precisely what they are saying, but it seems to be that they are assuming falsely that the blast wave consists only of a shock front, which will move 20 m past the building (without moving it significantly) before the building has moved 1 cm, but the density of the building and the location of the shock front relative to the building is IRRELEVANT while the mass of air BEHIND the shock front is delivering energy to the building, as proved by the absence from the relevant equations of both building density and shock front location after it has passed, but winds are still blowing. It's not the shock front that causes the building to oscillate, but the wind pressure behind the shock front. The building density, and the distance the shock FRONT moves beyond the building, have no relevance to thickness the layer of air BEHIND the shock front, which is what is pushing the building, and this thickness increases with bomb yield! (However, most of the push to the building occurs due to the highest dynamic pressure, i.e. the air just behind the discontinuity or "shock front".) As a result, the actual energy absorption by a building is more than 100 times greater than DTRA's ratio of densities claims. Small-scale models of buildings, whether absolutely rigid or made from glass mirrors don't in any way, shape or form model the energy captured in oscillations by thousands of tons of reinforced concrete of real buildings.

The wind (dynamic) pressure induced motion effects which have nothing to do with the relative density of the shock front compared to the building. The amount of energy picked up from either the wind pressure of normal breezes or the blast wave of a nuclear explosion, by a building in oscillatory energy is the time-integrated form of Newtonian equation E = F.x, where force F = P.A, where P is dynamic pressure and A is area, and x is the amount of displacement induced. There's no density of the building in these equations, and no dependence on the shock front, but rather the integrated dynamic pressure over the entire duration of the blast at the location of interest (if the building delays the passage of the shock front instead of letting it pass freely through windows etc, then there's an additional term for the time-integrated overpressure contribution). As dynamic pressure is removed by the building - not by the shock front but by the air behind it, lasting seconds in higher yield detonations - the overpressure also falls as the blast restores itself to the Rankine-Hugoniot conditions (overpressure energy is transformed into dynamic pressure energy, thus weakening overpressure as well as dynamic pressure). If DTRA were correct that only the front part (shock front) of a blast wave is relevant to delivery of energy and delivers only 1/2000 of the energy of the blast, then by analogy our eardrums and ship sails would be similarly so inefficient at picking up energy from the dynamic pressure of sound and the wind, respectively, that they couldn't work! Notice that their computer codes in 2013 falsely EXCLUDED any absorption of energy by the blast in oscillating thousands of tons of reinforced concrete, causing damage (much larger, huge amounts of energy are required to actually destroy reinforced concrete by permanent deformation; the springy oscillations of a building in a gale or blast wave take up far less energy than actual destruction requires), contrary to what John von Neumann pointed out (that buildings are NOT rigid but absorb energy from the blast, decreasing the blast parameters like pressures and impulses as the blast propagates through a city, unlike desert or ocean in unobstructed terrain nuclar tests!) in the 1950 Effects of Atomic Weapons (removed by Glasstone from future editions, just as he removed the civil defence chapter from the 1977 edition!).

ABOVE: Appendix A of Glasstone's 1950 Effects of Atomic Weapons gives a specific calculated example that allows the absorption of blast energy by oscillating modern concrete buildings to be calculated: a reinforced concrete building of 952 metric tons, 75x75ft, 38 ft high (thus horizontal area of 265 square metres), resisting force 4 psi, is subjected to a peak overpressure and dynamic pressure loading of 32 psi (242,000 Pascals) decaying to zero in 0.32 second. Calculated peak deflection of middle of the building was 0.88 foot or 0.27 m (the top would be deflected twice this amount). Reinforced concrete is relatively ductile, but any cracking absorbs even more energy than the simple calculation of the kinetic energy of blast-induced oscillation. So the blast wave energy absorbed from the simple physics law E = Fx = PAx where P is pressure loading, A is exposed area of building being loaded, and x is the displacement(or more precisely from the integral form of this, where energy absorbed is force integrated over displacement, as shown above) is about E = Fx = (242,000)(265)(0.27) = 17,000,000 Joules. This energy is removed from the blast wave by being transferred from the blast into the kinetic energy of oscillating the building! Hard fact!

The resisting force of 4 psi used in the 1950 Glasstone book can be updated with the following static yield resistances for various modern city buildings using Table 15.6 on page 525 of the 1996 Northrop Handbook of Nuclear Weapon Effects: Calculational Tools Abstracted from EM-1: 3.0 psi and 0.3 second natural period of oscillation for 3-8 story reinforced concrete buildings (type 15.2.2), 1.25 psi and 0.3 second for brick houses (type 15.2.3), 0.5 psi and 0.25 second for wooden houses (type 15.2.5), or 2.0 psi and 0.6 second for 3-10 story steel-frame office buildings (type 15.2.10). The "nominal" ductility ratios (the ratios of displacement required for collapse/severe damage to the maximum elastic response before plastic response begins) for these four types of buildings are given by Northrop as 7.5, 4, 7.5 and 10, respectively. The maximum amount of energy absorbed in destroying the buildings is simply the area under the curve of loading versus displacement before collapse. Since this relative area is 0.5 unit for the triangle shaped slope up to a ductility ratio of 1, and is roughly a constant height rectangle for the plastic zone from a ductility ratio of 1 up to the failure limit (severe damage/collapse of building), the ratio of total energy absorbed by a building in its destruction, to the maximum energy that can be absorbed in purely elastic oscillations by a buildings (up to ductility ratio of 1 unit) is simply [0.5 + (7.5 - 1)]/0.5, [0.5 + (4 - 1)]/0.5, [0.5 + (7.5 - 1)]/0.5, and [0.5 + (10 - 1)]/0.5, or 14, 7, 14, and 19, respectively, for those four building types. It is to be noticed that the greatest amounts of plastic range energy absorption are for the most predominant two kinds of modern city centre buildings, namely reinforced concrete and steel frame multistory buildings. These buildings, with up to 8 and 10 stories, respectively, in these calculations, also have a cumulative effect in shielding free-field thermal and nuclear radiations.

The Effects of Atomic Weapons, 1950, on page 57 has a section written by John von Neumann and Fredrick Reines of Los Alamos (it is attributed to them in a footnote) stating clearly: "the structures ... have the additional complicating property of not being rigid. This means that they do not merely deflect the shock wave, but they also absorb energy from it at each reflection. The removal of energy from the blast in this manner decreases the shock pressure at any given distance from the point of detonation to a value somewhat below that which it would have been in the absence of dissipative objects, such as buildings." Glasstone removed this from future (1957-77) editions, not because it is wrong (it isn't), but apparently because it debunks official nuclear lies used for strategic deterrence in the same way that gas and incendiary bombing effects was exaggerated in the 1930s to try to deter war!

ABOVE: The two terms for blast wave energy. It's really very simple: the first term above is the kinetic energy contained in the dynamic (wind) pressure of the blast, while the second term represents the internal energy of the blast (manifested as heat and related static overpressure). So the theoretical basis for the calculation of blast energy absorption by a city is not rocket science, and it's not based on speculations or guesswork. And this is not "new" either, since Brode's 1954 equations for calculating blast wave's with a computer include energy balance, and you can with modern computers easily incorporate the irreversible energy losses due to the blast wave successively oscillating, one after another, the buildings with with it interacts as it travels outward in a modern city. William G. Penney gives the real basis for calculating the energy loss due to blast damage in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in his 1970 paper, which contains numerous detailed, precise calculations and measurements showing how the act of causing destruction to steel and concrete, in addition to the mere oscillations of buildings, reduced the energy content of the blast and thus the pressure fell more quickly with distance in those cities, than measured in unobstructed desert or ocean during his nuclear testing programme. (In 1985 John Malik of Los Alamos simply ignored in his report, LA-8819, all Penney's hard won facts from Hiroshima and Nagasaki, without going into details at all. Glasstone and Dolan reference Penney's 1970 paper, but simply ignore its findings on blast attenuation in Hiroshima and Nagasak. So much for scientific progress! Note also that Penney's 12 kt yield for Hiroshima is lower than the current estimate of 16 kt, implying even more blast absorption in Hiroshima than Penney found, because the unattenuated free field pressures from 16 kt will be greater than those from 12 kt!)

Now consider the energy absorption in the plastic region for reinforced concrete. The calculations of energy absorption in oscillating a building are for the small "elastic response" region of the pressure-displacement curve. But vast amounts of energy are absorbed beyond that elastic limit, and yet at pressures lower than required to make a reinforced concrete building collapse (always ignored by ignorant shelter critics, as Lord Baker explained, for shelter design in his 1978 book which we reviewed in detail a few posts back). There is a summary of the key building parameters America uses in calculating the effects of nuclear blast on buildings of various kinds in Table 15.6 on page 525 of Northrop's 1996 Handbook of Nuclear Weapon Effects, Calculational Tools Abstracted from EM-1: building 15.2.2 (3-8 story reinforced concrete, small window area) has a severe damage ductility ratio of 7.5, i.e. it fails and collapses (severe damage) when the displacement is 7.5 times the maximum elastic response. Put another way, the plastic limit for reinforced concrete is 7.5 times the elastic displacement limit. Northrop's figure 15.7 shows the extension versus applied pressure load. The energy absorbed in the elastic limit is a triangle terminating at a displacement of 1 ductility unit (units are extension/elastic limit extension), so it has an area of 0.5 units (energy absorption for oscillating the building, see diagram below). But the plastic response is not a triangle but a unit high rectangle which starts at one unit and extends to 7.5 units (severe damage/collapse), its area is thus 7.5 - 1 = 6.5 units, so it absorbs 6.5/0.5 = 13 times as much energy as that used to oscillate the building elastically! So reinforced concrete buildings can absorb 13 times more energy in being damaged, than they can absorb in oscillating elastically. The ratio of total energy absorbed to flatten the buildings, to the maximum energy that can be absorbed elastic oscillate it, is (6.5 + 0.5)/0.5 = 14. Thus, the total energy absorption by a building can be 14 times that involved in merely oscillating it!

ABOVE: model of a building having a blast, the simple engineering graph from EM-1 showing the ratio of energy needed to total a building to that which merely oscillates it. The axes depict loading force and displacement, respectively, so the areas under the curve beautifully correspond to energy absorbed, allowing us to calculate the total energy needed to flatten a city very easily (from a simple, standard physics formula, energy E = Fx), in terms of multiples of the energy needed to just oscillate the buildings elastically. Northrop's data for other types of buildings are as follows: type 15.2.5 wood frame house has the same 7.5 ductility ratio for collapse, so it can absorb in plastic deformation 13 times the elastic oscillatory energy; type 15.2.3 brick house has a ductility ratio of 4 for severe damage, and a type 15.2.10 3-10 story steel-frame office building has a ductility ratio of 10 for severe damage. This is precisely Lord Baker's principle of the Morrison table shelter (for details, please see Lord Baker's 1978 book about the problems with explaining this to the bureaucratic nutters who don't understand the physics behind engineering, the brilliantly titled Enterprise versus Bureaucracy) where the plastic deformation of steel is used to absorb many times more energy than it can absorb elastically. In other words, it's the damage done (plastic deformation of reinforced concrete) that really absorbs vast amounts of blast energy, not the smaller energy absorption from elastic oscillations of a building! Northrop's table 15.6 shows that the reinforced concrete building, type 15.2.2, has a natural period of oscillation of about 0.3 second, and a static yield resistance of about 3 psi. Northrop's Figure 15.10 shows it has 50% probability of severe damage at 2.85 km from a 1 megaton surface burst on an ideal, unobstructed desert surface with no blast energy absorption by buildings intervening between that target and ground zero! For comparison, a similar 1 megaton surface burst in unobstructed desert is shown in Northrop's Figure 15.11 to have 50% probability of destroying a typical British brick house at 4.42 km ground range (50% severe damage probability), whereas Figure 15.18 gives a range of only 2.74 km for collapse of 3-10 story steel-frame buildings from a 1 megaton surface burst on unobstructed, open terrain.

In fact DTRA and its predecessors back to General Groves of the Manhattan project have has been covering-up the facts determined at Hiroshima in order to foster a delusion that strategic nuclear bombing against cities can work, despite failing. Anyone can simply move people out of cities (as the UK did with kids in Operation Pied Piper, 1 Sept. '39) before declaring war, and then your entire pathetic "countervalue strategic" anti-city deterrent is flushed straight down the pan! This undermines credible nuclear deterrence, which requires tactical nuclear weapons to prevent the invasions that set off both world wars (Belgium '14, Poland '39). It Ukraine had that it wouldn't be in the situation it's now in. Nuclear disarmament didn't make it safe. DUH! (And no, Mr "Scientific American", Hitler did not send the luftwaffe to bomb the kids being evacuated from London on 1 September 1939!)

Professor Bridgman's Introduction to the Physics of Nuclear Weapons Effects can be used to demonstrate the exaggerations in Glasstone's Effects of Nuclear Weapons when Glasstone's free-field (unobstructed terrain) nuclear effects predictions from desert and ocean nuclear tests are improperly applied to concrete cities. Bridgman, for instance, considers a building with an exposed area of 163 square metres, a mass of 455 tons and natural frequency of 5 oscillations per second, and finds that a peak overpressure of 10 psi (69 kPa) and peak dynamic pressure of 2.2 psi (15 kPa) at 4.36 km ground range from a 1 Mt air burst detonated at 2.29 km altitude, with overpressure and dynamic pressure positive durations of 2.6 and 3.6 seconds, respectively, produces a peak deflection of 19 cm in the building about 0.6 second after shock arrival. The peak deflection is computed from Bridgman's formula on p. 304. This 19 cm computed maximum deflection allows us to estimate how much energy is permanently and irreversibly absorbed from the blast wave by a building (if damaged, additional energy is absorbed and is transformed into slow-moving - relative to the shock front velocity - debris which falls to the ground and is quickly stopped after the blast has passed it) by: E = Fx, where F is force (i.e., product of total pressure and area) and x is distance moved in direction of force due to the applied force from the blast wave.

If the average pressure for the first 0.5 second is equal to 12 psi (83 kPa) then the average force on the building during this time is 13 million Newtons, and the energy absorbed is: E = Fx = 13,000,000*0.19 = 2.6 MJ, which is removed from the blast wave in the form of oscillations of the building. Successive absorption by building after building rapidly absorbs blast energy in this way.

Although you could say the blast wave from a 50% blast nuclear megaton warhead contains 2.1 x 10^15 Joules, the blast wave energy rapidly decreases as it dumps hot air behind it to form the fireball (Glasstone omits the fireball energy partition after blast breakaway, but the DELFIC mushroom cloud module shows that, to fit observed cloud parameters theoretically, fully 45% of the yield is hot air dumped behind the blast that powers the mushroom cloud rise and expansion, so 50-45 = 5% of yield remains in the blast wave after the negative phase fully develops). In addition, the blast forms a 3-d hemisphere so that the percentage of the total blast energy in the Mach front intercepting buildings near the surface is small and gets smaller as the blast propagates! It is only that part which causes damage that gets attenuated; furthermore the yield scaling issue increases the building shielding effect for larger yields, because the radial distance being considered is increased. For example, in the example above, 10 psi peak overpressure (69 kPa in SI units) occurs at 4.36 km from a 1 megaton strategic bomb, but the 163 square metres of the building is only a small fraction, f, of the blast hemisphere at that range, namely f = 163/(2*Pi*4360^2) = 163/120,000,000 = 1.37*10^{-6}. So if the blast still contained 5% of the total weapon yield at this stage, the total blast energy striking the building's surface area would be just (2.1 x 10^14 )* 1.37*10^{-6} = 2.9*10^8 Joules, proving that the oscillations of the building removed 2.6MJ of 290MJ blast energy intercepted, nearly 1%, which is a similar fraction to Penney's finding in Hiroshima.

You get additional, greater, energy loss due to damage done to buildings close to the fireball. For n such buildings in a radial line, the cumulative removal of blast energy fraction is: exp(-2.6n/290), which is greater for the larger blast damage distances in built up areas predicted for effects of higher yields! So increasing the yield increases the shielding for any given free-field pressure (the distance of which scales up with yield)!

Even with wooden 1-storey houses predominating in Hiroshima, Lord Penney who took away the overpressure debris (crushed petrol cans, etc) for analysis in England in 1945 found the blast energy at Hiroshima decreased exponentially due to blast attenuation caused by damage done, by comparing his results to the free-field Maralinga desert values for British nuclear tests without a precursor. This was all ignored by Uncle Sam (Glasstone)!

We have already given in many posts extensive evidence proving that concrete buildings in Hiroshima and modern cities absorb thermal, nuclear and blast effects in a way totally ignored by Glasstone's unobstructed desert analysis. Strategic nuclear deterrence is thus bunk, if based on nuclear test effects data from unobstructed desert or open ocean. We need tactical nuclear deterrence to stop invasions and the use of force, not an incredible threat of bombs on cities, which is analogous to the gas and incendiary bombing exaggerations of the 1920s and 1930s which failed to deter WWII. The exaggerations were made by both lying disarmers (to scare people into disarmament) and by lying proponents of aerial bombing in war (to scare enemies into surrender). The resulting pseudo "consensus of expert opinion" from both groups had tragic consequences. Strategic bombing, megatons of ~100 kg high explosive on Germany, equivalent to a large nuclear attack however you scale the megatonnage (by the 2/3 power of blast yield for peak overpressure, or by the 0.4 power or even by the square root of yield for pressure impulse at very low yields), also failed to produce military results when civilians were bombed. The two low yield nuclear weapons dropped over mostly wooden houses in Japan did not produce the results publically claimed (for propaganda) for modern concrete cities. We've been blogging this for years, ignored by the loons who prefer anti-nuclear lies about strategic nuclear deterrence!

So to correct Glasstone for urban areas:

(1). Simply use Lord Penney's exponential attenuation formula from Hiroshima to reduce peak overpressures in cities: exp(-R/3.25) for R being radial distance through a city in kilometres. This reduces peak overpressure by 50% at 2.2 km. (Obviously precise effects depend on details, but this is a "baseline" for minimal blast attenuation, in cities with predominantly wood frame buildings.)

(2). Simply use George R. Stanbury's formula for predicting the thermal flash shadowing, by calculating the number of exposed upper floors that can geometrically "see" the fireball as a function of range, so that the number of computed flash burns correspond to the number of windows that can see the fireball (e.g. for 50 ft wide streets, 3 miles from a 1 megaton surface burst, only the highest floor can "see" the fireball since the angle from the top of the fireball to building top artificial skyline is 13.5 degrees; if the buildings are on average 10 floors high, the percentage burns and fire risk is therefore 1/10 for one side of a building with 4 sides, i.e. 1/40 which is smaller than the 1/10 assumed by some simplistic propaganda; but you then get into the issue of the size of the windows and whether the people inside are protected by shadows from walls or furnishings or internal office cubicle partitions or even other people in between the target and the fireball in the office, all of which reduce the simplistic "theoretical" estimates of the number of people burned, instead of assuming that no buildings or screening exists at all as in anti-nuclear propaganda for so-called "arms control" (war via appeasement/disarmament as in the 1930s). Stanbury points out there, and in his August 1962 Restricted UK Home Office Scientific Advisory branch Fission Fragments article on Fires from nuclear weapons, that to produce firestorms in Germany - the allies tried hard to achieve this in 1943 to end the war (and firestorms produce the associated soot clouds for climatic "nuclear winter" effects hype) you needed 50% of buildings to be initially ignited, which was only possible in the (now burned and gone) medieval wooden areas of Hamburg and Hiroshima (due to blast-overturned charcoal braziers in wooden houses in Japan, not the thermal flash which was obstructed by rooms and other buildings). Stanbury's studies of the thermal flash shielding in Liverpool and Birmingham showed that the thermal radiation is shielded to such an extent you simply can't get to within an order of magnitude of that 50% ignition incidence needed for a Hamburg style intense firestorm (or, therefore, nuclear winter due to Hamburg type firestorm soot clouds penetrating the stratosphere)!

The effect of scattered thermal radiation diffusing into shadows was insignificant at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, where burns from thermal radiation were only received in an unobstructed radial line from the fireball, so that any shielding provided virtually complete protection from thermal flash. The 110 Castle-3 shot at Bikini Atoll in 1954 was fired during a moderate rainstorm to obtain data on the reduction of blast and thermal effects by rainfall. There are no films that show the fireball because the water content of the air absorbed the thermal and visible transmission. Heavy rain or fog absorbs the thermal radiation locally around the fireball, rather than creating a large amount of dangerously wide-angle scattered radiation at great distances. Northrop's 1996 Handbook of Nuclear Weapon Effects: Calculational Tools Abstracted from EM-1, gives data for Nevada desert conditions in Figure 6.39 on page 248, on the effect of scattered thermal radiation from a burst at 1 km altitude, at various distances and for different fields of view:

At 10 km ground range, 43% of the thermal radiation in unobstructed terrain is direct (from the fireball), and 57% is scattered, but the angular distribution of scattering is not extreme (most of the scattering comes from air relatively near the fireball): the total (direct plus scattered) is 80% for a 30 degrees field of view (only 20% of the thermal radiation comes from angles exceeding 30 degrees from the radial line to the burst). Only 4% of the total thermal radiation at 10 km comes from angles beyond 90 degrees (i.e. 96% comes from the hemisphere around a target facing the burst).

At 30 km ground range, 16% of the thermal radiation in unobstructed terrain is direct (from the fireball), and 84% is scattered, but the angular distribution of scattering is not extreme (most of the scattering comes from air relatively near the fireball): the total (direct plus scattered) is 70% for a 40 degrees field of view (only 30% of the thermal radiation comes from angles exceeding 40 degrees from the radial line to the burst). Only 6% of the total thermal radiation at 10 km comes from angles beyond 90 degrees (i.e. 94% comes from the hemisphere around a target facing the burst).

Northrop's 1996 Handbook of Nuclear Weapon Effects: Calculational Tools Abstracted from EM-1, also gives graphs of the thermal radiation spectrum, showing differences with burst altitude and yield. Figure 6.19 shows that a 1 kt surface burst gives a thermal spectrum which peaks at 1.1 micron (Planck radiating temperature = 2000 K), compared to 0.4 micron (Planck radiating temperature = 5000 K) for 1 kt air bursts at 1-30 km altitude. Figure 6.21 shows there is much less difference between the spectra for surface and air bursts for 1 megaton yield: 0.70 micron peak in the thermal spectrum (Planck radiating temperature = 3800 K) for a megaton surface burst, compared with 0.52 microns (Planck radiating temperature = 4500 K) for a 30 km altitude megaton burst.

Northrop's 1996 Handbook of Nuclear Weapon Effects: Calculational Tools Abstracted from EM-1, in Figure 16.10 uses hydrodynamic calculations to prove that the maximum fire wind velocity in a firestorm is only a weak function of the fire intensity, for example a fire with a radius of 10 km will create a maximum fire wind velocity of 17 m/s for a fire intensity of 25 kW/m2, but this only increases to 36 m/s if the fire intensity is increased to 240 kW/m2.

Remember also that nuclear test evidence shows that the risk of clothing or other items burning is less for real levels of office humidity than for target materials left to dry out in the Nevada at the lower humidity of Nevada nuclear tests like Encore; clothing shields thermal radiation and increases burns energy requirements contrary to Glasstone.

Northrop's 1996 Handbook of Nuclear Weapon Effects: Calculational Tools Abstracted from EM-1, Table 14.5 on page 501 also points out that while people standing nude 2 metres behind glass windows watching the nuclear blast approach them will receive a 50% median dose of 3 glass fragment abdominal wall penetrations at a peak overpressure of 7 psi, it takes 15 psi if they are wearing clothing! If they duck and cover, they will can avoid the directional flying glass (and the thermal burns) completely. What Northrop doesn't tell you is that in a built up city, the dynamic pressure needed to energise those glass fragments to lethal velocities don't exist 2 metres behind glass windows in general; only behind those windows facing the fireball with an unobstructed view. Other windows on all all sides of the building will certainly break if the overpressure is high enough, but the blast wind (dynamic pressure) is directional and so the windows will not be blasted inwards with the same speed (at lower pressures they can even fail in the negative phase and be sucked outwards, with no hazard whatsoever to occupants!). Northop (1996) in chapter 14 on personnel casualties gives very high mortality rates based on unprotected head impacts, particularly for standing personnel, e.g. 5 psi for 50% mortality for people standing in buildings swept through by blast winds. Again, this assumes the blast winds are not obstructed and attenuated by the other surrounding buildings in a city, but it also suggests a simple civil defense precaution to accompany duck and cover in a crisis situation: bicycle helmets can be kept under emergency table "shelters" and can be put on quickly before the blast arrives, after a nuclear explosion, to minimise head trauma from flying debris or bodily translation and impact for high dynamic pressures and long blast durations. With duck and cover, you can avoid wind drag or injury from flying debris and you can keep away from a blast reflecting surface, then Northop shows in Figures 14.2 and 14.3 that you have 50% chance of surviving 37 psi peak overpressure from 1 megaton if you are lying down perpendicular to the direction of approach of the blast wave, or 62 psi if your are lying parallel to the direction of the blast (i.e., lying down facing away from the flash). In other words, blast is then very survivable!

(3). Simply allow nuclear radiation doses in modern cities to be attenuated severely by a factor of about 100 (from the 2011 Los Alamos report unobstructed desert "free field" initial nuclear radiation dose data study for the shadowing by intervening the buildings of in New York City) - before you include the actual shielding by a building people are in, which is much better for INR than Glasstone claims, because essentially ALL of the urban area outdoor 100-fold reduced radiation dose is SCATTERED, not direct, so it is energy-degraded and not the highest-energy direct gamma and neutrons (which are attenuated severely on the transit through all the buildings in the radial line from the bomb)! Putting in "/100" to the computer formulae is not rocket-science! Simple. Nothing in the universe is perfect, but this correction is easy, and gives a minimal baseline for realism for the urban effects of nuclear weapons, lacking in all anti-nuclear diatribes. For higher field weapons, the increased ranges for given doses will lead to increased attenuation since at increased ranges there will be more concrete buildings, and although scattered radiation builds up at greater distances, it has lower energy than unscattered radiation and therefore is less penetrating (easier to shield). (Glasstone is widely ignored when pointing out in one table in the last chapter - contrary to many free-field charts and graphs - that 50% survival in modern concrete buildings in Hiroshima occurred at 0.12 mile for the 16 kt air burst at 600 m; this scales up by the cube-root scaling law to predict 50% survival at 1.2 miles from a 16 megaton air burst at 6 km altitude.) The most penetrating and wide-angle scattered nuclear radiation dose is from neutrons, but for the full range of 13 different nuclear weapon designs in the 1984 EM-1, the effective mean free-path for the surface burst neutron dose over the distance 1-2 km only ranges from 189 to 221 metres (the latter being weapon type 13, the neutron bomb). (The neutron dose will essentially completely arrived - except for a small portion due to delayed neutrons from fission products like bromine-90 - before blast damage occurs to those buildings lcated near the crater.)

Additionally, the blast effects data (relating say overpressure to casualties) is way off in left-wing anti-nuclear propaganda. The actual Hiroshima and Nagasaki data proves much greater survival than bogus theoretical assessments: in reality, 100% people are not nude standing behind windows facing the blast while wearing roller-skates to ensure they are frictionlessly blown straight out of the 42nd floor by a 3psi blast, and killed by the impact from the gravitational fall to the pavement 420 feet below. Instead of the 1979 US Office of technology assessment claim that 50% of people are killed at 5psi, in Hiroshima and Nagasaki more than twice this was needed for the same effect, even without effective duck and cover or taking shelter (CLICK HERE FOR REPORT CONTAINING THE EVIDENCE FOR THIS). Although blast duration increases with yield, this has no effect if the pressure is below the threshold for damage, so Glasstone's curves are wrong for not reverting to cube-root scaling at high yields (impulse rules at low yields, peak pressures rule at high yields; Glasstone ignores this transition in his nonographs for building damage, which is corrected by by the secret EM-1; report Dirkwood Corp report DC-P-1060 found that the blast mortality effect was 50% at 32 psi peak overpressure in modern non-seismic concrete buildings in Hiroshima, or 17 psi for 1 megaton, without duck-and-cover to reduce exposure to flying glass, debris and blast wind drag; contrasted to 5 psi in anti-nuclear disarmament propaganda lies).

For the correct application of Hiroshima's lessons to modern higher yield nuclear war threats from Russia, see for instance the 1970s congressional testimony of T. K. Jones of Boeing Corporation in hearings linked HERE (February-March 1976 congressional Civil Defense Review), and HERE (November 1976 Nuclear War Survival hearings). Whenever the factual evidence surfaces, it is falsely labelled "controversial" or "wrong" by lying mainstream media charlatans, fraudsters, and bigoted snake oil salesmen, and ignored for political left-wing propaganda purposes, or the "arms controllers" simply tell lies claiming falsely that civil defense is a joke, just as they did in the 1930s (when civilian gas masks were discounted as a simple solution to deter Hitler from dropping his gas bombs on cities for a knockout blow!) and 1970s, debunked by T. K. Jones' famous 1979 letter to congress, extract below, which led to his being appointed Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Strategic and Theater Nuclear Forces on June 1, 1981 under the new Reagan Administration, which aimed to win the Cold War by science and technology, not lose freedom via Russian nuclear coercion. Note that while the ACDA - i.e. the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, whose faked nuclear weapons/war effects calculations lay behind the disastrous 1970s nuclear parity SALT farce which now results in dictators again intimidating democracies as was the case in the 1930s due to disarmament scams for "peace" which led to WWII - claimed 50% of people are killed at 5 psi peak overpressure from a megaton, while in fact U.S. classified Defense Nuclear Agency research showed that Russian public shelters were built to take 150 psi i.e. surviving within the 0.83 mile fireball radius of a 5 megaton surface burst, Russian apartment basement shelters were built to survive 60 psi, and good Russian improvised expedient shelters built outside cities survived 40 psi in American blast tests and gave upwards of 200 fallout protection factor (i.e., reducing the maximum hotspots of 20,000 rads to a survivable 100 rads and averting casualties).

ACDA disarmament bigots simply lied in the traditional "H. G. Wells" 1930s-sci-fi-style of disarmament fantasy, in testimony to congress, about the motivation and the detailed work of those people who disproved them, they ignored the classified data on blast and fallout shielding in their "effects" models, or their calculations assumed that people failed to use fallout shelters in order to deceptively "reduce" fallout protection factors by a factor of 7, by simply assuming people would go outside to be exposed to unshielded fallout (like most people, they also massively exaggerated the mean gamma ray energy of fallout during the sheltering period, as we have previously exposed, which is debunked by the measurements after the Redwing Zuni and Tewa tests) - they also lied that Jones didn't include fallout casualties when in fact he did include fallout correctly, finding that you don't get fallout casualties with the high degree of radiation shielding in shelters, an exact analogy to the situation where the 100,000 protection factor of activated charcoal gas mask filters gave no gas casualties in 1938 research, and disarmament bigots tried to claim that was some kind of ignorant dismissal of the horrors of true gas war so they would "arbitrarily" assume that only say 50% of people put on gas masks in order to then falsely claim that gas masks were somehow "calculated" to only work for 50% of people - i.e. only those assumed to be actually wearing them! - a travesty and abuse of scientific modelling (like lying that you have done detailed calculations proving that car seat belts make no difference in accidents, when in fact you have merely assumed that nobody wears the seat belts!), when in fact the true excellence of gas mask protection was proved to successfully deter Hitler from using gas on civilians with gas masks, saving millions contrary to the hate attacks on civil defence by disarmament propaganda deceivers (who recognised that civil defence made deterrence credible, and so was a threat to their bigoted plans for peace at any price):

ABOVE: extracts from the famous 1979 T. K. Jones Boeing Corporation letter, page 2, debunking "arms control" nuclear weapons effects liars in detail. This really exasperated my dad, John B. Cook, who was a Civil Defence Corps instructor in the 1950s, but was old enough to live through the 1930s appeasement era when Philip Noel-Baker repeated lied on the effects of gas bombs, claiming gas masks will never work, because babies and the elderly won't put them on properly, blah, blah, so we must ban evil civil defence and instead guarantee peace by appeasing the Nazis because of we don't, they will DEFINITELY gas us all with a massive gas bomb raid on day 1 of war. In fact, Philip Noel-Baker did this first in a BBC radio speech in 1927, 6 years before Hitler was elected. Family members who knew the truth from gas attacks in WWII - largely negated by simple gas masks and going into shelters for droplets of persistent liquids like mustard agent - had to put up with this lying BBC and other media propaganda for disarmament throughout the 1930s, to the joy of the Nazis who were secretly rearming and preparing for invasions (not necessarily war, since Hitler would have been quite happy to "peacefully" invade the world and then use efficient gas chambers to dispose of those whose race or views he found to be "offensive", like modern snowflakes today). What really irritated dad, however, was that Philip Noel-Baker, having lied about gas effects in his February 1927 BBC radio broadcast and throughout the 1930s to great applause from pacifists who effectively did Hitler's bidding, was made a Lord and a Nobel Peace prize winner for appeasement propaganda lies that led to world war, and then did the same thing all over again during the cold war, issuing nuclear weapons lies. In a 1980 House of Lords debate on Civil Defence, he lied that the air burst in Hiroshima produced lethal fallout: "It covers everything in Hiroshima not already rendered lethal, and so those who have escaped the flash, the blast, the fire, will die within a short time. The first atomic bomb weighed two kilograms. It was little larger than a cricket ball. ... In 1978, more than 2,000 died in Hiroshima from its long-term effects."

Every word here is totally untrue, and easily disproved, but nobody in the House of Lords explained the facts to him, so this he quotes on page 5 of his 1980 Ecology Party book "How to Survive the Nuclear Age", and on page 6 he adds an attack on civil defence: "I feel the same outrage in 1980 when the Home Office [UK Government civil defence] propose to circulate a a copy of a pamphlet entitled Protect and Survive to every citizen. ... To strengthen the walls and ceilings as the pamphlet suggests, he needed a garden, a spade, sandbags, and the strength to dig and transport a ton of earth." However, the infirm or elderly don't need to hire an army of helpers to make a fallout shelter, because - contrary to Philip Noel-Baker - you can simply use water from a hose to fill up water filled bags inside boxes which do the shielding, as explained in the Home Office scientific advisory branch Fission Fragments magazine article (reprinted in the Royal Observer Corps Journal, vol. 27, issue 2, February 1985, page 26, below). In any case, in actual implementation, you would have some organization for civil defence in time of crisis, with people in nighbourhoods helping one another (lending hose pipes, helping to assemble emergency shelters around tables in homes, etc). Noel-Baker ends his case by absurdly calling for disarmament as a "sure way to avoid the war", by again ignoring the lessons of his own 1930s disarmament war effects propaganda which led to appeasement and thus the encouragement of enemy aggression, triggering the Second World War: "This is not a utopian dream. It is the system by which David Lloyd George disarmed Germany in 1919..." This claim typifies Noel-Baker's absurd, self-contradictory nonsense, since DLG's 1919 "system" led to another, far worse, world war, not to peace.

In that 1980 Ecology Party book "How to Survive the nuclear age", there is after the deceptions from Labour Party Lord Noel-Baker, a summary of civil defence shelter advice, but then the book ends with the transcript of the final big speech from Lord Mountbatten to the arms control anti-nuclear propaganda institute SIPRI at Strasbourg on 11 May 1979 (the IRA tragically ended his appeasement campaign with a bomb on his boat off the coast of Sligo, Ireland, on 27 August 1979): "A military confrontation between the nuclear powers could entail the horrifying risk of nuclear warfare [hardly likely if we have overwhelming superiority for credible deterrence, as we should have had - but did not have - in the 1930s to deter Hitler]. ... A new world war can hardly fail to involve the all-out use of nuclear weapons [this is debunked by former NATO General Sir John Hackett's book "The Third World War" which shows how escalation risks will be controlled even in the event of a Russian first-strike on Britain, provided that we are prepared for nuclear war - this book will be discussed in detail later in this blog post, below]. ... Let us all resolve to take all possible practical steps to ensure that we do not, through our own folly, go over the edge."

ABOVE: the most advanced and latest American "counterforce" nuclear weapons, the oralloy (Oak Ridge Alloy, aka U235 loaded secondary stage) W88 nuclear warheads were designed for to knock out the huge well shock-insulated Russian SS-18 missile silos when they had a physical vulnerability number of 52L7, corresponding to a peak overpressure of 7000 psi, which is well within the crater radius. This is highly relevant today, since ehe SS-18 (in Russian nomenclature: R-36M2) is still in service (like the American W88), and the Russians have 46 of them, each with 10 warheads of 800 kilotons each, i.e. a total of 10x46 = 460 nuclear warheads and 3680 megatons. These 211 ton SS-18s are due to be replaced with the latest 208 ton Sarmat (RS-28) missiles (which made its first test flight on 20 April 2022, during the Ukraine war), extending the range from 11,000 km for the SS-18 to 18,000 km for the Sarmat. Unfortunately, as this declassified report shows, as with the Russian civil defense shelters, the silo hardness was underrated and the physical vulnerability is not 52L7 as originally supposed. The SS-18 silos could take much higher peak overpressures than 7000 psi and related ground shock, cratering throwout, etc. (The current "best guess" - and this is not proof tested due to the ban on atmospheric nuclear testing - is that it takes a peak overpressure of 10,000 psi to blow the silo door off the SS-18 silo and wreck the missile, which occurs at a distance from the warhead similar to its inertial gyroscopic CEP targetting error if the accurate GPS satellite navigation system is taken out by high altitude bursts, so to get a high kill probability you need to target many warheads per silo, a hugely inefficient strategy when all the enemy has to do is launch the SS-18 out of the silo before your warheads arrive!) In addition to this underestimate of the hardness of vital military "counterforce" targets in Russia, the Americans also massively over-estimated the cratering and ground shock effects for high yields in ordinary soils (not easily broken coral reefs!). (For references, please see the earlier blog posts about cratering exaggerations linked here and here.) The points we want people to take away, or at least openly investigate and question are:

(1) countervalue (anti-city) effects of nuclear weapons are bunk because, aside from the mistakes and deliberate omissions Glasstone and Dolan made for propaganda purposes in their 1977 edition, if the chips really do go down, you or your opponent can simply evacuate cities - most of which self-evacuate at 5pm every weekday, anyhow - evacuation is not a miracle, despite what Scientific American or Bulletin of Atomic Scientists says - before issuing an ultimatum, just as the UK did with evacuating kids from London in Operation Pied Piper on 1 September 1939 before issuing an ultimatum and then declaring war 48 hours later,

(2) you or your opponent can not only safeguard the civilians in cities by evacuating them (or putting the people into shelters/basements etc if you have them, as the Russians do, and as thankfully the Ukrainians do which is a key reason they have been able to fight the Russian invasion, as a result of having previously been part of the civil defense obsessed USSR), but 100% of missiles in silos can also be safeguarded from destruction by simply firing them out of their silos, if seriously threatened by a counterforce (anti-silo) enemy attack. In other words, if you decide to credibly target enemy nuclear weapons (a very costly strategy in terms of the number of W88 warheads per silo for any significant chance of damaging a >7000psi peak overpressure-requiring SS-18 missile silo, which are about as well protected as the concrete and steel around most nuclear power reactor cores), your targetting policy will encourage the enemy to launch first, to save their missiles from being taken out! So using nuclear weapons to target other nuclear weapons in hardened silos (or hidden in the sea in submarines!), apart from being extremely inefficient and costly in terms of your stockpile, is also a policy that provokes the risk of enemy "launch on warning" crisis instability because you are, if "successful", removing the enemy's protected second strike retaliation capability, and once the second strike option is gone, they are pushed back into the old first-strike aka launch-on-warning policy, which is extremely dangerous if their radar operators mistake some third party's missile testing for a launch against them, etc., etc. So the obsessive "disarmament fantasy" of only using nuclear weapons to try to deter other nuclear weapons in silos by targeting them, is a dangerous illusion that provokes crisis instability and risks an accidental nuclear war, in addition to being an exceptionally ineffective deterrent! All you do with that delusion is to deter the enemy from a second-strike policy, and force the enemy into a dangerous first-strike/launch on warning policy! If you can knock out the enemy warheads in their silos, the enemy will simply ensure that there is a very high probability that their missiles have been launched out of their silos before your warheads arrive, so you will be uselessly destroying EMPTY missiles silos! (your warheads take 25 minutes to arrive for an ICBM between continents, and 10 minutes for a back door attack of an SLBM launched from a submarine; less time is required for a Russian sub to hit NY or LA because they are beside oceans, unlike Moscow and most Russian targets that are well inland!).

(3) In any case, how do you target enemy SLBMs in submarines hidden at sea? Similarly, the most numerous Russian ICBM in their stockpile is the mobile SS-27 Mod 2/RS-24, of which they have 135 missiles on 16-wheeled mobile launch vehicles which can move around, with 4 separate MIRV nuclear megaton warheads per missile and a range of 11,000 km. How do you target them as they move around during a crisis situation? They can easily move position enough to survive an nuclear warhead in the US stockpile during the 25 minutes while your missiles are on the way to hit them in a crisis situation, so you are literally trying to hit a moving target - do you really believe America will be able to reprogram the target locations for ICBM warheads in flight as they are moving? The whole idea would be amusing if it wasn't so tragic (there was an effort to create a warhead which could track its moving target and adjust its trajectory accordingly, the MARV - Maneuverable Reentry Vehicle - the only known Western MARV was the Pershing II warhead, which disarmed as part of the INF treaty to appease Russia/pro-disarmament politicians in the West). So the whole idea of using nuclear weapons to hit enemy nuclear weapons before they are launched is crazy and dangerous. It's no joke that all the disarmament propaganda claims falsely that nuclear weapons have only the purpose of targetting other nuclear weapons in silos. That policy is dangerous, because it just encourages the enemy to get the weapons out of their silos before your weapons can arrive, so you are not deterring the enemy to launch their weapons, but forcing them to launch on warning, a lunatic policy! Nuclear weapons are only effective in a counterforce operation against armies on the move, either as a deterrent or to physically stop invasions without collateral damage by air burst enhanced neutron weapons. The only real use of nuclear weapons should be, as Oppenheimer said, as a tactical threat to stop the military invasions and attacks that triggered two world wars.

Nuclear weapons are exceptionally good at deterring (or stopping) armies on the move! Not so if they are dispersed in defensive positions like hasty earth covered emergency civil defense shelters that resist 40 psi peak overpressure and give a protection factor of 200 or more against radiation; but the point is that they deter enemy military offensives and once the enemy has crossed your border you are within your rights to stop them; the credible threat will prevent invasions this way, ending world war. (Nuclear weapons are also effective at destroying enemy nuclear weapons in flight, e.g. the 2 kt W66 neutron warhead in the American Sprint ABM missile could melt down the fissile material in Russian nuclear warheads in flight in the atmosphere, and the 5 Mt W71 x-ray warhead of the Spartan ABM missile would ablate, deflect and destroy Russian warheads in space; they also also knock down trees to create demilitarised zones in jungle warfare.)

ABOVE: physicist and author Colin Bruce Sibley's 1977 book Surviving Doomsday, which was reviewed by Peter Laurie in New Scientist, 13 April 1978, p97, where Laurie points out: "I'm afraid that Mr Sibley has fallen into the popular error of confusing what modern weapons can do, with what they will do." This followed his 1976 Foreign Affairs Research Institute paper, "The strategic significance of Soviet civil defence preparedness". Unfortunately, Sibley had been producing children's educational stuff, for example producing a vinyl record of the 1969 Moon Landings, Journey to the Moon (Pickwick International Ltd.), and in 1976 he authored The How and Why Wonder Book of Energy and Power Sources and The How and Why Wonder Book of Oil (Transworld Publishers Ltd., 1976 and 1979), see illustration below. He used this same children's book style to write Surviving Doomsday! Sibley (1935-2008) later edited Protect and Survive Monthly. The reason for this was the attitude of publishers: they knew that hard facts on nuclear weapons didn't sell easily and needed a lot of "gloss" to be economically viable for printing. This same farce occurred with a UK Government booklet, Protect and Survive.

ABOVE: Air raid sirens operator Yoshie Oka who survived the nuclear explosion near ground zero in the military bunker just north of Hiroshima Castle on 6 August 1945, identified the B29 bombers (which Tokyo had tracked by the Enola Gay B29 bomber radio call sign), and passed on a report to her seniors in time to get the people of Hiroshima into their air raid shelters, most of which survived intact against a 16 kt nuclear air burst at 600 metres altitude (by cube-root scaling, similar peak pressures would occur at ground zero for a 16 megaton burst at 6000 metres altitude, since the cube-root of a 1000 fold increase is 10, i.e. 10^3 = 1000, and although the blast duration is also 10 times longer, the blast arrival time also scales up similarly, so it also takes 10 times longer for the blast wave to arrive at ground zero, giving people a far better chance to "duck and cover", and of course in the higher yield burst the scaling of the bomb case thickness and burst altitude will allow far more mean free paths of radiation shielding metal and air which make the initial radiation a minor threat like the thermal flash inside concrete buildings). But the army officers in Hiroshima were taking breakfast so there was a long delay, and eventually at 8:13, just two minutes before detonation, she finally received the order to start the complex sequence needed to sound the public air raid sirens, putting codes into the air raid sirens to permit operation! She was still trying to get the air raid alarm out when the bomb went off. This is why there was no warning in Hiroshima and most people were not in the plentiful public shelters or concrete buildings. Shamefully this vital evidence for the failure of civil defense in Hiroshima is completely edited out of the fake news which passes for nuclear weapons information in so-called free democracies.

ABOVE: Peter Laurie's article on civil defence in the Sunday Times Magazine, 10 December 1967, pages 39 et seq., formed the basis of his later book Beneath the City Streets. The article states (on page 50) that the popularist (faked) megadeath nuclear war casualty figures were even in 1967 not without precedent since exactly the same media trash exaggerations on casualties and knock-out blow strategy also existed before WWII (contributing to the appeasement that encouraged Hitler): "a very similar situation existed in 1938. Everyone believed - and these were official estimates - that the Luftwaffe could flatten half London in 3 weeks and kill 3,000,000 people. Few Londoners ran away, and few got bloodthirsty. More to the point, a booklet was issued to every household that winter: The protection of your home against air raids. In August 1939 Mass Observation did a survey on what people knew of something simple: the two air raid sirens. Five out of six got them wrong ..." Laurie's article was, of course, published just 4 months before the British civil defence corps was abolished by hard left wing Prime Minister Harold Wilson in March 1968. But Laurie points out on page 40 of his article that the London underground (ordinary tube trains, not just the specially hardened shelters at 8 stations) will survive directly below a 5 megaton burst at 8,000 feet altitude, which optimises blast effects on buildings, and he points out that the "fireball does not touch the ground: there is no significant fallout." Sure, you can reduce the height of burst to try to damage underground facilities and to cause fallout, but then you no longer optimise the effects on ordinary houses. Laurie in his massive nuclear weapons effects diagram on the same page points out that 75% of British houses are demolished at 5.25 miles from the 5 megaton air burst at 8,000 ft altitude: "but 90% of people under stairs will live" (the WWII Morrison table shelter principle, which is independent of bomb yield because the weight of a collapsing house is independent of bomb yield). His article states that the 1967 British civil defence budget was 10s per person, compared to 17s 6d in West Germany, but adds that "Since 1948, when [nuclear war] civil defence began, we have spent over £1000 million; roughly the capital cost of the deterrent and delivery systems." Laurie also points out in his 1967 article that the very high protection factors of deep shelters make them unfeasible because Russia can produce rockets to negate them for 33% of the cost of the shelters. In order to win an arms race by economic attrition through civil defence, therefore, you need cheaper shelters that cost less than the weapons the enemy is making to try to break through your defences (the same point occurred in WWII, when cheap indoor Morrison table shelters were deployed instead of the economically-crippling gold-plated variety, having been invented and tested by Lord Baker and his assistant Edward Leader-Williams, who - with Frank H. Pavry and George R. Stanbury - in the 1950s tested key British WWII shelters against nuclear weapons at Monte Bello and Maralinga and used the results to develop them into effective but cheap nuclear shelters, published finally in the 1982 UK Government book Domestic Nuclear Shelters - Technical Guidance). Finally, Laurie makes the point that devastation in war can transform politics into dictatorial communism: "Russia, for example, by the end of the first world war [the Red revolution was in October 1917 in Russia] had lost, in comparison to 1913: one half to two thirds livestock, one half grain production, 90% of coal, steel, textiles, and transport, 28 million people." The lesson is that if your country is devastated by the effects of war like Russia or Germany in 1918 or Vietnam in 1975, the survivors are likely to have to live in a politically extreme dictatorship, justified by the sheer destruction and the populist need for revenge at any cost.

ABOVE: photos of paranoid dictatorial Russia from the 25 March 1933 Illustrated London News article, when British citizens in Moscow (Allan Monkhouse, John Cushny, W. H. Thornton, W. H. McDonald, Charles Nordwall et al.) were arrested by the OGPU of Stalin's regime on trumped up charges of sabotage (they all worked for the British Metropolitan-Vickers electrical engineering company, and the Russians claimed falsely the company was planning to blow up the Dnieprostroy Dam by pouring sand or acid into the turbines, when in fact the blades were 5 tons and were washed clean by millions of gallons of water daily!), and when ordinary Russians had to endure food rationing in peacetime.

ABOVE: the relationship of civil defence by a dictatorship to its aggressive policy (such as Germany's compulsory cellar bunker shelters in the 30s and Russia's in the cold war) was documented in the 14 October 1933 Illustrated London News showing civil defence anti-disarmament propaganda in Hitlers Nazi Germany, stating: "In view of the world-wide interest in the question of disarmament, with which is involved that of the re-armament claimed by Germany, it is significant that the Nazi regime appeas to be conducting all its activities, and training of the youth of the nation, on more or less military lines ... We illustrate in the photographs on these pages one phase of the all-pervading propaganda calculated to create in the German people the fear that one day or another they may be attached ... children are taught to take refuge promptly in special underground shelters and to extinguish, by sand, fires of the kind that might be caused by bombs. The spirit in which these lectures are given may be gathered from the following extract ... : " 'Germany is not allowed to have fighting aeroplanes on land or sea.' Thus runs Clause 198 of the shameful Treaty of Versailles ... Germany has been completely disarmed and has no defence against an enemy air attack." Having first set up effective German civil defence in 1933, the next step of the Nazis was to re-arm in preparation to setting the clock back to 1914. Stalin did the same in Russia. Putin follows suite. As Herman Kahn forecast over 60 years ago, we are now paying the price for neglecting civil defence and also for refusing to put freedom loving states ahead in the arms race. The options available to such weak loons are disastrous.

ABOVE: Western nuclear disarmament from 31,255 US warheads in 1966 to 3,750 in 2020, is a repeat of the weapons effects exaggerations for disarmament propaganda, a lying disaster which allowed a defeated Germany in 1918 to rearm and start WWII, as these quotations from an earlier blog post here prove, which also quotes Kissinger (before he was corrupted by political expediency) explaining how tactical nuclear weapons can safely be used to deter invasions: ‘The Hungarian revolution of October and November 1956 demonstrated the difficulty faced even by a vastly superior army in attempting to dominate hostile territory. The [Soviet Union] Red Army finally had to concentrate twenty-two divisions in order to crush a practically unarmed population. ... The high casualty estimates for nuclear war are based on the assumption that the most suitable targets are ... cities ... The elimination of area targets will place an upper limit on the size of weapons it will be profitable to use. Since fall-out becomes a serious problem [i.e. fallout contaminated areas which are so large that thousands of people would need to evacuate or shelter indoors for up to two weeks] only in the range of explosive power of 500 kilotons and above, it could be proposed that no weapon larger than 500 kilotons will be employed unless the enemy uses it first. Concurrently, the United States could take advantage of a new development which significantly reduces fall-out by eliminating the last stage of the fission-fusion-fission process.’ - Dr Henry Kissinger, Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy, Harper, New York, 1957, pp. 180-3, 228-9.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: (1). Thank you to for re-blogging a typical post from this blog, kicking out the lies from under secrecy obsessed loons who want disarmament to start WWIII.

(2). Thank you to for reblogging: "Are [strategic, not tactical] Nuclear Weapons 100 times Less Effective Than Supposed? Nigel B. Cook’s Glasstone.Blogspot Blog has beautiful coverage of many nuclear topics here. Cook is a master researcher who digs up incredible piles of research on all topics nuclear and the following is digest of various writings of his gathered for easy access centered on the remarkable thesis that the effects of nuclear weapons, while literally awesome, have been exaggerated or misunderstood to an even greater extent, with perhaps very considerable military consequences."

TIPS: There is compendium debunking commonplace anti-nuclear CND disarmament propaganda, exaggerations and fake news on nuclear weapons effects and deterrent capabilities linked here. Also, each post on this blog can be viewed in either a simple format, e.g. for this current post, is the simple (faster loading) format, or you can view it (slower loading) in a fancy format by adding: ?m=1 to the end of the URL, e.g.

"The Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances ... at the OSCE conference in Budapest, Hungary on 5 December 1994 ... signed by three nuclear powers: the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States ... prohibited the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States from threatening or using military force or economic coercion against Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan. As a result of other agreements and the memorandum, between 1993 and 1996, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine gave up their nuclear weapons." - Wiki.

NATO needs to come to its senses and rearm to deter WWIII instead of stupidly leaving Putin with more nuclear weapons than anyone else, to intimidate like Hitler (see 1930s newspapers below, which spell out the problem plainly). The problem is, the media is dominated by nuclear liars just as it was dominated by gas war liars in the 1930s, who encouraged war while pretending to be doing the opposite. Fighting a conventional war using Ukraine as proxy, while having an inferior nuclear stockpile, is hardly credible nuclear deterrence (please click here for our brief declassified data debunking Glasstone's lying data on nuclear weapons effects) . Also see the compendium linked here for more detail on the actual declassified effects found in Hiroshima, contrary to Glasstone's very deceptive treatment. Please also click here for our declassified 4069-pages compendium of nuclear weapons deterrence data, debunking the Ukraine's "security through nuclear disarmament" myth YEARS AGO!

ABOVE: "During the Cold War, it was often assumed that the use of nonstrategic nuclear weapons would eventually escalate to East-West strategic nuclear exchanges (Quinlivan and Oliker, 2011, p. 72). ... there seems to be a recognition within Russia of brinkmanship hazards—namely, that Russian nuclear use could get out of hand and result in further escalation (Quinlivan and Oliker, 2011, p. 72)." - Anthony Barrett, 2016 RAND Corp report RAND-PE-191-TSF, False Alarms, True Dangers? - Current and Future Risks of Inadvertent U.S.-Russian Nuclear War, page 7.

ABOVE: W54 Davy Crockett tactical nuclear deterrent of approximately 0.02kt yield and 20ft burst altitude, tested in front of Robert Kennedy, Attorney General, in the final Nevada atmospheric nuclear weapon trials to deter invasions: 2,100 were deployed in the 1960s, successfully deterring a Russian invasion. But ALL tactical nuclear weapons were removed in the 90s after false propaganda from appeasers, leaving a dangerous gap in the spectrum of deterrence. (Photo credits: US National Archives photos above taken on 14 July 1962 show tactical 0.02kt+/-10% yield W54 Davy Cockett nuclear weapon projective M388 on M29 launcher at Nevada Test Range, with two soldiers from the Heavy Weapons Platoon, 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry, 4th Infantry Division, US Army.) The Ukraine invasion is an invasion deliberately caused by the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances signed on 5 Dec 1994 to remove the nuclear deterrent from Ukraine to prevent war. Like the disarmament of the UK up to 1935 to guarantee "peace in our time", loads of excuses are used to try to justify weakness and enemy aggression, by left wing warmongers who profit by causing war with its refugee crises with financial and humanitarian disasters. Until the so-called peacemakers disarmed Ukraine of its 176 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launchers with some 1,240 warheads, leaving Ukraine to make improvised Molotov cocktail petrol bombs (polystyrene dissolved in petrol in a bottle) to try to protect its kids from Russia, Russia was deterred from invading Ukraine by reliable nuclear deterrence. Ukraine had experts and still does have expertise on servicing and using those nuclear weapons - in evidence, before they were invaded, we bought the confidential Russian nuclear weapons employment manuals (LINKED HERE) from the Ukrainian military on ebay. In fact, Russian nuclear weapons are more straightforward and easier to service and employ than American nuclear weapons, so the lie that the Ukrainian nuclear weapons in 1994 couldn't be serviced by Ukraine - which has Europe's largest nuclear reactor and all the nuclear expertise that goes with it - is just that, a lie by anti-nuclear folk.

"In the event that deterrence fails, this Perspective also finds a number of factors that could undermine NATO’s ability to respond to a crisis. As repeated RAND wargames have shown, Russia could quickly overwhelm any or all of its Baltic neighbors (Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania), which are not sufficiently supported by NATO allies to stop a concerted thrust into their territory ... In dozens of RAND-run wargames involving a variety of players, strategies, and variations in initial starting conditions, the longest it took Russian forces to reach the outskirts of the capitals of Estonia and Latvia in a short-notice invasion was 60 hours (Ref. 19)." - Clint Reach, Edward Geist, Abby Doll, and Joe Cheravitch, Competing with Russia Militarily - Implications of Conventional and Nuclear Conflicts, RAND Corp document PE-330-A, 2021, pages 2 and 9."

"It would be disastrous to have a conspicuous gap in the spectrum of deterrents and capabilities." - quotation from RAND Corporation's Herman Kahn, On Thermonuclear War, Princeton University Press, 1960, page 286. (Any gap in the "spectrum of deterrents and capabilities" is exploited by enemies, just as any gaps in a prison wall are not ignored but seized upon by escaping prisoners. A gap in the spectrum was created by the 1990s removal of tactical nuclear deterrents that deterred/stopped invasions, on the basis of populist lying anti-nuclear propaganda that the world would be safer as a result. It was only safer for warmongers, invaders and dictators. The world was in fact a "nuclear unarmed" place until 1945, but that didn't prevent nuclear weapons being made and used against Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. So much for peace or even an aversion of nuclear war escalation risks in war, through nuclear disarmament. Also note that those nuclear weapons were made by a democracy in secret, and during a world war. How much easier was it for nations with smaller economies to produce nuclear weapons in secret during peacetime? It was certainly cheaper, since none could have afforded the billions spent by America's Manhattan project during WWII. So much for nuclear disarmament preventing war or even preventing nuclear warfare during a war that began in a world free from nuclear weapons. Again, when WWII began, there were no nuclear weapons. The nuclear weapons were made and used during the war itself, being made in secret by a democracy, and under a Democratic Party president. If this doesn't fit in with the nuclear disarmament hype you have been told, then you know they are liars.)

As the illustrations below from Dr Shelton's Reflections of Nuclear Weaponeer, a shelter well within the fireball radius of the first multimegaton hydrogen bomb survived 330 psi peak overpressure, and a 1.4 megaton W49 thermonuclear warhead detonated at 400 km altitude above Johnston Island as the Starfish prime test on 9 July 1962 produced EMP effects 800 miles away in Hawaii (colour photos on the front page of the 9 July 1962 Honolulu Star Bulletin, mentioning that streetlights were turned off and air raid sirens were activated - due to EMP). The Russians later, on 22 October 1962, performed such an EMP demonstration with a 300 kt warhead detonated at 290 km altude, so they could use this type of "nuclear weapon demonstration" threat as an alternative to usual disarmament propaganda about nuclear weapons automatically being used to kill people by Hiroshima-type low altitude air or surface bursts:

ABOVE: in the Cold War, Russia was deterred from invasions using a variety of tactical nuclear weapons including 2,100 W54 Davy Crockett tactical nuclear weapons, and later - after the Russian invasion of Afghanistan began - 550 deployed W79 thermonuclear 1.1 kt W79 neutron bombs (to achieve a significant fusion yield with the very brief compressions available with a sub-kiloton fission yield, a second stage capsule of tritium and deuterium gas had to be employed, instead of the solid lithium-6 deuteride secondary stages that require neutron fission of the lithium-6 to produce tritium, prior to fusion; the x-ray compression at such a low yield was too brief to allow the fission stage neutrons to arrive at the secondary stage in time to fission enough lithium-6 prior to the x-ray compression pulse). The fission primary stage of the W79 shell uses small-diameter linear implosion system invented for a variety of purposes, both nuclear and non-nuclear, by US Government explosives expert Bernard Drimmer, and has now been declassified and published (after decades of being kept secret) as US Patent US5450794A/en, presented without the central fissile core for compression, as merely a method to increase to a maximum the efficiency of underwater explosives (just sticking a detonator into a lump of explosive leads to incomplete burning since some of the explosive ends up being blasted outwards into cold water before detonating; using the implosion system with the burning wave going inwards therefore maximises efficiency for non-nuclar torpedoes). The W79 deterred both massed troop invasions and also tank and APC invasions, since 14.1 MeV D+T fusion reaction neutrons penetrate armour very efficiently (even without the removable fusion capsules, the neutrons and gamma rays from 0.8 kt pure fission yield of the W79 was still a highly effective deterrent against Russian tanks; the fusion capsule reportedly added 0.3 kt of fusion yield, 80% of this or over 0.2 kt in the form of 14.1 MeV neutrons). Click for a Secret (now declassified) Los Alamos report detailing why we need the W79 enhanced neutron tactical nuclear weapons to deter Russian expansionism (report LA-12063-MS "The Future of Non-Strategic Nuclear Forces: Are These Capabilities Still Needed," dated 1991, LINKED HERE), and linked here with a previous slightly different declassified version linked here (which gives the names of the LA-12063-MS report authors, unlike the OpenNet version), ignored by left wing (discussed on previous blog post linked here - a brief extract from this 74-pages long report, containing detailed evidence that tactical nuclear weapons kept the peace in the Cold War much to the fury of Russia, is shown below; notice that tactical nuclear weapons are asymmetric in that they are more useful to deter invasions than to cause invasions, hence they are a stabilizing influence in crisis instability despite left wing propaganda to the contrary):

Another declassified Los Alamos neutron bomb report, Johndale C. Solem's 1982 Secret Los Alamos report LA-9004 (LINKED HERE) on the neutron bomb, The ultra-low yield antitank weapon, the teeny tiny tacnuke, complete with declassified markings showing it was "Nuclear Weapon Data Sigma 1: Critical Nuclear Weapon Design Information", in a limited edition of just 79 printed copies, secret (now declassified with deletions of design information) describes the kiloton W79 neutron warhead (44" long [note that there is a typing error, incorrectly stating it is 44 cm long in LA-9004], 200 lbs including firing system, capable of being fired 32 km from a 8" howitzer), and explains correctly that the whole point of such weapons is to deter the concentrated blitzkrieg assaults that started WWI in 1914 (the invasion of Belgium by concentrated force) and WWII in 1939 (the invasion of Poland by concentrated force). The principle of concentration of force can be deterred with nuclear weapons, thus preventing the invasions that trigger wars. By forcing enemies to disperse their forces, any attacks that are made can be dealt with using conventional weapons like handheld anti-tank rockets (no use against concentrated firepower, but useful against dispersed forces), preventing invasion and WWIII (the map below is from the 1st Cold War, but demonstrates the kind of threat possible after completion of invasions of Ukraine and its neighbour/NATO supporter Poland):

"Denying an aggressor force the use of massed formations of armor is the single most important aspect of the W79."

LA-9004 then goes on to suggest a lower yield version of the W79 for use against individual tanks, like the Kennedy era portable 0.02 kt W54 that could be fired by individual soldiers, air burst at 15 metres altitude to eliminate local fallout, blast and heat collateral damage. Page 5:

"Tank crews within 25 m of the weapon would be immediately incapacitated. Civilian populations 300 m from the point of detonation would be completely safe. ... Beyond 300 m, exposed personnel might be temporarily blinded from looking directly at the detonation, but would suffer no burns to exposed skin. ... The effect of blast on civilian structures near the battlefield would be trivial. Three hundred metres from the point of detonation windows would rattle but not break. ... the fallout would be expected to be confined to the battlefield itself. ... The principal advantage of such a device in reducing collateral damage from local fallout is that it simply does not produce much in the way of fission fragments or activated weapon debris."

LA-9004 then points out, on pages 7-8, that such a defensive low yield weapon with no significant risk of collateral damage is of no significant use to terrorists, contrasted to easy-to-procure alternatives.

ABOVE: the 405-pages, originally Secret 1969 Proceedings of the Tactical Nuclear Weapons Symposium, Los Alamos document LA-4350-MS, has been declassified and is available on Opennet (pdf is LINKED HERE). For 1 kiloton of D-T fusion air burst at 750 feet altitude (for the W79 this fusion yield is reportedly 0.3 kt, so you multiply the following doses by 0.3, before adding on the fission dose from 0.8 kt of fission), Dr Hudson's Lawrence Radiation weapons lab article "Clean nuclear explosive research applicable to tactical nuclear weapons (Secret-RD)", applying clean fusion tests research to peace-making deterrent purpose in the 1969 conference LA-4350-MS, shows that the unshielded dose at a 1,000 ft ground radius or range (i.e., distance from ground zero, not the slant distance from bomb) is 800,000 R (85% being neutrons), falling to 100,000 R at 2,000 feet (75% being high energy neutrons, with the rest being high energy gamma rays from inelastic neutron scattering by the air), and 10,000 R at 3,000 ft radius, but a relatively trivial 10 R at 7,000 ft radius, preventing collateral damage to nearby civilians. The U.S. Defense Nuclear Agency assessed that immediate permanent incapacitation for all tasks occurs at 18,000 R, or 8,000 R for physically demanding tasks, while 3,000 R produces immediate temporary incapacitation. The original 1972 secret Capabilities of Nuclear Weapons DNA-EM-1 gives initial radiation data for 8 designs of nuclear warhead, but it was revised and expanded to 13 designs in the 1984 edition. However, the neutron outputs from three of these are practically identical: nuclear warhead types 4 and 7 (1-30 kt boosted two-point implosion and 1-10 kt multipoint implosion) and 11 (30-300 kt cleaner tactical nuclear warhead), all giving about 83.6 rads per kiloton at 1 km ground range for a surface burst on unobstructed silicate soil in sea level density air, plus about 28 rads/kt of secondary gamma rays (the fission product initial radiation dose is independent of bomb design details apart from fission yield and total yield, being 19.3, 332 and 13,000 rads for 100% fission total yields of 1, 10 and 100 kt). For comparison, nuclear warhead type 13 in EM-1, the 1-2 kt enhanced neutron warhead produces about 20 times that dose (1,660 rads/kt of neutrons and 450 rads/kt of air secondary gamma if surface burst; a 1 kt "type 13" neutron bomb air burst at 500 m altitude gives a dose at ground zero of 170,000 rads of neutrons plus 27,200 rads of secondary gamma rays, according to EM-1). At the other end of the scale, the lowest neutron dose, just 0.666 rads, is produced by the type 10 in EM-1 (the low-yield fission primary stage "dial a yield" option of a B61 thick-cased thermonuclear weapon having multiple yield options). This is because the outer casing on a weapon with high yield options absorbs most of the neutrons from the primary stage, and thereby shows that you cannot simply use the low-yield option on a B61 as a replacement for tactical nuclear weapons like neutron bombs.

Note that once NATO C3I command is neutralised by Russian nuclear forces, e.g. EMP high altitude burst effects if not blast and nuclear radiation from surface or low altitude bursts, blitzkrieg by troops protected by armour enables rapid invasions, even in fallout radiation areas (tanks and APCs offer good shielding against the low energy gamma rays from fallout, unlike the higher energy initial flash of gamma rays and neutrons). When on 8 December 1991, the presidents of Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine dissolved the USSR, the Soviet military was 3.7 million strong. "From 1945 to 1948, the Soviet Armed Forces were reduced from about 11.3 million to about 2.8 million men", while the Soviet Union actually increased in size, as puppet governments were installed across half of Europe, despite the American nuclear weapons monopoly until 1949. Today, with the tactical nuclear deterrent removed from Europe, it is only necessary to blow up the military and political bases in Europe to destroy its capacity to harm Russia by economic warfare and military support to enemies of Russia. A business which puts its rivals out of operation becomes a monopoly. It doesn't necessarily have to send in huge numbers of "boots on the ground" to physically occupy all the destroyed rival business offices in order to succeed in "winning" the war; remember that in both the Third Reich and USSR/Warsaw Pact/Iron Curtain era, occupied countries were put under puppet governments (Vichy France, etc.) in a thinly camouflaged effort to portray the occupation as a mutually cooperative "peace initiative" (i.e., "you will do was we say, then we won't shoot you and blow your cities up, how's that for peacekeeping collaboration?").

To give some idea of the complexity (the diagrams above are open-source, unclassified, not to scale, and demonstrating principal concepts pictorially rather than as design blueprints) of the compact 1950s designs of tactical warheads that now form the primary stages in American two-stage missile warheads, please see the biography of John S. Foster, Jr., the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory physicist who led the designs of the compact primary stages needed for compact SLBM and MIRVed ICBM warheads. The quotations about the history of the modern primary designs that follow are from T. F. Ramos, Call Me Johnny, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, report LLNL-BOOK-783447, 2019:

"Much of the effort to design an atomic device relied on using a computer program, or code, to guide the designers. The group’s computer code support came from Bob LeLevier and Chuck Leith. Leith was a real computer pioneer. He had written out the Laboratory’s first codes on one of the world’s first computers, the UNIVAC. The physicist Jim Wilson, who was a distinguished graduate from UC Berkeley and a member of T Division, was yet another code developer, and became Johnny’s technical leader. In 1954, in a series of nuclear tests called Operation Castle, the Laboratory had once again fielded a shot that failed. This was a test of a Megaton Group secondary. It was the third successive nuclear test failure of the Laboratory. There were powerful men in Washington, DC who wanted to see the new Laboratory in Livermore shut down. The stress of the failure had its effects on Lawrence and Teller, and they both suffered from attacks of colitis and had to be hospitalized. Herb York came down with Valley Fever and had to remain at home in bed rest. That meant that the future of the nuclear weapons program at the Laboratory rested squarely on the shoulders of Johnny Foster and Harold Brown. ...

"Johnny was especially interested in designing a weapon for the Army, which during the Korean War, had experienced massive “human wave” attacks of Chinese soldiers – assaults that had almost destroyed Eighth Army. The Chinese Army attacked with large, closely packed formations that overwhelmed American defenses. Chastened, the Army wanted a nuclear artillery shell that would deter any nation from using those tactics again on a battlefield. ... He did not know it, but a team of Los Alamos engineers and technicians had developed a diagnostic technique called a pin dome that could measure how a device imploded. ... The Cleo was a tactical weapon, suitable for the Army, and it promised to be one of the smallest atomic devices yet developed. The Cleo concept required multidimensional modeling to fully understand its workings, and Jim Wilson performed Cleo calculations on new codes that he wrote. But even with Wilson’s talents, multidimensional computer codes were primitive affairs in 1954. ... For its transport to the Nevada Test Site, the Cleo was constructed in two parts, and each part was placed into a reinforced Samsonite suitcase [Cleo was tested in Nevada on 1 March 1955 as 7 kt Teapot-Tesla, atop a 300 ft tower. The predicted yield was 3.5-7kt. It was only 10 inches wide, 39.5 inches long, 785 lb, and used an external Zipper neutron gun. An even smaller version, Cleo II, was tested as 2 kt Teapot-Post on 9 April 1955, 34.2" long, weight 322 lb]. ... The Cleo had worked; the first warhead from the Laboratory to do so. Someone, apparently, had leaked information out about how the device had been delivered to the tower. Time magazine wrote a story about a new type of nuclear weapon that could fit inside a suitcase. ... Lawrence opened a discussion by asking, “Why do we need small diameter nuclear weapons?” Teller responded that they were needed for nuclear artillery, which had been identified as a need for the Army."

- T. F. Ramos, "Call Me Johnny", Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, report LLNL-BOOK-783447, 2019, p. 19-22,

"For the tests of 1956, Johnny organized the Hectoton Group into three teams; each team was responsible for designing an atomic device that deviated from the other devices in some way. He instituted a protocol that named each new device after a bird, and the three devices were called the Swan, the Swallow, and the Swift. They were radically different from the Cleo. ... The Swallow came the closest to resembling a nuclear artillery shell. The Swallow’s design had to be strong enough to withstand the high torque and acceleration it would experience after being fired from an artillery tube. ... The smallest device was the Swift. The Swift team was led by an Air Force captain named Jasper Welch, who would eventually rise to the rank of major general. ... With the coming of summer 1956, Johnny moved his entire group to Eniwetok. ... There were huge clams living inside the atoll, and Johnny wanted to take home a large clam shell. ... When he came to the surface for air, Johnny noticed several sharks circling in the lagoon a hundred yards away ... A Hectoton physicist named Larry Germain [Lawrence S. Germain, author of the LLNL history of tactical nuclear weapons and related thermonuclear primary stages, see illustration; above from our compendium of declassified data linked here], who always wore a pair of thick glasses, was treading water nearby, and Johnny asked him to watch out for the sharks and warn him if they began to get closer. ... When he resurfaced, there was no Germain, and Johnny noticed that the sharks were coming closer. He swam back to shore, and spotted Germain lying on the beach. When he asked Germain why he had left his post, the bespectacled physicist responded, “Well, I thought about what you said about there being sharks in the water, and I decided to get out of there.”

"It was time to test the devices, starting with the Swift [0.19 kt Redwing-Yuma, 27 May 1956, 5 inches in diameter, 24.5 inches long, weighed 96 lb.] . It was tested atop a 200-foot tower. It gave a low yield, about one-fourth of what had been expected. This was not an encouraging start. ... they would have to wait and see how the other designs worked. That opportunity came two weeks later, with the test of the Swallow [1.49 kt Redwing-Kickapoo, 13 June 1956, 8 inches in diameter, 28 inches long, weighed 225 lb] atop a 300-foot tower. The mediocre performance of the Swift made the mood tense. ... the Swallow performed well, rendering a yield greater than had been predicted. The Army had wanted a tactical nuclear device, and it looked like they may now have one. Next it was the Swan’s turn. When test day arrived, the same controls that had detonated the Swallow now triggered the Swan, which lit up the South Pacific sky and gave a yield in the upper part of its predicted range of values, which was gratifying [Swan, reported to be a boosted a two-point ignition hollow-pit air-lens flying plate slapper device, aka XW-45, was tested as the 15.2 kt Redwing-Inca nuclear test on 22 June 1956, with a mass of 47.6 kg, a length of 58 cm and a diameter of 29.5 cm. On 2 July 1956 it was used as the primary stage of the 360 kt Redwing-Mohawk test which used a Flute secondary stage. Mohawk was 15 inches in diameter, 46.2 inches long, and weighed 1116 lb]. This was the mothership of their atomic designs – the main hope for the Hectoton Group – and it had performed well. ... At a meeting held back in Livermore in August 1956, Johnny announced, “A study named Robin has been started on a different method of implosion [Dr Peter A. Goetz states the Robin was melon shaped in A technical History of America's Nuclear Weapons, v2, revised edition 2020, p209: "The Robin contained a hollow, boosted, plutonium core that resembled a "thick eggshell" ... Instead of using a shockwave to shape and compress its core ... Robin relied on deflagration ... burning ... at subsonic velocities ... the explosive envelope of the Robin primary was composed of PBX9404 (94% HMX) and its core was composed of alpha-phase Pu239, the densest known allotrope ... 19.89 g/cc"]. It aims to achieve a device characterized by light weight, ruggedness, and moderate efficiency.” ...

"They quickly converged onto a design that was a marvel to study. There were originally two versions of the Robin, Robin A and Robin B. The first A version used enriched uranium as its nuclear fuel, and it was cumbersome. The second version, Robin B, had a plutonium pit and when it was tested, it performed exquisitely. The Robin B was a true descendent to the original Geode concept. It was light and rugged, and it gave a significant yield. When the Robin B team was done, the device could be carried by one man. ... The Robin never showed up in America’s nuclear stockpile; that was not its legacy. It was much more important than that. It became the foundation upon which to build warheads for the future. It was the ultimate fission weapon, the prototype used to build the country’s modern stockpile. [However, Robin primaries were used in the 1963 Lawrence Livermore Lab W47Y2 X1 warhead, with an oralloy (U235) Fife secondary stage, for the Polaris A2 SLBM. In 1965, when tests showed that 75% of these 144 Robins failed due oiled neutron absorbing wire corroding permanently into the plutonium core of the Robin primary - this cadmium-boron wire was supposed to be pulled out by a small electric winch motor automatically before detonation as a safety system to prevent nuclear yield release in accidents - the Robins were replaced by 10kt boosted linear implosion Kinglet primaries. The Polaris A-3 carried three 200kt W58 thermonuclear warheads, the first American deployed devices with spherical oralloy loaded Tuba secondaries, Kinglet primaries and thorium casings. Polaris was important not only for giving a protected second strike capability to the West, eliminating the dangerous need for launch on warning and a first strike to avoid missiles being hit first like sitting ducks in a surprise strike by the enemy, but also for replacing regional land based missile systems. For example, the old vulnerable Jupiter missiles in Turkey which Kennedy removed in "exchange" for the removal of Khrushchev's missiles in Cuba, were simply replaced in March 1963 by the USS Sam Houston SSBN-609, an A-2 Polaris submarine using a base at Rota in Spain. So Khrushchev actually improved American nuclear deterrence by asking for the junk Jupiter missiles to be removed from Turkey!] "

- T. F. Ramos, "Call Me Johnny", Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, report LLNL-BOOK-783447, 2019, p. 23-27,

ABOVE: the Russian's took three years to develop their first small-diameter two-point linear (long-axis compression) implosion "Melon" device, without using computers, which was tested with success (full design yield) in March 1956. An illustrated article, The Tsar projectile for nuclear artillery, by one of its developers, Dmitry V. Shirkov (in charge of predicting the yield, not so easy for a radical two point linear implosion device if you don't have any computers!) is linked here, see also the page here.


"The Soviet Union maintained a huge army in Eastern Europe that was poised to launch itself against the democracies of Western Europe, especially West Germany. Its 96 divisions consisted mostly of armored forces and mechanized infantry – tanks and soldiers mounted in armored vehicles. B Division physicists came up with an idea for a weapon that could be used against Soviets tanks in an invasion. Their idea was to attack Soviet tank crews without destroying the surrounding West German countryside by detonating the weapon at a high altitude. The weapon was called an enhanced radiation warhead because it could release more radiation, especially neutrons, aimed at tankers while having a reduced blast. It would deter the Soviet Union from launching an armored attack against the West. Johnny decided that the enhanced radiation warhead qualified as a valid weapon to test in the new operations.

"The RAND Corporation, a so-called “think tank” headquartered in Santa Monica, California, is used by the Department of Defense for studies related to national security. From its earliest days, analysts from RAND visited the Laboratory to observe how the country’s nuclear weapons research was progressing, and true to form, a RAND analyst named Sam Cohen visited Johnny to ask what was new. Johnny described the enhanced radiation weapon they were testing, and Cohen exclaimed, “You’ve invented the neutron bomb!” Cohen went back to his office in Santa Monica and wrote up a report in which he described what he had heard about the new weapon, and he claimed that he had invented it [this is inaccurate and relates to a later meeting in 1962 not Cohen's key visit in 1958, according to Cohen, and Johnny wasn't developing a neutron bomb to end world wars, but cleaner, low yield thermonuclear weapons "Dove" and "Starling" for project Plowshare, and it was him - Cohen - who in 1958, after looking at the "Dove" and "Starling" designs, asked for their neutron outputs off his own back, and then put together the collateral-damage-averting two-stage 1-2 kt enhanced neutron air burst concept for deterrence of invasions!]. The weapon underwent development over the years until it was ready to be deployed with NATO troops. ...

"Six months after the crisis over Berlin, [President] Kennedy flew out to Berkeley to receive an honorary degree from the University of California [23 March 1962] ... The nuclear warheads that Kennedy had relied on when he faced Soviet threats had been designed by these very same scientists, and Kennedy wanted to thank them personally. As Director of the Laboratory, Johnny would be giving the President a briefing to show him the warheads that were part of the backbone of the nation’s defensive posture. ... Full-scale models of the Polaris and Minuteman warheads were placed on demonstration tables, and Johnny showed the President the strategic warheads. After that, Johnny planned to give a pitch for an idea he had conceived the year before concerning the security of tactical nuclear weapons. He had an idea about how to protect the weapons, and he initiated a program to design a sophisticated anti-theft system that came to be called the Permissive Action Link (PAL). ... ; Johnny explained the PAL concept and Kennedy became animated with the demonstration and pulled up a chair and sat before the device. ...

"The President liked the idea and agreed with Johnny’s approach to solving the problem. Kennedy asked his Presidential Science Advisor, Jerome Wiesner, to look at the matter more deeply, and Wiesner replied on May 29, 1962, that the approach seemed to be a good idea and a timely solution to a national security need. On June 6, Kennedy issued National Security Memorandum No. 160, which directed the Department of Defense to install PAL systems into selected nuclear weapons, principally those in NATO. On July 6, 1962, the New York Times reported, “President Kennedy asked Congress today for $23,300,000 to install electronic locks on nuclear weapons in this country and abroad as a safeguard against accidental or unauthorized firings.” "

- T. F. Ramos, "Call Me Johnny", Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, report LLNL-BOOK-783447, 2019, p. 31-33,

"Into the 1960s, Los Alamos and Livermore were designing primaries that were huge by today’s standards. This changed, beginning in 1967 and into the early 1970s, with the Defense Department’s drive to obtain smaller, lighter, and more efficient (greater yield for the weight) primary designs: primaries that would then reduce the size and weight of the entire warhead. The Defense Department’s goal was to develop ballistic missiles that would carry multiple, independent reentry vehicles (MIRVs) aimed at multiple targets. Such warheads required a revolutionary new primary design. At Livermore, Seymour Sack’s smaller, lighter, and more efficient primary design was reasonably well developed. His was the leading design for a MIRV warhead used on the Minuteman and Titan II missiles. To successfully advance upon Sack’s design [Robert K.] Osborne, who had experience working on a previous effort to improve primary designs, took the lead on the Los Alamos design efforts. His result, after designing and testing multiple variations, was the primary used in the W76 warhead that arms ballistic missiles carried on the Navy’s Trident-class nuclear submarines. The W76 is the most numerous warhead in the U.S. nuclear stockpile." - Jeremy Scott Best, The Giants of the Nuclear Testing Era: The Works of Robert K. Osborne, Los Alamos National Laboratory report LA-UR-18-27654, 2018, page 8.


Munich September 30, 1938: in exchange for a worthless paper agreement promising "peace", Chamberlain allows Hitler to invade the German populated part (Sudetenland) of Czechoslovakia, declaring the need to peacefully protect its own foreign nationals (Germans) living in other countries. Big fuss in media: talk of sanctions, weight of world's opinion weighing on shoulders of Hitler to restrain him - proving that appeasement has allowed Britain time to rearm slower than Germany, thereby removing any real deterrent, and reassuring Hitler that we are committed to "peace in our time". (He had already annexed Austria, but that was permitted just like Crimea's annexation by Russia in 2014.) Six months later - after world's media has "moved on" - the remainder of Czechoslovakia was invaded by Hitler (March 1939). Next invasion (12 months after invasion of Sudetenland of Czechoslovakia): Poland (September 1939). Chamberlain has finally drawn a line in the sand (after years of him and his predecessor Baldwin rearming the UK slower than Germany, allowing any hope of deterrence to slip away, by permitting an enemy to go from no threat in 1933 to a bigger military than the UK, requiring UK rearmament, prior to any credible deterrence being feasible*): he finally tells Hitler invading Poland will provoke war. But given the previous farce, Hitler is not deterred by the paltry level of UK rearmament (compared to Germany), and invades Poland.

Note that once the remainder of Ukraine is invaded by Putin - he has already condemned the government of Ukraine as a danger for fighting to defend parts of its own country that border the Russian bear, so everyone can see where the ship is headed - he will be in Hitler's situation in 1939, since Ukraine has a direct border with Poland. The next replay of history will be that "Poland has been a member of NATO since 1999, and NATO presents a threat or antagonism to Russian occupied Ukraine, which must be neutralised to preserve the peace of mind of Putin and his comrades. If NATO tries to defend its members from further Russian peace keeping invasions and conquests, then Putin/Russia will be forced, regrettably, to use its ICBMs etc. to defend itself, and since America has no ABM since the Safeguard system was defunded by Congress anti-nuclear fanatics like Biden in 1975, goodbye democracy." Also note that Putin has more nuclear warheads and Novichok nerve gas than the West. (Until 22 June 1941, Russia was on Hitler's side and jointly invaded Poland in September 1939, contrary to all airbrushed Russian school history books; and all left wing UK school history books! The reality is the secret annex to the 23 August 1939 Russian-German Molotov–Ribbentrop so-called non-aggression pact, which led to the invasion of Poland by Germany and Russia on 1 and 17 September 1939, respectively, according to which Poland was divided up between the two invaders, Russia and Germany; a fact that Russian and left-wing Western pseudo historians have sought to ignore, play down or cover-up. The point is, there is an historical precedent here to Russian aggression in Europe, despite propaganda denying it.)

Russia could invade not only Ukraine but Europe, if you look past troop numbers to the Russian nuclear and chemical missile stockpile in relation to the West's, which has been depleted (Joe Biden as an anti-nuclear senator for decades was always pushing for Western arms reduction, encouraging enemy aggression). Once Ukraine is invaded by Russia, Poland will be on the new Russian border. It's quite possible that if the chips go down and blitzkrieg becomes the order of the day, NATO will collapse. It just doesn't have the firepower of Russia, undermining deterrence. Kennedy deployed 0.02kt yield W54 tactical battlefield nuclear weapons to Europe to deter invasions. (Little Feller I, on 17 July 1962, proved the W54 - reportedly a scaled down 2-point prolate spheroid implosion Swan device - to observer Attorney General Robert Kennedy, in the last ever atmospheric nuclear test at Nevada Test Site, the film of which was only declassified on 22 Dec 1997. Fired by a crew of two using a 155 millimeter launcher, it detonated at a height of burst of 20 feet, some 1.7 miles from the launch point with a 0.018 kt measured yield. An identical warhead was tested as Little Feller II, 10 days earlier, gave 0.022 kt, also demonstrating a W54 yield reliability of 0.02kt +/-10%.) After Nixon decommissioned them, Carter and Reagan replaced them with W79 tactical nuclear warheads, which remained a credible deterrent against invasions (unlike trying to deter the invasion of Crimea by saying you will bomb Moscow) until the Cold War ended. The USSR collapsed. Then people like Biden lobbied successfully to get rid of tactical nuclear weapons in the 90s, and now we don't have a credible deterrent. How can a threat to put sanctions on Putin, or to bomb Moscow as a last resort, deter an invasion of the Ukraine, when he has a bigger nuclear stockpile plus chemical weapons like Novichok? It's insanity. End of story.

We have experience of this insanity from disarmament propaganda by enemies of liberty, freedom and democracy, not just from Hitler's invasions in the 1930s, but from Stalin's invasions in the 1940s and his successors until the Cold War supposedly ended with the break up of the USSR: America had a monopoly on nuclear weapons until 1949, but it failed to make enough, quickly enough and was unable to use nuclear weapons as a credible deterrent to prevent Stalin from seizing half of Europe after WWII. Puppet governments controlled by Moscow (backed up by tank invasions whenever the strings on the puppets broke, e.g. Germany 1953, Hungary 1956, Czechoslovakia 1968) put tanks on the border of NATO. Then, tactical nuclear weapons were needed until the end of the Cold War to prevent invasions. When they were not there, invasions occurred. When they were available, invasions didn't occur. QED. They tipped the balance of risk against aggressors in a way that sanctions and massive retaliation bluffing doesn't. Biden and comrades in the 70s used the old 30s mythology of "arms control" to try to get rid of credible deterrence. The typical argument is that deterring world wars using the credible deterrence of tactical nuclear weapons is "dangerous" to people planning invasions. That's the whole point. The nuclear fear mongering issue of the much higher background radiation in the mile high city of Denver (if you are fanatical about radiation, then why not start by banning mountain climbing, high altitude cities, aircraft, etc, rather than the fallout from nuclear technology?), also occurs with nuclear weapons deterrence: if you think high yield nuclear weapons that could cause collateral damage are a problem, then why not campaign positively for the tactical weapons that deter the invasions that triggered world wars (the invasion of Belgium in 1914, and Poland in 1939) in place of strategic warheads which fail to deter invasions? If we only have tactical nuclear weapons, we can only stop invasions and there can be no escalation risk. In both cases, it's obvious that the anti-nuclear folk are conning the media, successfully as their forebearers did in the 1920s and 1930s. This was the case also in the 1920s and 1930s when poison gas bomb scare mongering was used in the media to successfully prevent credible deterrence, tragically resulting in world war and tens of millions dead. As the Cold War proved, even carrying a big stick is no deterrent if you speak softly to make it appear incredible. The squealing from the pro-Russian so-called anti-nuclear media folk against the W79 neutron bomb 40 years ago proves that was a credible deterrent (they wouldn't have cared otherwise).

The Western media outlook until a few days ago was that the 150,000 or so Russian troops around Ukraine was just the normal Russian military training exercise, pushed nearer the Ukrainian border for added realism, and such numbers are not enough to occupy Ukraine or Europe, so there can't possibly be a real problem, just American bear-baiting propaganda. Not so. Again, as we saw in the Cold War conquest of Eastern Europe, and even before that in the Third Reich era, you don't actually need huge numbers of boots on the ground to successfully invade countries. All dictatorships are by definition a minority controlling a majority - if it were the other way around dictatorship would not be needed since democracy is a numbers competition where the majority tribe or party wins (even if they have to rely on postal ballots). In any case, secret police (Stasi for instance, in East Germany in the Cold War) did the major job of controlling dissent, not Russian boots on the ground. The primary techniques used are political infiltration, coercion, media subversion, propaganda, fear, and political concentration camps/Gulags for dissidents, which massively reduces the need for large numbers of troops. Putin's seizure of Crimea was done using Russian special forces with their insignia removed from their uniforms. There are lots of tricks involved in warfare to reduce the troop numbers required for invasions. Putin's latest one, officially "recognising" the separatist Russian-infiltrated parts of Ukraine bordering Russia and its sphere of influence, doesn't require a million boots on the ground. Like Hitler's annexation of Austria or Sudetenland, you can "invade" with a token force once you have infiltrated it first by stealth. This was the whole point of Hitler's "peace" propaganda machine in the UK in the 1930s, and the USSR's World Peace Council. Invasions occur at first by reasonable appearing salami tactics: small "peace keeping" incursions are then followed by support to rebels until those rebels mount an assisted coup d'etat or declare a separatist state in their region. Then the process is simply repeated to get further slices, until the rebel numbers become big enough for blitzkrieg to be a success.

ABOVE: 1974 USSR nuclear weapons design poster showing critical masses under different conditions, pointing out that using implosion for compressing a subcritical 12 kg mass of U235 makes it critical, compared to needing 48 kg (a 16.8 cm diameter sphere) for a critical mass of uncompressed U235. Switching to Pu239 reduces this by a factor of 2.82, while enclosing it in a 10 cm thick neutron reflector reduces the bare sphere critical mass by a further factor of 3.42. A combination of using both a neutron reflector and core compression can produce better than a 10-fold reduction in critical mass, according to Russian nuclear weapon designers. The simple Russian Sakharov-Zel'dovich elliptical thermonuclear design published by Uwe Parpart in the 15 October 1976 issue of New Solidarity allegedly originates at least in part from the July 1976 disclosures at U.S. labs by Soviet physicist Dr Leonid I. Rudakov, which also led to an earlier 8 October 1976, article in Science, entitled "Thermonuclear Fusion: U.S. Puts Wraps on Latest Soviet Work", page 166. (In March 1976 Pravda claimed Dr Rudakov had solved the clean fusion power problem using implosion principles.) The Rudakov principle demonstrated how hard radiation energy from the primary (fission) stage of a nuclear weapon is reradiated by a plasma as soft x-rays, to compress fusion fuel at the focus of a 1950s Russian nuclear weapon ellipsoidal radiation case. According to Chuck Hansen, the first American nuclear test using this Sakharov-Zel'dovich ellipsoidal radiation case was the Egg design, fired as the successful 250 kt Redwing-Huron shot at Eniwetok Atoll in 1956 (this is according to Sybil Francis, Warhead politics: Livermore and the competitive system of nuclear weapon design page 131; it also used a spherical secondary stage - the L-3 concept referred to by Francis - which wasn't liked by the USA - unlike Russia and Britain - because of the complexity of doing 3-d computer calculations for the geometry spherical isotropic compression in the 1950s; spherical secondaries were first deployed by America in miniature thermonuclear weapons in 1963, namely the 200 kt, 117 kg Polaris warhead W58 and the 170 kt, 115kg Minuteman warhead W62, while Britain and Russia had by then stockpiled weapons with spherical secondard stages for years). Dr Friedwardt Winterberg mathematically analyses the use of an ellipsoidal radiation case with fission and thermonuclear stages at the focii, in his 1981 book The physical principles of thermonuclear explosive devices, Figure 4 (below), explaining how x-rays of varying energies can be mirrored. Even so, you can make paper calculations that are testable in the field, without requiring 3-d computer simulations, as proved by the 1950s British and Russian programmes.

The American insistence on fuller theoretical analysis prior to testing was bureaucratic time-wasting. It was Teller's less dogmatic Livermore that took up the discarded excellent Los Alamos Huron spherical secondary in 1958, testing to develop warheads not unlike today's contemporary designs. The need for complex computer design simulations may be averted by simple "overkill" to compress and ignite fusion charges using x-rays from multiple stages, bombs within bombs like a Russian doll to avoid the need to enhance the primary stage yield using tritium gas with its 12.3 years half-life (as shown, Howard Morland's use of the 1958 lithium deuteride stage idea in his book reproduces an actual design tested in the 1960s called "Swiss cheese", in which the fusion stage contains several separate subcritical lumps of fissile fuel which release neutrons into lithium deuteride, as an alternative to Teller's original cylindrical "spark plug" idea). These weapons are very simple to service, and incorporate "reliability through redundancy", since the multiple fission primary stages allow for reasonable thermonuclear efficiency even if one primary stage fails for some reason. The accompanying official limited distribution Russian nuclear weapons employment manual, Nuclear Weapons - A Manual for Officers, which we obtained (all three editions) from Ukraine, has photos of Russian MIG-15 fighter jets and tanks which were exposed to nuclear tests by Russia (see illustrations below), and many tables and graphs showing the measured blast and radiation effects of 8, 30 and 150 kiloton yield nuclear tests on different targets, plus thermal effects from a 50 kt test, and is linked here - these confidential Russian nuclear weapons capabilities manuals differ drastically from Glasstone's American exaggerations for propaganda on nuclear effects, e.g. Table 3 in the 1961 nuclear test data compilation shows very different data on thermal effects to Glasstone's Effects of Nuclear Weapon. Russian test data from a 50 kiloton burst shows glass only begins to melt at 700-800 cal/cm^2, while white boards only ignite at 150 cal/cm^2 (although they temporarily smoke or char at 40 cal/cm^2)! (Note that in the Russian tables, кал = cal.) The Russians also show how building skyline shadowing stops most direct radiation. We also uploaded extracts from the 128 pages standard Russian manual, How to operate in the conditions of application of nuclear, chemical and bacteriological weapon, by the USSR's Department of Defense, Moscow, which has 99 illustrations, and other Russian manuals linked here, and there is a Russian translation of the Glasstone propaganda book here.

Further reading: a complete analysis of this invasion situation is included in our 2015 detailed review of Kahn's On Thermonuclear War, linked here (in summary, sanctions can escalate such situations into all-out war; so the people talking about "hard-hitting" sanctions, who don't and won't have either a credible nuclear deterrent to prevent invasions or civil defence to withstand enemy threats, are effectively - despite their lies to the contrary - the warmongers). In Chicago, on 5 October 1937, President Roosevelt (Democratic Party) gave his "quarantine the aggressor speech", to destroy fascist dictatorships without the need for military deterrence: it failed since Japan had hard-hitting sanctions placed on it by America, after it started expanding by force prior to WWII, which led to the Pearl Harbor attack and the Pacific Theatre of WWII, instead of peace. If someone is pointing a large nuclear stockpile in your direction and is hot-headed enough to use Novichok nerve agent and Polonium-210 radioactive agent to kill people in the UK during "peacetime", then what is going to happen if you put hard hitting sanctions on them? Their media will present it as being an act of war; it will provide the excuse to escalate the situation. This sanctions idea, like disarmament for peace, is an example of groupthink autism, whereby nonsense propaganda is used to saturate the media to submerge the key facts, just as occurred in the 1930s when the media became obsessed with proclaiming that appeasement would produce "peace in our time". Some relevant extracts from UK declassified Cold War manuals can be found here and the Russian nuclear weapons employment manuals we obtained from Ukraine prior to the invasion are linked here.

Putin's Kremlin instagram post on 8 December 2021 stated (in Russian): "Experts spoke about the reasons for the negotiations between Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden. Sanctions do not threaten Russia, and the United States is interested in dialogue, said Vladimir Vasiliev, chief researcher at the Institute for the USA and Canada of the Russian Academy of Sciences. “The American side is interested in these negotiations. Today, all this talk about the sanctions list, about some other use of sanctions weapons like Nord Stream 2 or List 35, some other measures, I call this the “formula divorce." ... According to the Kremlin press service, Vladimir Putin told Biden during the talks that Russia is interested in receiving legally fixed guarantees that exclude the expansion of NATO to the east and the deployment of strike offensive systems in Russia's neighboring countries. At the same time, the White House claims that Biden, in negotiations with Vladimir Putin, did not give him obligations that Ukraine would remain outside NATO. Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Joe Biden held talks on November 7 via videoconference."

(In original Russian: "Эксперты рассказали о причинах переговоров Владимира Путина и Джо Байдена. Санкции России не грозят, а США заинтересованы в диалоге, считает главный научный сотрудник института США и Канады РАН Владимир Васильев. "Американская сторона в этих переговорах заинтересована. На сегодняшний день все эти разговоры о санкционном списке, о еще каком-то использовании санкционного оружия как "Северный поток - 2" или "Список 35", еще какие-то меры, это я называю "формулой развода". ... По сообщению пресс-службы Кремля, Владимир Путин в ходе переговоров заявил Байдену, что Россия заинтересована в получении юридически зафиксированных гарантий, исключающих расширение НАТО на восток и размещение в соседних с Россией странах ударных наступательных систем. При этом в Белом доме утверждают, что Байден на переговорах с Владимиром Путиным не давал ему обязательств, что Украина останется вне НАТО. Президент России Владимир Путин и президент США Джо Байден провели переговоры 7 ноября в режиме видеоконференции.")

If this is accurate, you wish Biden - already under probation from Joe Public for his disastrous withdrawl from Afghanistan last year, allowing that country to become another dictatorship, just the direction Ukraine will go under his brand of useless grandiose sounding "diplomacy" - akin to Chamberlain shaking hands with Hitler and signing worthless bits of paper, but refusing to deter war credibly and effectively for fear of media condemnation by ignorant journalists - had been a bit more "diplomatic" and promised Putin that Ukraine would remain outside NATO, or even outside of the universe: by the time it would enter NATO, Biden would be out of office anyway so what was the big deal? (Appeasement is ineffectual sanctions; appeasement is not about successfully averting war by making agreements that can later be terminated if necessary!) Biden thankfully can only serve two terms maximum, even if Trump doesn't get back in next time, and American Presidents hardly bother to honour the promises made by their prececessors, even if they are members of the same party. E.g., Truman renegaded on Roosevelt's wartime promise to Britain to continue postwar nuclear weapons collaboration. Britain then had to independently develop its own fission and thermonuclear fusion weapons until collaboration resumed in 1958! If America can do that, it could have given some worthless paper promises to Putin, to keep him out of Ukraine. The Chamberlain appeasement situation was the exact opposite of this: Sudetenland was given to Hitler in exchange for a worthless paper promise from Hitler!


*(Footnote): UK Prime Ministers Baldwin and Chamberlain used a whole array of excuses to keep the UK from deterring WWII, all of which are still used today against nuclear weapons (Kahn pointed this out sixty years ago). For example, Chamberlain proclaimed himself (both publically from the window of his flat above 10 Downing Street in September 1938, and in private papers and letters proving he really believed he had achieved peace that way) a hero of peacemaking for allowing the invasion of Sudetenland by Hitler in exchange for a worthless signature from Hitler, promising no more invasions after that one! Then, when proved wrong by events in 1939, Chamberlain lied that he always knew Hitler was lying, but he was a secret hero for cleverly making bogus peace deals in order to "buy time for rearmament", a claim disproved by the fact that Britain was rearming at a slower rate than Germany, thereby making a military success less likely with every day "bought", and he knew it was. Chamberlain was as much a lying fraud as Hitler in terms of peacemaking. His lies are still promoted as "news" by bogus "historians" of the AJP Taylor CND peace propaganda lies variety, because many prefer fairy tales.

UPDATE, 27 February 2022: Putin puts Russia's nuclear forces on alert, cites sanctions - By Yuras Karmanau, Jim Heintz and Vladimir Isachenkov, Associated Press in Washington post, 27 feb. 2022 - KYIV, Ukraine — "In a dramatic escalation of East-West tensions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin ordered Russian nuclear forces put on high alert Sunday in response to what he called “aggressive statements” by leading NATO powers. The order means Putin has ordered Russia’s nuclear weapons prepared for increased readiness to launch, raising the threat that the tensions could boil over into nuclear warfare. In giving it, the Russian leader also cited hard-hitting financial sanctions imposed by the West against Russia, including Putin himself."

This report, by Associated Press in the Washington Post, confirms sadly that so far Putin has responded to sanctions by following the predictions made above, escalating his nuclear weapons readiness for war to counter the sanctions with a nuclear threat, akin to what happened when Japan responded to hard-hitting American oil sanctions against it for its 1930s invasions prior to its attack on an American Pacific military base located at Pearl Harbor. This is the whole problem with the arms control situation. Supplying arms to the Ukraine Government to defend itself against Russia could easily be construed to Putin, if he so chooses, as essentially an act of war against Russia, deserving retaliation. Everything the "liberal elite", the left wingers headed by President Biden, does is always at best autistic lunacy that escalates the danger we face. While the BBC may claim that "Putin is isolated"**, he has a larger nuclear force than us, and also powerful nuclear allies in China. It is simply untrue that sanctions will solve the problem; they escalate a crisis into a bigger war. Carpet bombing of civilians, used by Democratic President Johnson in Vietnam, was the same kind of autism; instead of kicking enemies into surrender, such actions as sanctions and attacking civilians just hardens enemy aggression more.


**(Footnote): The 1930s media also claimed incorrectly that Hitler was isolated (he had allies in Italy, Japan, etc.), but such lies in the "free" press helped to back up liars in the UK Government like Baldwin and Chamberlain and their populist lunatic policies for "peace in our time" which also lacked any credible deterrent, and just escalated the threats, encouraging genocide, not peace. Sir Norman Angell's Great Illusion argument that economic interdependence of nations prevents escalation in war is precisely reversed by the use of heavy economic sanctions against Russia, which cuts off the supposedly peace-keeping economic interdependence of nations and pushes it into the position of Japan in December 1941 and of Germany in September 1939 (thanks to Roosevelt's 1937 "quarantine the aggressor" theory). Irrational acts, not surrender, is what human nature usually produces when cornered and isolated, despite groupthink brainwashing arguments to the contrary, which were used to determine policy in the Vietnam War and recently in Afghanistan. You need to accept enemy mentality as it exists, and not "put yourselves in the enemy's shoes", if your way of thinking lacks the paranoia, cultural mentality, and aggressive nationalism of an enemy. Russia is not completely isolated anyway, due to its allies in China, North Korea, et al. The latest ideas on fighting the war in Ukraine being mooted by the BBC pyschotics/pundits centre around allowing Ukrainian pilots flying missions to bomb Russian forces in EU funded aircraft from airbases in NATO country Poland, while claiming that NATO is not involved. Again, the pressures of this kind provide excuses for Putin, if he wishes, to escalate it to WWIII at a time and in a way of his choosing, with the factor of surprise in his hands. Threatening to bomb the Kremlin suffers from the risk that Putin could move to a bunker elsewhere, even if the bunker under the Kremlin is really at risk bearing in mind the Russian ABM system around Moscow that can knock down incoming warheads (lacking from Western cities) and the nuclear crater sizes exaggeration scandal, which reduces the ground shock and cratering destruction to underground targets due to the ignorance in the 1977 Glasstone and Dolan Effects of nuclear weapons book about the work done against gravity in excavating large craters.

ABOVE: 1986 Russian civil defense manual showing the shelters and evacuation plans which are in many ways similar to British efforts in 1939 prior to the British declaration of war on Germany two days after it invaded Poland. Note that various authors of American Scientific American articles argue that the evacuation plans exist "largely on paper" as if that somehow allows them to be ignored - just as the 1939 British "Operation Pied Piper" plans to evacuate kids from target areas for civil defence prior to the declaration of WWII against the Nazis - existed on paper until needed. But that didn't prevent kids and other vulnerable people, such as the pregnant, from being evacuated from London on 1 September and war declared two days later on 3 September 1939. The point we are making is that, as Herman Kahn argued, Hitler declared peace on Britain not war, and it was Britain that had to declare war first, and it first evacuated the likely bombing target of the most vulnerable using the "paper" evacuation plans to allow it to declare war on the Nazis, something that would have been or at least seemed more dangerous without such an evacuation first. The history of Russian civil defense is interesting, since to the Russians (unlike everyone else on the planet), both World Wars led to victories of sorts: WWI caused the revolution of October 1917 which replaced the Tsar with Lenin, while WWII led to the great expansion of the Russian Empire to include half of Europe, allowing resources to be seized which enabled rapid progress, from MIG jets to fission bombs in 1949 and thermonuclear two stage weapons in 1955, then the first satellite in space in 1957 and the first human in space in 1961. It is simply untrue that all Russians view WWII as being the disaster that it is portrayed for Britain. (Russia actually achieved a victory that included territorial expansion and corresponding financial gains, unlike certain other countries that lost Empires due to WWII.) According to Professor William R. Kinter and Harriet Fast Scott's 1968 book The Nuclear Revolution in Soviet Military Affairs (University of Oklahoma Press, pages 184-191), the Russian Marshall V. I. Chuikov, who was made chief of civil defense for the USSR after stopping the Nazis at Stalingrad in WWII, and later advising Chiang Kai-shek and also founding the Whampoa Military Academy, in 1966 wrote an article in the Russian journal Military Knowledge, stating that civil defense allows a Russian victory in WWIII:

"The outcome of nuclear rocket war will now be decided not only on the battlefield, it will in significant measure be predetermined by strikes on the rear areas and on important political and economic centres. Victory in such a war will depend to a large degree on the ability of the state to survive."

- Quotation from William R. Kinter and Harriet Fast Scott's 1968 book The Nuclear Revolution in Soviet Military Affairs, University of Oklahoma Press, pages 184-5. (Emphasis added to words which are totally taboo here in the West in connection with all things "nuclear". Note that co-author Harriet Fast Scott, a research agent/spy fluent in Russian, lived in the USSR for years in the 1960s since her husband was assigned there as U.S. air attache.)

Kinter and Fast Scott point out on page 185 of The Nuclear Revolution in Soviet Military Affairs:

"Military Knowledge, the magazine in which the [Chuikov] article appeared, is the official monthly journal of civil defense. There is nothing comparable with this publication in the United States ... The expensive, elaborate family shelters - advertised in the United States some years ago - are unknown. A practical, inexpensive approach for protection measures, using materials readily available, is stressed. It is hardly appreciated in the United States that the Soviet Union already possesses the world's finest shelters ... These are the deep, elaborate subways in five of the largest cities - Moscow, Leningrad, Kiev, Tbilisi, and Baku. Many sections of the subways run well over 100 feet below street level and are provided with heavy blast doors ... A large number of the total inhabitants of Moscow and Leningrad could be provided shelter in their subways alone." (Britain installed some similar deep shelters in various London tube stations.)

Regarding the Chuikov doctrine on the ability to achieve a "victory" in nuclear war by being better prepared for any eventuality than the opponent, the side which is better able to survive a nuclear war (by civil defense) can be considered the winner: this Marxist concept of war also prevailed successfully in Vietnam, where the Vietcong dug deep tunnel shelters and left civilian kids to be napalmed in the open for left-wing Western propaganda. It worked, they won in Vietnam using that strategy. This is the very opposite of the "knockout blow" mythology that prevailed in Germany in 1914 and 1939, and also in the West during the Vietnam War, but not the 1st Cold War as a whole, where the West achieved victory and the USSR defeat, through the West's surviving longer than the increasingly bankrupt USSR. Herman Kahn pointed out in the 26 June 1959 U.S. Congressional Hearings on the Biological and environmental effects of nuclear war, that Germany did not start WWI or WWII by a direct attack on Britain, and that Germany planned for a short "knockout blow" military conquest; in both cases it was Britain that declared war on Germany first, not vice-versa. In other words, "Type I Deterrence (deterrence of a direct attack on Britain)" did not fail in either 1914 or 1939. Only "Type II Deterrence (deterrence of an act of provocation, e.g. the invasion of a third party)" failed. So a country starting WWIII, on the basis of WWI and WWII experience, does not need to directly bomb London or New York. Put another way, strategic nuclear weapons, if they had existed in 1914, would have no more deterred the invasion of Belgium then, than they deter the invasion of Ukraine today. For victory you need to be capable of fighting and surviving sufficiently either a surprise attack or long war of attrition, regardless of whether that is an economic cold war via an arms race, or a hot war involving any kind of weapon.

The strategic nuclear deterrent's role is purely Kahn's debunked Type I deterrence - a fallacy due to the Western obsession with "knockout blow" mythology - which also prevailed in the West in the 1930s where the media was filled with hype claiming that single gas or incendiary aerial attacks on cities would induce defeatism and immediate surrender. This was a travesty of logic which ignores precisely those situations - indirect attacks - that triggered both World Wars. Deterring indirect attacks like sinking the Lusitania in 1915, invading Belgium in 1914, bombing a Pacific island naval base at Pearl Harbor in 1941, or invading Poland in 1939, requires not Type I but the more difficult Type II deterrence, tactical nuclear weapons, since conventional weapons failed to deter both world wars and strategic nuclear weapons have not proved to be a credible deterrent against invasions of third parties. This is because the mobilization of conventional conscripted large armies or tank columns to borders for deterrence of large scale invasions is seen as an act of aggression, whereas nuclear weapons of significant deterrent power are small enough to be continuously available aboard submarines and in missile silos and iglo bunkers on airfields, ready at all times without the trigger-happy 1914-crisis-escalating massive mobilizations that set off World War I. As General Boisdeffre stated lucidly to Tzar Nicholas in 1892, the mobilization of conventional weapons to try to deter world war has the opposite effect because the highly-visible mobilization of the relatively bulky conventional weapons and massive armies is naturally a massive escalation rather than a deterrent, causing immense crisis instability:


The mad emergence of nuclear parity, in the late 1960s and early 1970s, occurred after Robert S. McNamara used now-discredited computerised nuclear war effects models (with no more sensible equations than those he used to lose the Vietnam war, i.e. ignoring Russian civil defense just as the improvised conventional war underground shelters of the Vietcong were ignored) to determine nuclear deterrence stockpile levels. The Russians then produced more weapons than America into the 1970s, and America responded with the neutron bomb and arms control treaties for strategic weapons. This was a reversal of the American nuclear superiority behind the amicable resolution of the Cuban missiles crisis by Kennedy in 1962, a factor pointed out by General LeMay in his 1968 book America is in Danger. (Where the left-wing disarmament-biased "historians" analyze the lessons of the Cuban missiles crisis, they deliberately ignore the massive U.S. nuclear superiority which existed in 1962, and its positive effects on Russian decision making, just as they ignore Feis' argument in Japan Subdued, that the emotional aspects of nuclear weapons effects in August 1945 tipped the balance against accepting a dishonorable surrender; in other words, although Japan knew it was defeated and the nuclear attacks were in that sense totally unjustified, emotionally they needed an "excuse" to hoist the white flag after so much suffering, and this saved 200,000 Yanks earmarked for an invasion of the Japanese home islands as well as 1,500,000 Japanese lives.)

There is a compendium of classic 1960s and 1970s arguments for civil defense, and their political suppression by left-wingers and fools, in Nobel Laureate Dr Eugene P. Wigner's Collected Works, part B, volume VIII, edited by Jagdish Mehra (Springer, 1998, 258 pages). Wigner on 28 April 1976 testified before the U.S. Congressional Hearings of the Joint Committee on Defense Production (page 144 in their printed hearings, online version is LINKED HERE) that the new Russian evacuation plans - as shown in its 1969 Civil Defense Manual (translated as ORNL-TR-2306, Oak Ridge National Lab.) - are very effective (the Russian civil defense plan includes only essential workers commuting into cities for 12-hour shifts, and using shelters):

"Indeed an easy calculation shows that, if the USSR carries out its city evacuation plans, the total number of casualties that all the nuclear weapons in our missiles could cause would be a good deal less than 50% the losses they suffered in World War II. A reasonable estimate, based on the Oak Ridge [National Laboratory] test of a blast resistant 'expedient shelter', described in the USSR civil defense handbooks, gives for the loss which our missile carried nuclear weapons could cause, about 3% of the USSR population. What about our own situation? ... An evacuation plan [costs] $1.2 billion .... a blast resistant shelter system similar to that of China ... would cost around $35 billion."

In 1979, in a joint article with hydrogen bomb advocate Dr Edward Teller in the U.S. Senate Congressional Record (2 August 1979, page S-11490), Wigner points out that Kahn's Type I deterrence is inadequate to prevent war (Type I is also called "mutual assured destruction", if both sides have parity via "arms control" delusions): "... I believe that the so called Mutual Assured Destruction is nonsense, because suppose even if the attacked nation could retaliate, if the other nation pretends that it does not believe it and makes a demand, is there any point in resisting? What good does it do if it can destroy hundreds of thousands of the aggressors' lives ..."

In his 26 May 1964 address to Mercer County NJ Civil Defense organization (reprinted in his Collected Works, part B, Vol. 8, p35 et seq.), Wigner explains that "people who are against Civil Defense often have some element of frustration ... and they find more easily time for, and outlet in, their opposition," as explained by Robert Waelder's article Protest and Revolution Against Western Societies, in M.A. Kaplan (ed), The Revolution in World Politics (New York, 1962, p 18), i.e. it is the same as the mechanism for Marxist agitators, some of which are openly Marxist and others pretend to be libertarian while remaining faithful to the bigoted dictators. Wigner's address continues: "Much more literature - I think 80% - is against than for Civil Defense and much of it is completely irresponsible. A few weeks ago I read an article in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists in which the author said that a complete fallout [cheaper than blast] shelter program would cost $50 billion. Now $50 billion is more than would be spent on the complete blast [and fallout] shelter program which I mentioned [$35 billion]. But ... who will contradict it?"

In Publication 82 of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Civil Defense, 1966, edited by H. Eyring, Wigner remarks on page 121: "Dr Rapoport said, in a note to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, that it is possible that surrender to Hitler would have led to fewer deaths ... My view is the opposite in this case: I believe that if the West had shown clear resolve and determination from the start, WWII could have been averted."

After Leon Goure wrote his May 1972 report, "Soviet Civil Defense - urban Evacuation and Dispersal" (Centre for Advanced International Studies, Miami University, DTIC report AD0745136), Wigner and J. S. Gailar wrote in their joint article "Russian Evacuation Plans - the Fears they Create" in the September-October 1974 issue of Survive (v7, n5, pp 4-5): "If the leadership of the USSR should change and become more aggressive, it would have, under the present circumstances, a terribly tempting option: to stage an evacuation and to provoke a confrontation when this is completed." Wigner later testified to the U.S. Congressional Hearings of the Joint Committee on Defense Production, Civil Preparedness and Limited Nuclear War (28 April 1976, pp 143-7) that the principal danger: "is the possibility of the USSR evacuating its cities, dispersing their population, and the making demands on us, under the threat of a nuclear attack, approximating those made by Hitler on Czechoslovakia which led to the Munich Pact."

The only reply Wigner received was a nonsense filled 11-page article attacking all these lessons from Russian Civil Defense, headed "Limited Nuclear War" by Sidney D. Drell and Frank von Hippel, and published in the November 1976 issue of Scientific American, the editor of which, Dennis Flanagan, refused to publish Wigner's rebuttal, entitled "We heartily disagree", just as Kahn's rebuttal to the nonsense review of his book on Civil Defense in 1961 had been refused by Scientific American, leading Kahn to expand it into his 1962 book "Thinking about the unthinkable". Wigner's and A. A. Broyles rebuttal to Scientific American was finally published instead as "We heartily disagree" in the Journal of Civil Defense, v10, pp. 4-8, July-August 1977 issue, pointing out that the Russian casualties with civil defense would be 4% on Wigner's unclassified estimate or 2% using T. K. Jones's classified data estimate (utilizing secret data on the survival of foxholes in nuclear tests, in the 1972 DNA-EM-1 Capabilities of Nuclear Weapons), and that the Russian improvised lined, covered trench shelters survive a peak overpressure of 40 psi as well as heat flash and fallout radiation, and adds that contrary to the nonsense in Scientific American, the Russians did test their plans by evacuating the city of Sevastopol in a drill which led to improvements in their plans.

H-bomb proponent Edward Teller, Eugene Wigner, and A. A. Broyles in May 1973 had jointly authored the American Security Council report, "Without civil defense we are in a glass house", which basically argues that you can't have a deterrent for world war if you are not prepared to use that deterrent when your bluff is called. If you are in Chamberlain's position in 1938 or Baldwin's in 1935, you are scared of using the deterrent because it is like "throwing stones in glass houses", because - if you can't shelter people because you refuse to have shelters and you also won't have a plan to evacuate kids from London (Operation Pied Piper, 1939) before you declare war - then you can easily be scared and coerced by Hitler or other dictators, who can see clearly that your "deterrent" is a complete bluff and totally, pathetically useless, because a weapon you can't use is not a credible deterrent. Naturally, as we keep repeating on this blog, this is what the defeatists who love Putin and other dictators want since surrender has two vital steps: (1) get rid of the shield (civil defense) since that makes the sword credible as an alternative to disarmament, and (2) point out that a sword without a shield is an incredible deterrent that is useless, so we had better disarm (and surrender)! Arms control delusions like supposed "parity" (a balance of weapons on both sides, as if democracies need detering like dictatorships), when one side has credible civil defense and the other doesn't, is like a duel between two people, similarly armed, but with one wearing body armour and the other totally unprotected! Not on that, but the dictator is the one wearing the body armour!

ABOVE: long-haired scientist Thomas K. Jones, better known as T. K. Jones, (pictured testifying before the Joint Committee on Defense Production, in Science magazine, 10 December 1976 after his Congressional Testimony raised the wrath of crackpot Scientific American and Bulletin of Atomic Scientist fans) was the "fall guy" of Reagan's civil defense, doing the explosive tests for Boeing Corporation on Russian civil defense shelter designs and testifing on their consequences for strategic nuclear deterrence - basically debunking strategic nuclear deterrence and McNamara's/Glasstone's totally fake news on urban nuclear weapons effects entirely, since 98% of Russians would survive the US nuclear stockpile when dispersed in shelters - which inspired Cresson Kearny's Oak Ridge National Laboratory manual, Nuclear War Survival Skills. President Ronald Reagan, prior to his election as US President, was leaked secret CIA reports on Russian civil defense tests of shelters and evidence of their tests of city evacuation plans for instance by evacuating Sevastopol in Crimea and also, in 1975, Lytkarino (a suburb of Moscow containing 40,000 people). A clue to who helped him was shown by Reagan's decision to controversially appoint T. K. Jones as Under-Secretary for Defense for Research and Engineering! A book was then published called With Enough Shovels: Reagan, Bush and Nuclear War, ignoring the key scientific evidence entirely, and merely trying to ridicule Reagan's appoinment of T. K. Jones (who is quoted on the front cover), as a left wing Democratic supporting political instrument - like Duncan Campbell's similarly vacuous War Plan UK. This was left-politics versus hard science. It often appears to work because Mr Joe Public loves a tall-story fairy tale!

If proof of this is needed, Robert Scheer, a fellow in arms control at Stanford University and the author of With Enough Shovels: Reagan, Bush and Nuclear War, became "Truthdig" editor-in-chief, a propagandarist who claims that ending WWII with nuclear weapons made Truman guilty of "the most atrocious act of terrorism in world history", so he needs to check his facts on the numbers gassed in the Holocaust, or starved in Ukraine by Stalin, unless he denies those deliberate acts of terrorism like the other left wing Holocaust deniers who confuse racism and anti-racism, terrorism and anti-terrorism. When you actually check the facts: (1) Secretary Stimson (U.S. Secretary of War) knew he has a secret nuclear weapons program of investment of billions of dollars to justify to Congress after WWII ended and didn't want to hold back using the bomb for that reason, so he promoted Hiroshima as being a military target (it did have military bases, particularly at Hiroshima Castle just north of ground Zero, but it was also a highly populated civilian city), (2) Hiroshima's air raid shelters were unoccupied because Japanese Army officers were having breakfast when B29s were detected far away, says Yoshie Oka, the operator of the Hiroshima air raid sirens on 6 August 1945, (3) Colonel Tibbets, former bomber of Germany before becoming the Hiroshima pilot as commander of the 509th Composite Group, explains how his pilots and crew were ridiculed heavily for lack of accomplishments, while preparing for weeks on Tinian Island. According to Tibbet's own book The Tibbets Story a poem was published before Hiroshima called "Nobody knows" lampooning the 509th's results: "Nobody knows. Into the air the secret rose; Where they're going, nobody knows; Tomorrow they'll return again; But we'll never know where they've been. Don't ask us about results or such; Unless you want to get in Dutch. But take it from one who is sure of the score, the 509th is winning the war. When the other Groups are ready to go; We have a program of the whole damned show; And when Halsey's 5th shells Nippon's shore; Why, shucks, we hear about it the day before. And MacArthur and Doolittle give out in advance; But with this new bunch we haven't a chance; We should have been home a month or more; For the 509th is winning the war." Tibbets was therefore determined create maximum effects after his group had been ridiculed at Tinian Island for not attacking Japan during weeks of preparations on the island, rehearsing the secret nuclear attacks while other B29s were taking took flak trying to bomb Japan into surrender with conventional bombs. He writes in The Tibbets Story that regular morning flights of small groups of weather and phototographic survey planes that did not make significant attacks over possible nuclear target cities, helped to reduce civil defense readiness in the cities, as well as reducing the air defense risks, since Japan was rationing its use of its limited remaining air defense in 1945.

The November 1976 Scientific American anti-civil defense article claimed that civil defense was discredited since: "In the 1960s the US adopted a strategic policy giving top priority to the prevention of nuclear war through deterrence ...", to which Wigner and Broyles responded to this claim in "We heartily disagree" in the July-August 1977 Journal of Civil Defense: "How do you deter an attack unless you convince an enemy that you will fight the war that he is starting?"

Dictators often start wars which their people don't need: the Persian war against the Greeks, Hannibal's war against Rome, the Tartar's invasions of Europe, the Turks' invasion of Hungary, the invasions of Napoleon. You have to accept that aggression is not necessarily a completely rational activity! All that counts for deterrence is that it is credible. If you don't prepare to fight with strategic nuclear weapons, then they are just a pointless bluff, a paper tiger as the Chinese put it, not a credible deterrent. Which is precisely what the disarmers want, of course, since nuclear parity, with the shift away from credible nuclear deterrence to incredible foolery, is only one step away from admitting the uselessness of the strategic nuclear stockpile, disarming and surrendering!

UPDATE (10 March 2022): A commenter on this blog post states:

Western Trade Pressure on the Soviet Union, An Interdependence Perspective on Sanctions, Springer, 1991, by David W. Hunte, pp 14-15:

Economic Sanctions: Pre-World War II Through Cold War

"In 1925, British Foreign Secretary Austen Chamberlain stated in the League of Nations: ‘The great advantage of economic sanctions, is ... they do not involve the resort to force.’ The commonly held view was that economic sanctions were the perfect weapon to pressure states into compliance without blood being spilt or lives lost. By 1980, however, Adler-Karlsson had reached a different conclusion: economic sanctions as instruments of foreign policy almost never worked. ... . In both Britain and France, the situation was one of choosing the least undesirable alternative."

The reality is that "sanctions work" but not in the way intended. Sanctions against Japan resulted in the surprise attack on Pearl harbor, thus war, escalating into nuclear war against the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945. Sanctions against Nazi Germany resulted in invasions to seize wealth, and war. Sanctions against Saddam's Iraq ended in a Gulf War. So much for sanctions being a proved alternative to deterrence.

Just one final thought on Kennedy's experience: apart from putting civil defense "nuclear shelter" signs on public building basements and putting geiger counters, food, water and emergency toilets into them to enable America to take shelter if the chips go down, apart from sending his brother to Nevada test site to watch the test firing of the W54 Davy Crocket battlefield tactical nuclear deterrent weapon in 1962, apart from standing firm on the Cuban blockage in October 1962 (instead of appeasing Khrushchev, and note that the obsolete pile of junk he removed from Turkey, the highly vulnerable liquid-fuelled old Jupiter missiles, were obsolete anyway and due to be replaced by less vulnerable Polaris sub in the Med), and apart from approving the final series of high altitude nuclear tests, Operation Fishbowl, which revealed the magnetic dipole EMP, Kennedy also rejected the economic trade sanctions against the USSR which could have forced another war like the sanctions of the 1930s:

President John F. Kennedy, “U.S. Grain Dealers to be Allowed to Sell Wheat to Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.” U.S. Department of State Bulletin, v49, 1963, p.660-661: "It demonstrates our willingness to relieve food shortages, to reduce tensions, and to improve relations with all countries and it shows that peaceful agreements with the United States which serve the interests of both sides are a far more worthwhile course than a course of isolation and hostility."

ABOVE: John F. Kennedy's Why England Slept manuscript dated 25 May 1940 (CREDIT: JFK LIBRARY); notice the statement above right that his conclusion is that the war was the inevitable result of the slowness of the conversion of the British disarmament policy into a policy of rearmament! John F. Kennedy's college thesis on the need for deterrence and civil defence to make it credible in the face of enemy threats and aggression (a big stick in the hands of a goliath is useless if the enemy is a David with slingshot that can stun the goliath with a stone to the forehead, allowing victory, so you need some defensive armour to make the big stick a credible deterrent rather than mere bluff that can be easily neutralised by any smaller enemy due to your vulnerabilities), Why England Slept, is still worth more than all the sanctions and peaceniks literature ever written, explaining his often forgotten speech on civil defence as a national necessity for credible deterrence of war, given as United States President to a Joint Session of Congress precisely 21 years later to the day from the completion of his book (speech on 25 May 1961, precisely 21 years to the day after the 25 May 1940 date on his manuscript above):

"No role in history could be more difficult or more important. We stand for freedom. ... I am here to promote the freedom doctrine. ... the adversaries of freedom ... send arms, agitators, aid, technicians and propaganda to every troubled area. But where fighting is required, it is usually done by others - by guerrillas striking at night, by assassins striking alone - assassins who have taken the lives of four thousand civil officers in the last twelve months in Vietnam alone - by subversives and saboteurs and insurrectionists, who in some cases control whole areas inside of independent nations. ... We stand, as we have always stood from our earliest beginnings, for the independence and equality of all nations. This nation was born of revolution and raised in freedom. And we do not intend to leave an open road for despotism. ... Military pacts cannot help nations whose social injustice and economic chaos invite insurgency and penetration and subversion. The most skillful counter-guerrilla efforts cannot succeed where the local population is too caught up in its own misery to be concerned about the advance of communism. ...

"One major element of the national security program which this nation has never squarely faced up to is civil defense. This problem arises not from present trends but from national inaction in which most of us have participated. In the past decade we have intermittently considered a variety of programs, but we have never adopted a consistent policy. Public considerations have been largely characterized by apathy, indifference and skepticism ... this deterrent concept assumes rational calculations by rational men. And the history of this planet, and particularly the history of the 20th century, is sufficient to remind us of the possibilities of an irrational attack, a miscalculation, an accidental war, which cannot be either foreseen or deterred. It is on this basis that civil defense can be readily justifiable - as insurance for the civilian population in case of an enemy miscalculation. It is insurance we trust will never be needed - but insurance which we could never forgive ourselves for foregoing in the event of catastrophe. Once the validity of this concept is recognized, there is no point in delaying the initiation of a nation-wide long-range program of identifying present fallout shelter capacity and providing shelter in new and existing structures. Such a program would protect millions of people against the hazards of radioactive fallout in the event of large-scale nuclear attack. Effective performance of the entire program not only requires new legislative authority and more funds, but also sound organizational arrangements. Therefore, under the authority vested in me by Reorganization Plan No. 1 of 1958, I am assigning responsibility for this program to the top civilian authority already responsible for continental defense, the Secretary of Defense ... no insurance is cost-free; and every American citizen and his community must decide for themselves whether this form of survival insurance justifies the expenditure of effort, time and money. For myself, I am convinced that it does."

ABOVE: Hitler propaganda and coercion so called peace offers in October 1939 and March 1940, because he knew that Britain's Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Lord Halifax, was keen on trying to negotiate a peace deal with the Nazis rather than face up to a repeat of WWI, particularly after Britain's defeat in France at Dunkirk in the face of the overpowering German Panzer attacks (radio propaganda, aided by plenty of whisky and cigars, from Churchill portrayed this retreat and evacuation from Europe as being a miracle, but although losses were minimised - thanks not to Churchill's planning but to emergency improvised evacuation across the channel using small private boats from England - Hitler won the actual battle and successfully drove the British Expeditionary Force from France). Russia in the 1st Cold War set up the World Peace Council in Moscow to fund and help Western nuclear disarmament movements to try to make its domination of the West possible by removing W79 neutron bombs etc, leaving us without a credible deterrent against Russian invasions. It simultaneously made peace propaganda offers to end war by collaboration with dictatorships, an offer that appealed to many idealists who believed it, as Lord Halifax believed Hitler's repeated peace lies. We can expect Putin to make peace promises as a propaganda tool. If he actually wanted peace he would not have invaded Ukraine.

March 14, 2022 5:04 PM GMT

U.N. chief: prospect of nuclear conflict back 'within realm of possibility' over Ukraine By Humeyra Pamuk

March 14 (Reuters) - United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday sounded the alarm over Russia raising the alert level [weeks ago] for its nuclear forces after invading Ukraine, describing it as a "bone-chilling development." "The prospect of nuclear conflict, once unthinkable, is now back within the realm of possibility," Guterres told reporters, and repeated his call for an immediate cessation of hostilities. Russia's invasion of Ukraine that began on Feb. 24 has so far sent more than 2.8 million people fleeing across Ukraine's borders and trapped hundreds of thousands in besieged cities while triggering broad Western sanctions on Russia. [Actually, the so-called UN, better called the non-united nations, contributed to the war by its repeated calls for nuclear disarmament, which has had precisely the effect John F. Kennnedy found when he wrote Why England Slept from his experience in London with his dad, the American Ambassador to Britain, when deterrence failed due to Nazi propaganda on war devastation and poison gas on cities for disarmament, defeatism, and a Third Reich conquest using a minimal military force.) Financial Times, 16 March 2022. Zelensky pleads with Biden for no-fly zone or fighter jets. James Politi in Washington. Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky pleaded for the US to enforce a no-fly zone or provide fighter jets or other means to fend off Russia’s attack on his country, in a virtual address to members of Congress on Wednesday. Zelensky urged US lawmakers to impose harsher economic sanctions on Moscow ... He called on Americans to remember the attacks on Pearl Harbor and September 2001, saying “our country is experiencing the same thing every day right now”, and showed a video of the missile attacks and shelling destroying Ukrainian cities. ... At the end of his address, Zelensky directly addressed US president Joe Biden in English, saying: “I wish you to be the leader of the world. Being the leader of the world means to be the leader of peace.” (Loon's "peace" is the nuclear deterrent-lacking world of 1914 or 1939.)

ABOVE: Hiroshima ground zero showing surviving concrete buildings amid the debris from now-obsolete wood frame (with tiled roof) buildings that burned in a firestorm that developed 30 minutes after the bombing, not instantly as claimed in approximately 100% of newspaper and TV fake news propaganda on nuclear weapons for disarmament - a Los Alamos nuclear weapons jobsworth and coward called Dr Harold Agnew exposed only in SECRET classified documents the exaggerations of nuclear weapons effects on people on modern concrete city buildings in Hiroshima with a "Confetti argument" - see the originally SECRET Los Alamos report LA-14066-H, Tracing the Origins of the W76: 1966-Spring 1973 (U) by Betty L. Perkins, thereby preventing widespread public understanding of the truth, and so enabling anti-nuclear media dominating anti-civil defence pro-disarmament pro-dictatorship liars to deceive the world about nuclear weapons capabilities just as the 30s poison gas media dominating anti-civil defence pro-disarmament pro-dictatorship liars to deceive the world about the Nazi threat to gas bomb all modern cities, etc. This anti-nuclear disarmament propaganda effort is still covering-up the hard scentific facts on nuclear radiation effects for everything from medicine to nuclear power, such as the extensive evidence (see the graph below from the still-maintained website of U.S. Government's radium dial painter dos-effects project investigator, the late Dr Robert E. Rowland, 1923-2017) that there is a dose-rate threshold for cancer of approximately 100 micro-Sieverts per hour or 10 mR/hour in old units (from an intake of 100 microcuries of radium-226 alpha emitter or its equivalent), summarised as follows by study leader Dr Robert Rowland in his published 1995 Oral History interview:

"Two of the things that most people haven't realized on the induction of malignancies by radium deposited in a human [are], one, how few there are and, two, the fact that, whether we like it or not, they are the best definition of a threshold relationship that I've ever come across. ... an initial systemic intake of less than about 75 microcuries of radium that's systemic intake, which is one-fifth of the total intake has never induced a malignancy, either bone sarcoma or carcinoma of the air cells. ... [Radium-226 radiation dose threshold for effects is] 75 microcuries, systemically, which is five times that in terms of oral ingestion, or 75 if you inject it with a needle in the vein. ... if you quote rem, 20,000 [assuming relative biological effectiveness, RBE = 20 for alpha particles, i.e. alpha dose in rem or cSv = 20 x alpha dose in rads or cGy]. ... I mean, I [grew] up with the idea that 600 rad, to the whole body, was lethal. And then I go talking about, "But we've never seen a malignancy under 20,000 rem, or 1,000 rads, of radiation." You know, you don't even get a malignancy, yet you kill someone with 600 rads! ... This population of people we've measured, if we line them up in order of initial systemic intake, how much radium got into the bloodstream, and put them in pecking order — of the 2,400, all of the malignancies occur in the highest 280 cases. The lower 2,100 cases, nothing. All of it occurs right there. ... which is another way of saying, "It sure looks like a threshold relationship." ... As you well know, several years ago, it was proposed that the radium levels in drinking water be changed significantly upward. ... It's one of these mandates of our Congress that have insisted that a certain level was God-given, and we had better not have more than that in our water. ... And, incidentally, you may not be aware, radium in water is causing a big problem, not in drinking, [but] in the oil industry ... When you pump oil, water comes up. That comes from way down, and it's loaded with radium. ... If you own an oil well that has four miles of pipe going down, each one 30 feet long and 3 inches in diameter, when they scale up [with calcium carbonate deposits] you don't throw them [away], you pull them and clean them out. This went on for years, until somebody discovered they contained radium in the scale."

ABOVE: Blast duration effects on cube root scaling are only important at low yields, not high yields, as observed for house damage in Britain, based on actual observations, not faked "theoretical analyses" used for propaganda for anti-nuclear disarmament scare mongering, which is designed to try to discredit civil defense using lies in order for disarmament and surrender to be the "only option" for survival.

The blood of the Ukrainian kids must be partly on the hands of those who permitted the circulation of nuclear deterrent lies to remove Ukaine's nuclear deterrent against Russian aggression. What a terrible people keep the truth secret, thereby allowing public deceptions by political left-wing thugs for nuclear disarmament to enable dictatorships to launch lethal invasions with effective impunity. Other warhead histories by Betty Perkins include LA-13755-H: Tracing the Origins of the Modern Primary: 1952-1970 (U), LA-12950-H: Why Nougat? (U) Understanding the Events Leading to the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory's First Full-Scale Underground Test Series and Related Considerations (U), and LA-12393-H: The 1959-1961 TA-49 Experiments and Related Considerations (U).. Don't expect to ever see anything like this published on the front page of any Western so-called newspaper or as the lead item in any Western TV "news" show. They carefully screen out anything that upsets the nuclear warmongers who don't care about provoking another war through disarmament lies, as they did in the 20s and 30s, because the Western public want to be protected from reality until it breaks through their comfort zone and kicks their ass, as happened to Ukraine after it surrendered its nuclear deterrent for loads of lies on a piece of paper which has now proved no more valuable than worthless paper peace promise which Hitler signed on 30 September '38.

ABOVE: in 1979, the basic data on yield, weight and configuration of various nuclear devices including data on the primary stages Swan (Redwing-Inca, 15.2 kt W45, 11.6 by 22.8 inches, 105 lb; also tested as the primary stage inside the successful 360 kt Redwing-Mohawk thermonuclear test) and Swallow (Redwing-Kickapoo, 1.49 kt, 8 by 28 inches, 225 lb), and megaton range thermonuclear device Bassoon (Mk41 Redwing-Tewa, 5.01 Mt, 87% fission, 39 by 135.5 inches, 15,735 lb; and in its cleaner form Redwing-Zuni, 3.53 Mt, 15% fission, 39 by 135.5 inches, only weighing 12,158 lb due to replacement of U238 with lead, which - contrary to populist myths - is not entirely useless or inert since lead does undergo a beryllium-like (n,2n) reaction for T+D fusion neutrons with energy exceeding 10 MeV, with the (n,2n) lead neutron cross-section reaching 2 barns for 14.1 MeV neutrons), and the use of plastic foams to reflect and channel X-rays for the ablative compression of thermonuclear fusion stages, with tested design results (rated in megatons per metre length of fusion cylindrical stage), was disclosed in report UCRL-4725, Weapon Development During June, 1956. This was after having been mistakenly declassified 4 years earlier, on 30 July 1975. Only 56 copies of this secret report were printed, and the whole report was declassified accidentally when only pages 23-29 should have been released. Bassoon worked like the Mike and Castle devices, which were basically Teller 1946 Classic superbomb cylinders of thermonuclear fuel ignited at one end, but sideways compressed by x-ray ablative compression on the cylindrical surface rather than end-on heating through a beryllium shield as Teller has envisioned in 1946, utilizing a relatively low yield fission primary stage to initiate the thermonuclear burn. Howard Agnew told Richard Rhodes (Dark Sun, 1995) that in the 1952 Mike device, a layer of plastic foam was attached to the lead lining on the inside of the casing of weapons to act as "x-ray mirrors", preventing the ablative blow-off of metal into the radiation channel by x-rays. However, the British designer - Brian Taylor - of the first successful 1.8 megaton spherical secondary stage test in 1957 on TV recently reported that their devices used plastic foams filling the entire x-ray radiation channel, in order to allow isotropic (uniform from all directions) ablation of the pusher around the spherical fusion stage, which would be harder to achieve by x-ray mirrors than was the case for the simpler cylindrical geometry of the fusion stage used by Teller in Mike. According to the June 1967 Sandia Corporation's originally secret thermonuclear weapons development history (extract below), the new Los Alamos Maniac I computer's first task in 1952 was to determine "... the flow of radiation pressure along channels between fission and fusion components of the bomb ..."

Rather than the x-rays simultaneously compressing the whole cylinder (which is what Hansen and Morland show in their illustrations, ignoring the time factor), the thermonuclear burning wave - if the x-rays are slowed down by plastic foam filling the radiation channel - propagates along the cylinder beginning at the end nearest the primary stage: by having a sufficient "spark plug" of fissile material in the core (both to irradiate compressed LiD with neutrons, fissioning some of the lithium into tritium, and also to provide heat to initiate fusion in the compressed fusion fuel), a self-sustaining burning wave could be established, so that you could increase the yield simply by making the cylinder longer (the Bassoon was increased up to 25 megatons in the W41, five times the Tewa test yield!). In such a design, the role of plastic foam blocking the radiation channel, is to deliberately prevent the rather limited primary stage x-ray energy yield from being diluted excessively by flowing over the vast surface of the secondary stage cylinder, which would reduce the compression and lead to secondary stage fizzle. The whole point of the hydrogen bomb is to get away from the critical mass yield-limiting problem of fission weapons, and you can't do that if there is no way to control the spread of the vital x-ray radiation from a primary stage when you have a very large secondary stage to compress. The diagram below applies to the basic W41, but note that the neutron shield between the primary and secondary stage is there to prevent pre-initiation of fission in the core spartplug of the secondary, cylindrical stage, but in a very clean weapon like 95% clean, 5% fission Redwing-Navajo, there is no spark plug so the neutron shield is replaced with a neutron channel to allow primary stage neutrons to fission lithium, producing tritium in the secondary stage, prior to its compression. Furthermore, Bassoon's 15% and 87% fission yield versions showed the effect on both bomb yield and mass of replacing the U238 ablative pusher around the fusion clyinder with lead to make it much cleaner. The results showed that doing this drops the mass from 15,735 to 12,158 lb, while only reducing yield from 5.01 to 3.53 megatons. Moreover, while you get an area of 520 square miles giving a fallout dose over the first 50 hours of 1000 R (survivable indoors with the shielding provided by most city buildings) for the "dirty" version, this drops to only about 150 R for the "cleaner" version, for land equivalent surfaces outdoors. As a result, details of nuclear warhead designs were published in various books and articles. At this point (if not in 1949 with Fuchs, Greenglass and other spies giving Stalin the bomb "for peace"), sensible people realise that "secrecy" markings on documents sooner or later fail to protect you from dictators, so you instead need credible nuclear deterrence and civil defense.

ABOVE: Dr Gregg Spriggs of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, who gave Hans Rosenwinkel (producer and director) a PBS America TV interview recently (in the 2021 TV documentary on the Bravo test, called "Burning Sky", first broadcast on PBS America digital channel in the UK on 26 June 2021 after being broadcast 3 days earlier in the USA; we taped it for personal use but due to copyright cannot upload it to youtube), claiming that water spray in most Pacific nuclear tests led to yield underestimates so Bravo would be 22 megatons not 15 megatons, leading - if correct - to even greater reduction in the measured effects of nuclear weapons of given megaton yields shown in Glasstone's book: "They did their best back in the 1950s ... on Bravo they had adjusted the analysis somewhat ... when you do a shot over water, as the shock wave moves out it picks up water and it makes the shock wave heavier, so we think now that the yield of Bravo - and in fact the yield of all of the barge shots that were done in the Pacific - were about 27-50% higher than what was originally reported, so Bravo, instead of being 15 megatons, might actually have been on the order of 22 megatons!" (We're not updating the Pacific nuclear tests yield data on this blog until we see the reports with hard data on this, because the 1950s yields were also substantiated by radiological yield from fission product and actinide samples in fallout, which doesn't depend on shock wave data or fireball expansion films! However, this claim about H-bomb yields in the Pacific being underestimates is interesting, and Dr Spriggs may well have secret-classified reports hidden from public view, with more data which will eventually be declassified and become available. If indeed the total fireball expansion-derived yields are higher, then the percentage fission yields - derived from fallout sample analyses - must be smaller by a similar factor, which would have huge implications for not just nuclear weapons effects but also for constants in the semi-empirical models of nuclear weapon designs for megaton yields!) He has also put some recently restored films of nuclear test explosions on youtube. The most interesting, in view of the photo of the "upright" test configuration of the 5 megaton Redwing-Tewa bomb at Bikini in 1956 (see photos at the top of this blog post for a pic of the Mk41 Tewa test prior to testing) shows the primary stage being ejected vertically upwards out of the fireball and creating a second smaller fireball above the main fireball produced by the main cylindrical secondary stage (which is heavier and nearer to the ground), an effect analogous to that seen in the 1962 Starfish test (basically the two stages are exchanging radiation which causes them to recoil apart as the weapon case vaporizes, and the lighter primary stage gains the most velocity, due to straightforward conservation of momentum):

ABOVE: Bravo's 1 kiloton x ray channeled fireball travelling in vacuum pipes towards Station 1200 at 2,286 metres (1.4 miles) distance. Most high quality versions of films and photos showing such interesting weapons effects are still classified because they contain interesting information on the effects which are denied public viewing, along with EMP waveforms showing transit times between fission and primary stage ignitions. Station 1200 at 1.4 miles from Bravo survived 130 psi, despite being designed for just 50 psi from a yield of just 6 megatons. If Dr Gregg Spriggs is correct to claim that Bravo's real yield was 22 megatons (rather than 14.8 megatons), it will mean that a structure designed to survive 50 psi can survive at 1.4 miles from a 22 megaton bomb, which is even more impressive than 15 megatons.

UPDATE - 6 April 2022:

The roots of the present crisis are covered in General Sir John Hackett, DSO and Bar, MC, LLD, et al., The Third World War, Book Club Associates, 1978. Hackett was an Australian born Oxford classics and history scholar, who went into the British Army when Hitler went off the deep end in 1939, being wounded while leading a parachute brigade against the Nazis at Arnhem. He ended up NATO Commander of the British Army on the Rhine, when he started a political war with the British Government by writing a famous letter in The Times complaining that NATO was under resourced and needed strengthening to resist Russia. He survived that by claiming he was wearing his NATO hat, not his British Army hat, when writing the letter (the British Army bans its employees from writing politics in the press, whereas NATO doesn't). After retirement he became Principal of King's College, London, and then wrote The Third World War to point out the risk of NATO weakness encouraging Russian aggression, just as he had seen happen with the Nazis in the 1930s, stating in Authors' Note and Acknowledgements (p 359):

"Those who argue for the reduction of defence expenditure in the countries of the West .... seem to live in a land of total make-believe ... What they [Russia] have been doing is building up huge armed forces, far greater than what would be necessary, in any conceivable situation, for their own defence, at a cost gravely detrimental to domestic development ... and in a mode essentially offensive. ... We have assumed that enough is done to ensure that, when the Soviet machine travels of its own momentum along a path of miscalculation and mischance towards an attack on NATO, the West, at some cost, is able to survive. It is possible, of course, that enough will not be done. The outcome is then likely to be different. ... the free countries of the West would be in no position to withstand political pressure from the USSR, which would enjoy the fruits of a military victory, without having to fight for it."

Hackett and associates outline what they consider the most probable nature of WWIII, pointing out (on page 31) that in 1978 only 35 out of 180 governments in the world were truly democratic, and the remainder relied on dictatorial succession or coup d' etat for changes of leadership. They assume (Appendix 5, p355) that the West has a nuclear inferiority by 4 August 1985 when they assume WWIII breaks out, with 2450 ICBMs, IRBMs and SLBMs on the Russian/Warsaw Pact side, compared to just 1900 available to the West. They assume that Russian assistance to Egypt causes subversion and overthrow of Middle East countries (Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Kuwait) in 1984, with Saudi's Sunni sect versus Iraq's Shia sect being provoked by insurgency to cause war. Russia also attacks Western assets, ships etc, leading American hawks to propose (p 282): "Why not now go over to the offensive, it was asked, and finish off forever the threat ... East Germany and Poland could be freed and the advance could be pushed forward in the Ukraine as far as the Dnieper. Control of the Ukrainian harvest and of the Dnieper hydro-electric installations would be enough to cripple any further war effort by Soviet Russia. It would be tempting to go on and liberate Georgia and control Baku, but that ... would expose too long a line of Western communications ..." Instead, the Russian Kremlin followed President Truman's doctrine of 6 August 1945 (p 285): "They insisted on an immediate move towards the threat of nuclear action. A single atomic attack on a Western target would be enough to demonstrate their determination. A simultaneous message would be sent to the US proposing the immediate withdrawl of all foreign forces ... It was important to make it absolutely clear to the Americans that this was a single attack to demonstrate what might happen if they refused Soviet demands. It was not to be seen as an immediate prelude to a general nuclear offensive. ... Most views were fairly near the truth so far as a proposal for negotiation was concerned, but few guessed that this would be accompanied by a Hiroshima-type demonstration, or that the time-table would be as narrow and threatening as it turned out to be ... he demanded that the US should send representatives within one week ... failing which further selective strikes would be carried out."

After the explosion, NATO retaliates with a similarly small-scale tit-for-tat nuclear strike, being constrained by escalation fears (a factor which contrary to CND propaganda, was the prime factor in all NATO Cold War plans). Hackett comments on the Cold War conflict between oppressor Russia and its victim Ukraine (p 306): "Soviet policy had always been at pains either to suppress or appease any symptoms of independence of mind on the part of Ukraine [Khrushchev gave Ukraine the Crimea in 1954]. Its enormous contribution to Soviet food supplies, its position in the front line of Soviet territory facing the West, bordering on Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Romania, and its vast hydro-electric potential, had made it, after Russia proper, the most vital component of the [Soviet] Union."

Hackett argues (p 311) that Marxism only took root among a "group of people accustomed to absolutism", such as those in the Tsar's Russia of 1917 or Ho Chi Minh's Vietnam, and failed elsewhere, unless continuously enforced by a regime of brutality and violence. Put another war, "Marxism" was essentially successful merely because it became a mere public relations symbol or label, used as a handy excuse for excesses by dictators, just as certain religions were likewise used as mere excuses for invasions labelled Crusades or Holy wars in the past. His conclusion (p 327) is that WWIII would end Cold War Russia's role as a Western superpower, leaving China (largely a rival to Russia in the Cold War) to take its place: "After each major war this century, a great empire has melted away. After the 1914-18 war, the defeated Austro-Hungarian empire. After the 1939-45 war, the victorious British empire." The basic problem remains that relatively few countries are completely democratic and free, while many have military power. The cheap-fix of disarmament for this world is beautifully debunked by world history following the nonsense written on pages 101-2 of the 1931 book by Major Victor Lefebure, Scientific Disarmament (published by the communist Victor Gollancz's Mundanus Ltd imprint in London, with glowing Introductions by 14 disarmament "experts" including David Lloyd George and H. G. Wells): "The claim that a peacefully disposed country, highly organised for industry, with vast facilities for manufacture of all kinds, can suddenly spring from a condition of disarmament to one of intense armament appears to be untenable." (Hitler disproved him soon after being elected two years later. This book was given a lengthy and laudatory review in The Observer on 1 March 1931 by a Major-General Sir F. Maurice!)

Update: 17 April 2022. President Biden is sending further military aid for Ukraine to fight Russia, $800 million including 500 Javelin armour penetrating missiles, two hundred M113 APCs, eleven Mi-17 helicopters, eighteen 155mm howitzers, 40,000 artillery shells, 300 switchblade drones. The problem is that this kind of proxy conventional war can drag on, devastating the country. If you remember the neutron bomb "controversy" from 40 years ago, Reagan's admin argued (1) they'd deter invasions, and (2) if some kind of accidental special military adventure/invasion occurred, then they'd swiftly stop the armour without any collateral blast, fire or fallout damage (1 kiloton enhanced radiation/reduced blast at a few hundred metres doesn't cause any damage apart from a flash of nuclear radiation to stop/deter invasions, UNLIKE conventional weapons which leave the country in ruins and hurt civilians). According to Sandia's declassified Defense Nuclear Agency Nuclear Weapons Characteristics Handbook, pages 13-15: "With the advent of the Korean War in 1950 ... our focus shifted to tactical nuclear weapons. The Mk7 bomb and the Mk9 280mm artillery fired atomic projectile were the first of these weapons. In the early 1950s we started developing nuclear warheads for short-range missiles such as the Honest John and the Corporal ... In 1962, President Kennedy directed that permissive action links (PALs) be incorporated in all NATO deployed weapons to protect against unauthorised use." Deterrence was lost in the 90s due to lying anti-nuclear propaganda disarmament activists. Without credible nuclear deterrence, we are back to long sieges of cities, where attrition in the face of dwindling food and ammunition determines the outcome, as in the 11 month long siege of Sebastopol in Crimea, from October 1854 to September 1855, or its siege from October 1941 to July 1942 (during June 1942 alone, Germany reportedly dropped 20,528 tons or 20.5 kilotons - more than twice the blast yield of the Hiroshima bomb - on Sebastopol, which of course goes unnoticed by the anti-nuclear propagandarists who don't care deterring conventional war).


President Zelensky warns world to prepare for Russian nuclear attack on Ukraine

The Ukraine leader called for more air raid shelters and more anti-radiation medicines

By Sami Quadri, Evening Standard, london

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said the world should be ready for the prospect of Vladimir Putin using nuclear weapons.

Speaking from the country’s capital Kyiv, Mr Zelensky voiced his fears the Russian president could also be prepared to use chemical weapons against Ukraine.

The leader called for more air raid shelters and more anti-radiation medicines.


'Increasingly desperate' Vladimir Putin could attack a NATO base to stop the western weapons that are stalling his invasion from getting to Ukrainian forces, ex-national security chief warns

Putin could strike a NATO base in order to halt the transfer of arms to Ukraine

Former Government security adviser Lord Ricketts made the warning yesterday

Putin may even attack aircraft or convoys headed to Ukraine from NATO, he said


PUBLISHED: 19:00, 17 April 2022

Vladimir Putin could consider striking a NATO base in order to halt the transfer of arms to Ukraine, a former British security chief has warned. Lord Ricketts, the Government's first national security adviser, said yesterday that Mr Putin is becoming 'increasingly desperate to choke off the flow of arms' to Ukraine. He may even do this by attacking aircraft or convoys headed to the country from NATO, Lord Ricketts suggested. ... Ukraine's president, Volodymyr Zelensky said that it is important for Russia not to win any territory in the Donbas region. ... 'We shouldn't wait for the moment when Russia decides to use nuclear weapons ... We must prepare for that,' he said.


This is the place and time to once more debunk Dr Hans A. Bethe's nonsense anti-Reagan address in April 1982 to the American Physical Society, "We are not inferior to the Soviets" (published on pages 90-98 of Bethe's book The Road from Los Alamos, Touchstone, 1991). Bethe admits in table 1 of his article that the Russian empire had 2,490 ICBMs, SLBMs and bombers, compared to just 2,030 American delivery systems, and also in his table 2 that the nuclear warheads on these systems amounted to 8,000 equivalent megatons on the Russian side, compared to just 5,600 American. However, he then made the totally false propaganda claim that this vastly superior Russian nuclear force "is cancelled by the lower accuracy of their missiles"! This is totally misleading "chalk versus cheese" propaganda fake news from Bethe, because the American and Russian targetting strategies were different: Russia was targetting soft targets with higher yields that don't require high accuracy, whereas America was trying to target Russian Kremlin leaders bunkers and Russian nuclear weapons in their very hard missile silos, not civilian targets, with lower yield nuclear warheads that produce less collateral civilian damage and injury, but that do require high accuracy unlike the Russian targetting strategy, and in fact America FAILED due to errors in its crater sizes predictions, a fact only discovered at the end of the Cold War! They have been trying to rectify it ever since by "converting" old surface burst tested H-bombs into underground earth-penetrator warheads that can overcome the crater predictions errors by penetrating the ground to tens of metres depth to increase the energy coupling into hardened silos and bunkers, but such converted warheads simply haven't been fully system-proof-tested to work due to the atmospheric test ban treaty! In addition, Bethe quotes Brezhnev propaganda speeches, claims falsely that neutron bombs aren't needed to deter invasions since NATO can somehow use anti-tank missiles against a concentrated tank barriage once it starts (a very dangerous gamble, disproved by numerous surprise attacks in history, and also requiring huge conventional forces mobilized at borders that repeat the 1914 world war disaster), and claims falsely that both sids already have "vast overkill capacity", which is simply not true if in a dangerous crisis one side evacuates target cities and takes to shelters before taking declaring war or taking provocative actions, as Britain did when evacuating kids from London before declaring war in 1939!.

Bethe's book The Road from Los Alamos also contains other nonsense that make clear that he is double-talking subjective political drivel that ignores the real issues. For example, in his chapter headed "Meaningless Superiority", on page 87 he states: "There can be no victor in a nuclear war." Nuclear weapons were used in WWII and victory was declared in both European and Pacific theatres. Bethe just adds the word "nuclear" to the anti-war drivel of the 1920s and 1930s post-WWI pseudo-pacifists, who would think of gas bombs as a cheap short-cut for disarmament propaganda to close down discussions of victory, in the manner that nuclear weapons are used for this purpose today. But a war ended by a demonstration high altitude EMP effects shot which causes fewer casualties than a conventional bomb is a "nuclear war" that evidently disproves this, and then you get into the problem of what he means by "victor". You don't necessarily engage in a war to achieve the kind of "victory" Bethe sneers at; you fight to survive as a free society. But from the left-wing political angle, all you need to say is that you believe the weapons will be used in enough quantities, on such targets to make the survivors envy the dead, and bob's your uncle: the debate closes in your favour since nobody wants such an argument. However, did Hitler drop his 12,000 tons of deadly tabun nerve agent (or his smaller sarin nerve agent stockpile) in a knockout blow to win World War II, or did he not? Those weapons were found in 1945 when Germany was invaded, and dumped in the Atlantic. The point is, by distributing gas masks to everybody and shelters to keep the liquid droplets off the skin, the gas bomb threat was discredited. The same applies to simple fallout radiation precautions: anything to keep fallout off the skin stops the beta burns that the Marshallese and Japanese fishermen suffered in March 1954, while simple shelters also shield gamma rays fom fallout, which are of relatively low energy for the Russian designs with U238 casings, where neutron capture produces a lot of low energy gamma rays from Np239 and U237 for the crucial sheltering period of 1-10 days after detonation. Bethe ends his meaningless "Meaningless Superiority" article by declaring on page 89: "Negotiations on arms control must not be linked to 'good behavior' ... We Americans should have learned in Vietnam that we are not the policeman of the world." This is a simply a reversal of the lessons of WWII, it is a retreat to the isolationism of the 1930s, when America followed Britain's stupidity and failed to get involved in actively stopping or credibly deterring Germany and Japan from starting WWII. If anyone wants to draw lessons from the Vietnam war, he should do so using Ambassador to the Soviet Union Foy D. Kohler's analysis of the megatonnage dropped on Vietnam and its failure to win the war due to simple Vietcong shelters and survivalism which completely repudiates strategic bombing, linked here.

Regarding nuclear shelters, Bethe attacks them on page 60, where he admits that if nuclear weapons are used on military targets, "then fallout shelters will be very useful", he then irrationally reverses this in the next sentence by saying that since Russian nuclear weapons are targetted on soft targets (countervalue), not hard silos (counerforce), such an attack is "highly unlikely because it is ineffective against an invulnerable missile force." Bethe knows nothing about the true hardness of the Russian shelter system against all kinds of nuclar attacks, counterforce and countervalue. But his argument against shelters, by claiming Russia has superior deterrence in being able to do countervalue attacks, contradicts his own claim in another chapter of his book, where he claims that Russia's superior equivalent megatonage and missiles stockpile is not superior for deterrence, because it has less accurate missiles. Bethe merely redefines the meaning of "superiority" to whatever suits his subjective political agenda. What are we trying to deter? According to Bethe's Russian inferiority argument, we are trying to deter Russia from damaging our nuclear warheads, which is not a problem because the Russian missiles are inaccurate. But that's not what most people are concerned about, which is deterring Russia from attacking civilians. In that sense, Russia has superiority, because accuracy is not a problem for hitting targets the size of cities (as compared to missile silos or Trident submarines). Accuracy is then irrevelant. But it is also largely irrelevant in any case, since submarines hidden at sea are hard to hit so any "counterforce" strategy against a nuclear trident of mixed forces (planes, submarines hidden at sea, and silos) is half-baked at best, and in any case, Russia had not only vast countervalue superiority, but also counterforce superiority, since it turned out that simplistic Glasstone crater size analysis was false and massively exaggerated, so the nuclear weapons targetted on Russian silos wouldn't have done the job Bethe supposed, even ignoring Russian submarines hidden at sea!.

In yet another deceptive propaganda essay, Bethe's chapter on SDI claims that "to be useful" a Western ABM system or space based defence (Reagan's strategic defence initiative) would have to shoot down "virtually all of the 10,000 or so" Russian weapons! Again, this is Bethe's highly bigoted view of how Russia will use nuclear weapons in WWIII: he thinks they will disarm themselves by firing everything they have to overwhelm a Western ABM or other defence system. This is the 1914 and 1939 "knockout blow" delusion that Kahn debunks. Since they have a protected second strike force, they don't need to do this. The far more likely threat of a rogue missile or limited demonstration attack in the manner of Hiroshima or Starfish Prime, is ignored by Bethe. It isn't ignored by Russia which does have an ABM around Moscow for this reason! Bethe then on page 124 then claims that a high altitude nuclear detonation releasing 1 kev soft X-rays to pump a directed "x-ray laser" (in fact you don't need anything so fancy, since a tube or case around the weapon, with one end open, will function to send out a directed pulse of x-rays, as proved in numerous tests, starting with the x-ray fireball coupled into vacuum tubes in the Bravo test of 1954), is useless because warheads can be protected by "A crushable layer installed under the [missile] skin [which] could prolong and weaken the [x-ray ablative "blow off"] pressure wave ... thereby protecting both the skin an its contents." Again, this is deliberately scientifically vague, because no calculations about the range, yield, cost to the missile in terms of size and payload increase trade-off, etc., are given. Sure, you can harden missiles by making use of the large take up of energy in deformation beyond the elastic limit, which is how Lord Baker's clever design for the Morrison table shelter worked in WWII (as with car crumple zones, denting absorbs energy very efficiently, allowing a 3mm steel sheet to stop a collapsing house, something you can't achieve cheaply if you you design a shelter not to be dented, the classic delusion of green engineers set to work on shelter design). But you can use the 14 Mev highly penetrating neutrons from a neutron bomb to melt the fissile material in an incoming enemy warhead, causing it to fizzle, ending that threat!

(Reagan's controversial SDI nuclear explosion pumped X-ray laser was first suggested in 1977 by Lawrence Livermore's George Chapline Jr. and was tested underground in Nevada in 1978, with the x-ray detector instrument breaking down so no results came. In summer 1979, Chapline held a meeting at Lawrence Livermore lab to design a re-test, where Peter Hagelstein suggested an improvement which led to the successful "Dauphin" sub-20 kt nuclear explosion test of the Excalibur pumped x-ray laser underground Nevada on 14 November 1980. It used laser rods made of doped fogbank like the lowest density x-ray transmitting foams in the W76 warhead, but until it is declassified in full with the test results, it will remain on the sci fi shelves of the library. Hegelstein has one very vague report online about x-ray laser technology, a data-dump list of possibities and a lot of references, but no illustrations or definite schemes.)

According to the declassified American 30 July 1963 "DCI (Director of Central Intelligence) Briefing to the Joint Chiefs of Staff", the Russian nuclear warhead designs up to 1963 below 150 kt all exceeded 600 lb in mass, and adds on page 8 that: "There is no information indicating that the USSR has successfully designed and detonated low yield thermonuclear devices with enhanced radiation and reduced fission or devices with the secondary heavily loaded with oralloy such as the US TUBA device [Tuba was the secondary stage used in the 773 lb, 18" diameter, 46.6" long higher yield Polaris W47-Y2 missile warhead, tested to yield 1.2 megatons in the Dominic-Harlem test dropped from a B52 to detonate with a yield-to-weight ratio of 3.42 kt/kg, at an altitude of 13,645 feet, 17 miles south of Christmas Island on 12 June 1962]. In the case of reduced fission devices the chance of collection and analysis of test debris is markedly reduced for low yield tests and thus the absence of debris analysis indicating the detonation of such devices in the 1961-62 test series cannot be considered conclusive negative evidence." The document also states that Kingfish and Bluegill Triple Prime high altitue tests at altitudes of about 100 and 50 km in 1962 were both 200 kt warheads, not 410 kt as previous data suggested. The diagrams from this very important declassified Top Secret nuclear designs document, which plot a graph of Russian versus American warhead test results (the ratio of yield to mass of bomb, with identified data points for specific Russian and American tested devices including the cleaner "Ripple II", a hollow rippled fusion second stage design by John H. Nuckolls of Livermore lab, which when tested as 7,139 lb Dominic-Housatonic, yielded 10 megatons with alleged 99.9% clean fusion yield on 30 October 1962, superseding the success of previous secondary stages Bassoon, Cello, Fife, Oboe, Calliope and the spherical Tuba) and tabulate a comparison, are of poor quality - hand-drawn not typeset due to the problems of disseminating Top Secret data to printers - but are sufficient to see the key facts (note that this data has NEVER been superseded from the Russian point of view, because this direct data on Russian nuclear weapons from fallout samples ended in 1963 due to the atmospheric nuclear test ban treaty, which moved tests deep underground until they were halted altogether, so since 1963 there has not been fallout analysis data to determine Russian designs):

Tape-recorded White House Meeting on the Dominic Nuclear Test Series, 5 September 1962 (Meeting on the Dominic Nuclear Test Series, 5 September 1962, in Tape 20, Box MTG, President’s Office Files, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library (JFKL), Boston, MA.):

President Kennedy: What about our tests? How would you summarize our tests ... how would they? If they [Russian nuclear warhead designers] were talking about our tests would they dismiss them quite as you dismiss theirs?

U.S. Atomic Energy Commission Chair Dr Glenn Seaborg (Nobel Laureate for discovering plutonium): I think that they would not be able to understand the sophistication of some of the biggest advances we have ...

Unidentified participant: our most advanced idea, namely the Ripple concept, leads to an inherently clean system and maximum efficiency ...

McGeorge Bundy: It may be worth just a moment to explain what that is ... Because that is probably the most important technical development in our own Dominic series.

Carl Kaysen: That’s the sort of breakthrough of the Livermore laboratory.

QUOTATION SOURCE: J. Grams, "Ripple: An Investigation of the World's Most Advanced High-Yield Thermonuclear Weapon Design", Journal of Cold War Studies, v23 (2021), issue 2, pp. 133–161.

Grams states that the Ripple designer, Lawrence Radiation Laboratory physicist John H. Nuckolls, received authorization from President Kennedy to test the first version of Ripple on 2 July 1962, initially set for 5 days later, 7 July, in the crowded Operation Dominic series (America was trying to test every wild idea it could possibly construct and ship to the Pacific, before signing a cessation of atmospheric tests, and some shots failed to get off the ground in time, most notoriously the Uracca high altitude test which Dr Ogle was desperate to have fired at an altitude of 1,300 km, leading to furious technical arguments between Kennedy, his adviser McGeorge Bundy, and testing organiser Dr Frank H. Shelton, documented bitterly in the book about the 1962 tests by Dr Shelton, Dr Ogle, and Dr Seaborg, namely Reflections of a Nuclear Weaponeer; A Return to Testing, and Kennedy, Khrushchev and the Test Ban, all giving very different perspectives on the subject - when Dr Shelton finally got Uracca ditched, Dr Ogle was so furious he tried to pull out of making any more Los Alamos EMP measurements in the high altitude Fish Bowl series in retaliation). Nuckolls vividly described the overloading of the computer resource time for nuclear device design studies at that hectic testing time, and the desperate use of punched IBM cards for 1-d calculations and only a few 2-d calculations:

"I was the lead nuclear designer and this [Ripple secondary] was my first nuclear test. Not nearly enough time or computer resources were available. Livermore’s nuclear design experts believed success was impossible. [John] Foster and [Peter] Moulthrop were notable exceptions. I severely constrained the nuclear design to minimize calculations, to use parts that could be rapidly fabricated, and to avoid or overpower failure modes. Nuclear design, engineering, and fabrication were completed in two months. (Today, years would be required.) Invaluable assistance was provided by my sole assistant, Ron Theissen, a technician on assignment from the Computation Department. Several other designers volunteered to assist. Day and night, Ron and I punched IBM cards as inputs for hundreds of one dimensional calculations. Although the device was an extreme design, enough computing time was available for only a few simple two dimensional calculations."

Five days behind the original schedule, the first 9,162 lb 56.2x123" Ripple on 11 July 1962, a B-52 dropped Ripple as the very last ever air-drop of Operation Dominic at Christmas Island in the Pacific, named shot Pamlico - it yielded 3.85 megatons with a 14,330 ft detonation altitude to avoid local fallout, and was watched by Nuckolls from the beach on Christmas island, where the first British thermonuclear weapons had been tested five years earlier (Seaborg's book Kennedy, Khrushchev and the Test Ban explains how the emerging scandal about the fallout contamination of Marshallese in 1950s tests made it difficult to resume testing in the Marshall Islands in 1962, so American testing moved to Christmas Island for Operation Dominic, 1962): "The giant mushroom cloud surged upward and stabilized at an altitude of 80,000 feet. The Soviet spy ship was steaming over the horizon. ... My colleagues were amazed at my beginner’s luck and counseled me “quit while you are ahead.” But, I resonated with the creative optimism of Lawrence and Teller. I had no fear of failure. Foster’s rule was if you don’t fail half the time, you aren’t trying hard enough. His dynamic spirit inspired Livermore. “You can excel! I want to run so fast anything the Soviets build will be obsolete. ... In August and September [1962], Ron and I worked day and night to design an even more radical nuclear device [Ripple II]. We further optimized the [primary stage x-ray] pulse shape [using fogbank interstage x-ray pulse shaping] to achieve practically isentropic fuel compression ["if the flow is very gradually compressed (area decreases) and then gradually expanded (area increases), the flow conditions return to their original values. We say that such a process is reversible. From a consideration of the second law of thermodynamics, a reversible flow maintains a constant value of entropy. Engineers call this type of flow an isentropic flow; a combination of the Greek word "iso" (same) and entropy"]. On October 1, this device was exploded in the “Androscoggin” nuclear test conducted in the Johnston Island area of the Pacific. A small percent of the calculated yield was generated. A fizzle!? Everyone believed I had “snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.”

ABOVE: John H. Nuckolls, inventor of the 99.9 percent clean 10 megaton Ripple II H-bomb, based on eliminating the compression of a heavy pusher, and instead using ablative recoil to isentropically compress the fuel itself to higher density than is possible when a heavy pusher is absorbing energy and being compressed itself. The Androscoggin test consisted of a Kinglet primary and Ripple II secondary, 6,647 lb, 128.5x56.2", with a 15–16 megatons predicted yield, but an actual yield of only 63 kilotons. Kennedy received a request on 12 October to retest Ripple II, while Ripple III was tested as Calamity on 27 October 1962, yielding only 800 kt instead of the predicted 3 megatons. Kennedy authorised the retesting of Nuckoll's Ripple II, which was done with modifications as the Housatonic shot on 30 October 1962, yielding 10 megatons from 7,139 lb, 147.9x56.2", without the use of a lead pusher, with a fusion yield of 99.9%, i.e. 99.9% clean (a vast improvement on the 98% fusion 1961 Russian 50 megatons test), according to the “Report by Commander Joint Task Force Eight,” 4 June 1964, pp. L-B-5-1–2, as cited by Grams. Grams makes it clear from declassified reports quoting Seaborg clearly stating that the 98% clean 50 megaton Russian test in 1961 and other clean Russian shots used a lead pusher, which was an entirely different process to the clean mechanism of Ripple II.

Dr Nuckolls explains that the origin of the successful clean 10 megaton Ripple II nuclear weapon design was actually the effort to develop peaceful fusion energy (which failed with lasers but worked with a very low yield fission primary stage providing x-rays!) in his paper "Contributions to the Genesis and Progress of ICF", pages 1-48 of the 2007 book, Inertial Confinement Nuclear Fusion: A historical Approch by its Pioneers (Edited by Guillermo Velarde and Natividad Santamarfa). Basically, the fusion burn rate is directly proportional to the fuel density, which in turn is of course inversely proportional to the cube of its radius. But the inertial confinement time for fusion to occur is proportional to the radius, so the fusion stage efficiency in a nuclear weapon is the product of the burn rate (i.e., 1/radius^3) and time (i.e., radius), so efficiency ~ radius/(radius^3) ~ 1/radius^2. Therefore, for a given fuel temperature, the total fusion burn, or the efficiency of the fusion stage, is inversely proportional to the square of the compressed radius of the fuel at the time! The radiation loss (cooling by inverse Compton effect) problems that Teller's classic superbombs suffered from can be virtually eliminated by lowering the x-ray energy (temperature) to below 1 KeV, because the radiation losses to the nuclear bomb case are of course proportional to the fourth-power of the radiating temperature:

"I was introduced to Teller's radiation implosion scheme in the summer of 1955 ... As a 24-year-old assistant to Harold Brown, the 26-year-old TN Design Division Leader, I studied nuclear explosives and weapons design code development and use. In 1957, Brown asked me to help evaluate the feasibility of producing commercial electric power by periodically exploding half-megaton yield H-bombs in a one-thousand foot diameter, steam-filled cavity excavated in a mountain. This large-scale ICF scheme was part of Teller's Plowshare program to develop peaceful uses of nuclear explosives. I realized that a few hundred electron volt radiation temperature might suffice to implode and initiate a very small-scale fusion secondary. Radiation losses into a hohlraum wall decrease with more than the fourth power of the radiation temperature. With low radiation temperatures, excessive wall losses can be avoided ... Implosion symmetry is enhanced because the radiant energy absorbed in a thin layer of the high Z walls of the hohlraum is efficiently re-radiated multiple times and has a velocity a thousand times larger than the implosion velocity of a fusion capsule. Energy radiates from hot areas to cooler areas, rapidly equalizing temperatures. Growth rates of fluid instabilities are reduced because kilovolt range thermal radiation from a few hundred eV temperature black body rapidly ablates the unstable interface in low atomic weight materials. ... Distortions and instabilities generated by energy concentration processes located in the driver are effectively decoupled from the spatially separate secondary implosion when the secondary is energized by black body radiation from the driver-heated hohlraum walls. Consequently, radiation coupled drivers and fusion capsules may both be operated near their stability limits to achieve maximum performance. Driving pressures of several hundred megabars and implosion velocities of hundreds of kilometers/second can be generated by ablation with several hundred eV radiation temperatures. At these temperatures, material sound speeds are several hundred kilometers/second, comparable to the implosion velocities required to isentropically compress DT to more than one thousand times liquid density. ... In 1961, my group leader, Peter Moulthrop; nuclear designer Ray Birkett; and I addressed the pusher fluid instability problem by separating the pusher from the ablator ... the fusion energy generated can be 10^4 times larger than the Fermi energy of the compressed DT! The gain can be further increased by igniting a relatively small fraction of the DT mass in a hot spot near the center of spherical convergence. Fusion yields can then be amplified by TN propagation from the hot spot into a much larger mass of DT. ...

"I developed an ablatively driven spherical rocket implosion to compress DT to high densities without use of a pusher. A sustained ablatively driven implosion is made possible by use of a sustained driver input and a suitable ablator. Optimum pulse shapes make possible very high isentropic compression of most of the DT while igniting a central hot spot. The temperature of the hot spot is amplified by adjusting the pulse shape so that a strong shock is generated near zero radius, and by using a hollow target design containing low-density DT gas. ... With near ideal pulse shapes, very high-gain, pusherless, near isentropic, low temperature radiation imploded fusion capsules that ignite propagating bum are feasible. ... Livermore's professional weapons designers regarded my tiny low-cost, high gain ICF target designs as science fiction. We joked about "Nuckolls' Nickel Novels" (referring to my prolific series of classified memos). Without nuclear tests, these radical target designs could not be taken seriously. Fortunately, my efforts were strongly supported by Carl Haussmann, who succeeded Brown as TN Division Leader, and by Foster, who succeeded Brown as Livermore director in early 1960. (Brown was selected by President Kennedy to lead Department of Defense (DOD) Research and Engineering.) ... Livermore was focusing all possible efforts on responding to high yield Soviet atmospheric nuclear tests (including a 57-megaton explosion). ... In April 1962, the U. S. responded to the Soviet tests by launching an intensive nuclear test series. Livermore's advanced warheads achieved a major success in an "Admiral's test" of the Polaris submarine launched ballistic missile. This Polaris weapons system addressed the first strike instability, by creating a secure second strike nuclear force. ...

"In April 1962, a few months before the scheduled end of the atmospheric test series, I proposed a nuclear test of a radical high-yield TN design so fantastic that my colleagues thought it was an April Fool's-day joke. In this radical design, a high-performance TN secondary was imploded with a highly optimized pulse. Foster dispatched me to Washington to support approval of a nuclear test of my scheme. I was accompanied by Roland Herbst, a theoretical physicist and experienced weapons designer. I briefed AEC Chairman Glenn Seaborg, and my former boss, DOD's R and D leader Harold Brown. President Kennedy approved the nuclear test the last experiment in the test series."

Dr Nuckolls' scientific and political viewpoint was disastrous when he eagerly used his position as Director of LLNL (at the end of the Cold War, when the research budget was drying up!) to try to start a speculative pie-in-the-sky peaceful nuclear fusion energy program (leading to a major argument with U.S. Secretary of Energy Watkins in May 1992 when Watkins visited LLNL and demanded nuclear deterrence against proliferation and nuclear terrorism, not peaceful fusion energy!), but Nuckolls' views on deterrence were always sound and he warned clearly against nuclear disarmament scams for "peace":

"The author [John H. Nuckolls] concludes by warning that nuclear disarmament may eliminate the highly successful deterrent mechanism for avoiding another major world war. In a world made safe for major conventional wars by the apparent "elimination" of nuclear weapons, the leaders in a conventional World War III - involving unimaginable suffering, hatred, terror, and death - would be strongly motivated to introduce nuclear weapons in the crucial decisive battles. Even if diplomacy could "eliminate" nuclear weapons, man's knowledge of nuclear weapons can never be eliminated. The paradox is the attempt to eliminate nuclear weapons may maximize the probability of their use." - John H. Nuckolls, "Strategic defense initiative: critical issues", UCRL-92803, Conference: 4. international conference on nuclear war, Erice, Sicily, Italy, 19 Aug 1984,

Nuckolls and Lowell Wood (another LLNL physicist, best known for his secretive work on EMP effects from nuclear explosions and for chairing a controversial EMP commission, which produces reports with the vital technical data we need removed due to secrecy concerns) also wrote an interesting article called "The Development of Nuclear Explosives" (published in the 1988 book Energy in Physics, War and Peace, edited by Wood) stating on page 312: "The development of high-yield weapons was motivated strongly by rising concern in the U.S. Government regarding the potentially unstopable character of Soviet land forces, as the nature of the war machine that had broken Nazi power in the 1943-45 period became clearer in post-war analyses. The basic Soviet doctrine of massing forces and breaking through the enemy front, even at very high costs in men and material, came to be seen as very difficult to counter. However, since it involved concentrating a division into a few square kilometers for its effectiveness, 0.1-1 megaton nuclear explosives used as area (blast + thermal) weapons came to be seen as an effective and affordable response by the defense: a single high-yield weapon costing under a million dollars could neutralize an armored division costing several orders of magnitude more."

Ripple warhead designer Nuckolls with Lowell Wood and others had in 1972 published a paper about the new physics involved, in Nature vol. 239, pp. 139–142, see the illustration below. In simple terms, what Nuckolls does to the Teller-Ulam thermonuclear secondary stage is analogous to what happened in the evolution of primary fission stages: get rid of the thick, dense tamper/pusher surrounding the fuel, to allow the available implosion energy pulse to compress the fuel, and to do at the correct rate to get "isentropic compression", i.e. keeping the shock energy in mechanical work (without the conversion of implosion shock energy into heat energy, which reduces the component of the energy being used for compression). The rate of delivery of X-rays can be controlled by low density plastic foams used as baffles and for delayed re-radiation of soft x-rays. To design the shape in detail, an iterative scheme is used, where a range of basic guesswork possibilities are all simulated in detail on a computer, and the best results are then picked out and used as the basic templates for another range of designs, but honing-in on the most promising shapes, thicknesses, etc. This process is repeated many times to optimise a final design, before a nuclear test is done to check that it actually works as intended.

The controlled higher compression factor you get without having to also compress an inert, thick dense pusher (you just use a relatively thin, say 1-cm thick beryllium ablator surface shell) allows efficient, isentropic compression, of a hollow lithium deuteride sphere with D + T gas in the centre to act as an initiator, providing neutrons to kickstart the fission of lithium in the lithium deuteride fuel, replacing the Teller-Ulam fissile sparkplug; something only possible due to the much greater compression in Nuckolls design than in the older Teller-Ulam system.

If you think this is questionable and don't want to believe in a 99.9% clean H-bomb, note that Nature published this paper suggesting that a laser system could be used, in place of the x-ray pulse from a 10 kiloton fission primary stage that Nuckolls used in all of his 1962 tests, and which is way more powerful than laser pulses! There is also an article, "Energy Balance in Fusion Hohlraums", in the unclassified Los Alamos Nuclear Weapons Journal, issue 2, 2009, pages 6-11, which contains two diagrams side-by-side, comparing the use of laser beams and x-rays, such as from nuclear fission primary stages, for focussed x-ray compression of fusion capsules, including a detailed description of the fogbank x-ray mirror lining needed to focus soft, 0.2 keV, x-rays isotropically on to the fuel capsule, and including x-ray shadowgraphs of implosions showing the shockwaves with and without fogbanks/x-ray mirrors which are composed of "20-mg/cm^3 silica aerogel" - the same issue has a helpful article about the use of fogbank interstage material in W76 warheads:

"... Fogbank is an essential material in the W76 warhead. During the mid-1990s, Fogbank production ceased ... As time passed, the precise techniques used to manufacture Fogbank were forgotten. ... Los Alamos computer simulations at that time were not sophisticated enough to determine conclusively that an alternate material would function as effectively as Fogbank. ... Despite efforts to ensure the new facility was equivalent to the original one, the resultant equipment and processing methods failed to produce equivalent Fogbank. ... in some cases the current impurity levels were much lower than historical values. Typically, lower impurity levels lead to better product quality. For Fogbank, however, the presence of a specific impurity is essential. ... . Scientists found that modern cleaning processes, used in the manufacture of the feed material, clean it better than the historical processes; the improved cleaning removes an essential chemical. ... The historical Fogbank production process was unknowingly based on this essential chemical being present in the feed material. As a result, only a maximum concentration was established for the chemical and the resulting impurity. Now the chemical is added separately, and the impurity concentration and Fogbank morphology are managed. ... Just as modern scientists unraveled the secrets behind the production of the Japanese katana [samurai sword], materials scientists managed to remanufacture Fogbank so that modern methods can be used to control its required characteristics. As a result, Fogbank will continue to play its critical role in the refurbished W76 warhead."

ABOVE: the transmission of soft x-rays inside nuclear weapon through the absorbing K-shell electron barrier of aluminium plasma generated by the ablation of an aluminium fusion capsule pusher (aluminium in this example is a plasma at a density of 14 grams/litre and at a temperature of 500,000 K), Figure 6 in the officially (Atomic Weapons Establishment, Aldermaston) approved UK Goverment paper, "Science of nuclear warheads" by Keith O’Nions, Robin Pitman and Clive Marsh, Nature, v415, 21 Feb 2002, pp. 853-857: "Little has been published about nuclear warhead science. Here we set out elements of the programme that will underpin future assessments of the safety and performance of Britain’s warheads in compliance with treaty obligations. ... The approach builds upon previous nuclear test experience and seeks to replace the requirements for further empirical test data by developing a deeper theoretical and experimental understanding of the relevant fundamental science. This must then be drawn together and applied to the nuclear warhead system using intensive numerical modelling. ... Lasers and pulsed power machines are able to achieve relevant densities and temperatures and also produce the only source of data on X-radiation flows. ... In the very hot matter of a nuclear warhead, thermal radiation is particularly important. The crucial parameter is the radiative opacity, which quantifies how thermal radiation interacts with matter by absorption, emission and scattering. It is sensitive to the composition, temperature and density of the material and expresses the degree to which a material impedes radiation flow. ... [Figure 6] The subject material is heated indirectly using a foil radiator or hohlraum, and allowed to expand against a plastic tamper. ... Figure 6 describes the techniques used and shows a comparison of an aluminium opacity experiment with the corresponding calculations. ... As well as opacity and radiation flow, laser experiments can be designed to test theoretical models of complex radiation/hydrodynamic phenomena (Fig. 7). ... [Figure 7] Here a laser is used to heat a ... hohlraum, which in turn heats a piece of aluminium (shown in blue). The resulting jet of aluminium penetrates a piece of polystyrene, which is radiographed by an X-ray backlighter also driven by the laser. The results from two numerical codes are shown together with the X-ray record from the experiment. Both codes reproduce the main features of the flow but show different development of the jet tip. Analysis of the detail will indicate where the theory and algorithms must be improved."

Our point in emphasising the 99.9% clean (fusion) 10 megaton Ripple II bomb, air dropped successfully in 1962, is to demonstrate that the technology and science does exist to make even large nuclear weapons a credible deterrent without any fallout collateral damage. Although the neutron effects from 10 megaton bombs in sea level air are usually severely curtailed by neutron scattering in nitrogen, this can be prevented by using two such devices burst 5-20 seconds apart in time, so that the neutron burst from the second device undergoes hydrodynamic enhancement in the large hemisphere of low-density air behind the shock front created by the first burst, tailored to cover the desired area (the precise time between the two detonations is the control determining the radius of efficient hydrodynamic enhancement of the neutrons from the second detonation). So there are excellent prospects for making the neutron bomb credible as a deterrent against invasions, air burst near borders at an altitude that prevents fallout and blast/thermal collateral damage but deters military field equipment and personnel from invasions.

UPDATE (30 April 2022):

"Putin 'could declare war on the world's Nazis' on Victory Day (9 May 2022): UK predicts Russia will use parade on 9 May to announce mass mobilisation of reserves for final push in Ukraine to defeat West's support for Kyiv ... Britain's Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has predicted that Putin may instead use the parade to declare war on the world's 'Nazis' and mobilise his reserves ... Earlier this week, Putin vowed to use nuclear weapons against any country that dares to 'interfere' with Russia's war in Ukraine."

A couple of points about this prediction: (1) Russia has at least 2 million reserves, which would boost the total Russian armed forces to 3 million (the 1 million normal Russian military includes a 1 year conscription of personnel aged 18–27); (2) this would be a major step up what Herman Kahn called the "escalation ladder". To give some kind of context to the threat a Russian military of 3,000,000 presents us with, please remember that as we stated earlier in this post (above): "When on 8 December 1991, the presidents of Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine dissolved the USSR, the Soviet military was 3.7 million strong. "From 1945 to 1948, the Soviet Armed Forces were reduced from about 11.3 million to about 2.8 million men", while the Soviet Union actually increased in size, as puppet governments were installed across half of Europe, despite the American nuclear weapons monopoly until 1949."

ABOVE: Russian state TV Channel One's 60 Minutes show reportedly broadcast the missile trajectories Russia could use and the delivery times to hit London, Paris and Berlin (202, 200 and 106 seconds, for nuclear missiles fired from Kaliningrad). This is because Russia has been left with the world's largest nuclear stockpile of countervalue (city destroying) low-accuracy missiles but high-yield warheads. Such weapons can also be used for high altitude large area EMP strikes, where missile accuracy is again largely irrelevant as it is for large city targets. Until the crater exaggerations farce was exposed firmly around 1988, we had - on paper but not in reality - strategic and tactical counterforce superiority due to the fact that our missiles were so much more accurate than Russian ones, we could hit their missile in their silos (provided we attacked first, before the Russian missiles were launched), and we also had tactical nuclear weapons to deter invasions, which was a credible deterrent to Russian aggression. After 1988, however, the Glasstone and Dolan cratering scam was exposed for what it was, debunking our strategic counterforce deterrent (which was never much good against enemy subs hidden at sea anyway), and then the anti-nuclear "peacemakers" persuaded politicians to disarm our tactical counterforce nuclear weapons, leaving us without a credible deterrent to stop invasions. In the 1962 Cuban missiles crisis, Kennedy had clear nuclear superiority and was able to use that in his TV speech on 22 October 1962 to persuade Khrushchev to back down (he said that a single nuclear missile launched from Cuba, even by accident, against a Western target, would be met by a "full" retalitory nuclear response), but today Kennedy's gunboat diplomacy option has a much higher risk because we have surrendered in the nuclear arms race and Russia is way ahead. And it's nut just Mr Putin. China and North Korea have tested thermonuclear weapons and North Korea's Leader Kim Jong Un recently stated in Pyongyang that it would use nuclear deterrence against "escalating nuclear threats from hostile forces". In other words, the dictatorships are now using nuclear deterrence against us to prevent our interventions for peace, just as Hitler did when he built the Luftwaffe: "Margarita Simonyan, editor of state broadcaster RT and one of the Kremlin's highest-profile mouthpieces, declared on TV last night that the idea of Putin pressing the red button is 'more probable' than the idea that he will allow Russia to lose the war. 'Either we lose in Ukraine,' she said, 'or the Third World War starts. I think World War Three is more realistic, knowing us, knowing our leader'." -

"Alexander's career was piracy pure and simple, nothing but an orgy of power and plunder, made romantic by the character of the hero. There was no rational purpose in it, and the moment he died his generals and governors attacked one another. The cruelty of those times is incredible. When Rome finally conquered Greece, Paulus Aemilius was told by the Roman Senate to reward his soldiers for their toil by "giving" them the old kingdom of Epirus. They sacked 70 cities and carried off 150,000 inhabitants as slaves. How many they killed I know not; but in Etolia they killed all the senators, 550 in number. Brutus was "the noblest Roman of them all," but to reanimate his soldiers on the eve of Philippi he similarly promises to give them the cities of Sparta and Thessalonica to ravage, if they win the fight. ... the intensely sharp preparation for war by the nations is the real war, permanent, unceasing ... the battles are only a sort of public verification of the mastery gained during the "peace"-interval. ... Nations, General Lea says, are never stationary - they must necessarily expand or shrink, according to their vitality or decrepitude. Japan now is culminating; and by the fatal law in question it is impossible that her statesmen should not long since have entered, with extraordinary foresight, upon a vast policy of conquest - the game in which the first moves were her wars with China and Russia and her treaty with England, and of which the final objective is the capture of the Philippines, the Hawaiian Islands, Alaska, and whole of our Coast west of the Sierra passes. This will give Japan what her ineluctable vocation as a state absolutely forces her to claim, the possession of the entire Pacific Ocean; and to oppose these deep designs we Americans have, according to our author, nothing but our conceit, our ignorance, our commercialism, our corruption, and our feminism. General Lea makes a minute technical comparison of the military strength which we at present could oppose to the strength of Japan, and concludes that the Islands, Alaska, Oregon and Southern California, would fall almost without resistance, that San Francisco must surrender in a fortnight to a Japanese investment, that in three or four months the war would be over and our republic, unable to regain what it had heedlessly neglected to protect sufficiently, would then "disintegrate," until perhaps some Ceasar should arise to weld us again into a nation." - William James, The Moral Equivalent of War, speech delivered at Stanford University in 1906.

UPDATE: "Russia's chief propagandist threatens to 'plunge Britain into the depths of the sea' with underwater Poseidon nuke that would trigger a 1,600ft radioactive tidal wave and wipe the UK off the map. Dmitry Kiselyov, known as 'Putin's mouthpiece', threatened the UK with Poseidon underwater nuclear bomb. By CHRIS PLEASANCE and WILL STEWART FOR MAILONLINE. PUBLISHED: 08:36, 2 May 2022 | UPDATED: 13:21, 2 May 2022. Dmitry Kiselyov, a man often known as 'Putin's mouthpiece', used his Sunday night show to call for attacks on Britain with a Poseidon underwater drone that he said would trigger a 1,600ft radioactive tidal wave and 'plunge Britain to the depths of the ocean.' The drone 'has capacity for a warhead of up to 100 megatons', Kiselyov claimed - several thousand times the strength of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima - which would 'raise a giant wave, a tsunami, up to 1,640ft high' - enough to reach halfway up Scafell Pike, the tallest point in England. Speaking against a background graphic showing the UK being erased from the world map, Kiselyov added: 'This tidal wave is also a carrier of extremely high doses of radiation. Surging over Britain, it will turn whatever is left of them into radioactive desert, unusable for anything. How do you like this prospect?'"

This exaggeration of nuclear effects is debunked by the table of nuclear test water waves data declassified in Dolan's Capabilities of Nuclear Weapons, DNA-EM-1, Table 2-9, Measured Water Wave Data from Nuclear Tests (linked here): the biggest water waves are generated by the deepest scaled depth of burst, e.g. the 32 kiloton Wigwam test in the Pacific detonated at 2,000 feet depth in 15,000 ft of water, which gave a peak water wave height of 118 feet at 2,000 feet range (the wave height scales up in proportion to the square-root of bomb energy yield, and decreases inversely with increasing distance from surface zero). This height will increase by a factor of 56 when you increase yield from 32 kilotons to 100 megatons, so the wave height is 6,600 feet at 2,000 feet from surface zero. The problem now is that (1) Scafell Pike is 15 miles or 80 kft from the Irish Sea (the Ravenglass Estuary, appropriately the most alpha particle and 59 keV low energy gamma active place in Britain, due to Am-241 in the mud from Sellafield, amounting to nanocuries per gram of dried mud), a range which would reduce the wave height to just 6,600*(2/80) = 165 feet, and (2) the Irish Sea is only 1,000 feet deep at most! If detonated just off Ravenglass Estuary, you wouldn't get any tidal wave because there would not be the depth of water required; if you detonated it as the deepest part of the Irish Sea, which is 1,000 feet deep, the horizontal target range would increase, reducing the wave height at Scafell Pike to below the 165 feet we just found, and you'd get a further reduction because the scaled depth of burst for 100 megatons in 1,000 ft of water would make it a shallower burst, reducing the fraction of the yield that is coupled into the water as water waves! This is before calculating the attenuation and breaking of a water wave when it runs far inland and up a mountainside!

There is now detailed published data on the Russian underwater nuclear tests: see Vice Admiral E. A. Shitikov's paper, Testing ships at the Novaya Zemlya test site (see illustrations of the ship set ups for the 1955 and 1957 underwater tests, below): "On Novaya Zemlya, three large-scale full-scale experiments were carried out to study the effect of the damaging factors of an atomic explosion on ships. ... First experience, September 21, 1955 ... to test the atomic charge for a 533 mm torpedo, to assess the impact of an underwater nuclear explosion on ships, and to obtain experimental data to develop the theory of an underwater nuclear explosion ... in Chernaya Bay at the Novaya Zemlya test site, September 21, 1955, power 3.5 Kt, depth 12 m. In the center of the battlefield was a small minesweeper T-393 project 253l, from which a torpedo with a charge was lowered on a cable to a depth of 12 meters. This operation was led by Lieutenant Commander E.L. Peshkur. Target ships were installed at six radii from 300 to 3000 meters. Surface ships stood side and bow to the center of the explosion, submarines - in the surface and underwater position at periscope depth. ... S-19 - due to the fact that the cork on the torpedo tube was knocked out (in accordance with the test program, the front cover was open) , about 15 tons of water entered the first compartment (the damage was repaired by personnel in two days). ... the sinking radii amounted to 300-400 meters, significant damage to light surface ships occurred from a shock wave at a distance of 500-600 meters. Damage to the superstructures of light surface ships from an air shock wave - at a distance of 700-800 meters. Insignificant damage - at a distance of 1200-1300 meters. ... Immediately after testing B.V. Zamyshlyaev promptly carried out a study in which, in particular, he showed that when the same charge is buried by 70 meters, instead of 12 in the experiment, the effect increases by about one and a half times (in deep water)." There is a lot more to follow, but it is probably best organised into a book rather than blogged about...

ABOVE (update on 13 May 2022): 100% clean H-bomb design (cartoon style sketch, not design blueprint). The basic ideas are illustrated in a previous blog post from 2016, linked here, which describes also the use of von Neumann-Fuchs invention (28 May 1946 patent "Method and apparatus for releasing nuclear energy"of a beryllium oxide ablator as the compressive mechanism in the wall of a fusion capsule. It's clear that the use of plastic and various ablative fusion stage capsule walls underwent a lot of evolution even in the 1950s. That 2016 blog post also gives the references to Teller's idea of magnetic compression of the secondary stage in nuclear weapons, and John S. Foster's work on magnetic flux compression conventional systems to try to power that (however, as we explain, a small nuclear primary stage might be the only way to get it to go!). Another application of such technology is Project orion, a nuclear impulsive drive that is actually practical, tested technology for space exploration which Joseph Friedlander has summarised from blog posts here on The Next Big Future (note that the accidental declassification of the secrets of plastic foam filling the radiation channel of the Mk41 Basoon nuclear device - contrary to its use as a radiation mirror to delay outer case metal ablation in earlier "sausage" devices tested at operations Ivy and Castle, and the Swift, Swallow and Swan primary stage tests in secret UCRL 4725, dated June 1956, originated from the incorrect implementation of a decision to declassify only a 6-pages section in UCRL-4725 about nuclear explosives for propulsion of nuclear rockets for space exploration!).

ABOVE: Zeldovich and Sakharov's January 14, 1954 report, On the use of the product for the purpose of compressing the superproduct RDS-6s which suggested using x-rays reflected by a suitably shaped radiation case on to a spherical fusion secondary stage (a simplified Teller "Alarm Clock", with fissile material in the centre to release neutrons when compressed, lithium deuteride around it which would be hit by neutrons from the fissile material when compressed to fission lithium to yield tritium, an outer shell of uranium-238 as a "pusher" and final fission stage since the 14 MeV neutrons from D+T fusion can fission U-238 efficiently). However, Yuri Trutnev improved this design by placing light material such as beryllium oxide (used as the D+T compressor in the Fuchs-von Neumann superbomb patent) or indeed any light elements (such as the carbon and oxygen in plastics), around the the lithium deuteride. Photo shows President Putin meeting the designer of later successful Russian devices, Yuri Trutnev (then 90), on 15 November 2017. Trutnev says that the 22 November 1955 successful Russian 1.6 megaton thermonuclear test went to Zeldovich's head and he later had a run of three failed bomb designs in a row, before Trutnev was permitted to test his own new design ion 23 February 1958 in the arctic, with great success (860 kilotons air burst at 3 km altitude); the Russians at this time started testing cylindrical secondary stages in an effort to make warheads more compact for ICBMs and SLBMs. Photos of the first AWRE British single warhead for a Polaris SLBM show it to have a tapering secondary stage (an innovation first revealed by Howard Morland in 1979, see illustration below, which also highlights the problem that Los Alamos expert Vernon Kendrick told Morland at Los Alamos in November 1978 that modern warheads "don't use spark plugs [which Kendrick pointed out to be spheres of plutonium throughout the secondary, a 1960s development] anymore" because the fissile oralloy pusher does the job of releasing neutrons to fission lithium into tritium, formerly done by spark plugs, but Morland still included a 1950's style cylindrical spark plug in his diagram of a modern 300 kt MIRV warhead and failed to show the tapering of the outercase in line with the tapering of the secondary), whereas photos of otherwise very similar Russian SLBM warheads first deployed in 1978 show no tapering of the secondary stage cylinder. Russia adopted cylindrical secondary stages in place of spherical secondaries, to reduce the diameter of thermonuclear warhead to fit missiles because it was using x-ray mirroring by the outer casing which makes the weapon bulkier than the American designs; whereas America after 1956 filled the radiation channel with a baffle of low density plastic foam instead of using case mirroring, and so went in exactly the opposite direction to the Russians (America went from cylindrical to spherical secondaries for smaller thermonuclear warheads, whereas Russia did the reverse because it was still using the outer casing as an x-ray mirror and needed more space for the mirroring geometry). Putin is seen presenting Trutnev with the Order of Merit to the Fatherland, First Class.

Update (16 May 2022): By GREGG HERKEN, AVNER COHEN and GEORGE M. MOORE, 05/16/2022 12:00 PM EDT. "Scenario 1: Remote atmospheric test. Least provocative would be Putin’s resumption of above-ground nuclear testing — by detonating a low-yield nuclear warhead high ... Scenario 2: Atmospheric detonation above Ukraine. A more provocative demonstration would be an ultra-high-altitude explosion of a more powerful weapon over Ukraine itself. In a 1962 test, the U.S. detonated a 1.4-megaton H-bomb in the mid-Pacific, 250 miles above the Earth. The resulting electromagnetic pulse unexpectedly knocked out streetlights and disrupted telephone service in Hawaii... Scenario 3: Ground explosion in Ukraine. Most dangerous — and, for that reason, perhaps least likely — would be using a tactical nuclear weapon to achieve a concrete military objective such as disrupting the delivery of weapons to Ukrainians... In May 1945, weeks before the successful test of the first atomic bomb in New Mexico, former President Harry Truman’s advisers considered, briefly, the option of a harmless but spectacular demonstration of the revolutionary new weapon as an alternative to its military use, in hopes of compelling Japan to surrender. For practical reasons — there were too few bombs in the U.S. nuclear arsenal, and some feared a dud — the demonstration option was never presented to Truman. But the warning shot idea would surface again and be taken more seriously. During the 1961 Berlin crisis, former President John Kennedy was presented with the option of firing a nuclear-tipped missile at Novaya Zemlya to show American resolve. Israel has also considered a nuclear demonstration; prior to the Six-Day War, in May 1967, Shimon Peres proposed detonating a nuclear device over the Sinai desert to head off the conflict. Six years later, the Israelis again briefly entertained the notion of a high-altitude nuclear warning shot to force an end to 1973’s Yom Kippur War. In 1981, with the Cold War again heating up, Secretary of State Alexander Haig — a former NATO supreme allied commander — let slip that “there are contingency plans in the NATO doctrine to fire a nuclear weapon for demonstrative purposes...” regardless of what Putin decides, engaging Russian forces in direct combat should only be a last resort."

UPDATE (24 May 2022) on yield of Bravo nuclear test: it was mentioned (above) that nuclear effects researcher Dr Gregory Spriggs of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, who has been scanning by computer and re-analyzing old films of nuclear test fireballs, went on TV last year (during a documentary about the Bravo test) to argue that due to water entrainment by the fireball affecting the fireball expansion rate, its total yield may have been 22 megatons, not 15 megatons as extrapolated from fireballs over land in Nevada. There are some LLNL reports now available, giving some of the basic data on fireball expansion rates and blast arrival times, that backs up what he said (though for other Pacific tests like Zuni and Dakota, not Bravo - note that I would love to see all the fireball films of Bravo in high definition taken from surface level, rather than aircraft above the clouds, since the rather grainy declassified ones so far available show that normal clouds obscured most of the fireball and its thermal pulse at the surface and that you can also see a secondary fireball running down the diagnostic x-ray vacuum pipes!). I'm particularly interested in this because I did an analysis of the G. I. Taylor fireball expansion formula (on vixra) giving analytical - rather than taylor's shoddy numerical integration ("cheating" according to maths professor!) proof of the correct formula (Taylor didn't even get his numerical integration right, making errors in his derivation; so much for the wonders of his so-called brilliant mathematicial brain!). The new LLNL papers are by Kelly M. Cook, Shockwave Arrival Times from Operation Redwing and Operation Upshot-Knothole, LLNL-TR-814172, which in table 1 shows that Redwing-Zuni whose fireball was partly over an island in the south of Bikini Atoll but also extended over the sorrounding lagoon water to the north and ocan to the south, had an entrainment coefficient of 1.075. The value is 1 for no entrainment like the Nevada Climax air burst, and the yield is proportional to the cube of the coefficient, i.e. 1.075^3 = 1.242, so megaton range tests over ocean would have a fireball yield at least 24% higher (or more than 24% if the area covered by highest overpressures had a larger ratio of water area to land area). Secondly, a paper by Adele Myers, Water Entrainment in Nuclear Detonations, LLNL-TR-758735 (extracts below) shows how a funnel of water enters the surface burst fireball in a comparable way to the funnel of water thrown up by the Baker underwater test as also shown below, thus cooling the top portion of the fireball (which as Stanbury pointed out in his paper cited above is the only part that most city windows can see; relevant to coastal cities or cities around large river estuaries). She also gives graphs of relevant data and notes that this effect has a 100 kiloton yield threshold. Very interesting!

ABOVE: Hurricane 25 kt nuclear test at 2.7 m depth inside ship moored in water just 12.2 m deep at Monte Bello had severe fireball cooling by water funnel; its thermal flash yield was only about 1.4%. Fires were started by bits of the ship in very dry vegetation on nearby island, NOT by thermal flash! Also, despite lying from prime Minister Churchill about this test causing a large "tidal" wave, it didn't as the water was too shallow and there was no water innundation to the WWII Anderson shelters on the beach of the island nearest the test! (Churchill was the only person to have been in the Cabinet of the country declaring every single World War in human history, and yet he still failed to ensure the enemy was deterred, despite publically arguing for overwhelming superiorty ahead of each war and also being supposedly a supreme orator and public relations genius according to the similarly deluded mass media and politically correct "historians"). It would be great if this data from a 25 kt near surface nuclear test were used to improve models of water entrainment in fireballs. It seems that the "100 kt limit" for water entrainment is misleading because all it signifies is that at yields below 100 kt you don't find a "water line" in fireball photos since the water/soil is ejected into the fireball so quickly that it cools down the entire fireball (not just the top section where the funnel sprays out horizontally) as seen in the Hurricane test. Similar cooling in surface bursts, caused by crater ejecta entering the fireball very quickly, accounts for the fact that thermal yields in surface bursts are lower than in air bursts. Just in case you are wondering if Russia is aware that clouds etc attenuate thermal radiation, they are; see photos below of the shielding of their first thermonuclear weapon test fireballs by clouds: