In the absence of armor, ordinary nuclear weapons containing kilograms of weapons-grade plutonium or uranium 238 (6 percent plutonium-240) can be detected by neutron or gamma counters at a distance of tens of meters. To find a nuclear weapon, radiation detectors are commonly used to measure radiation emissions. However, these detectors are rarely able to measure far enough, close enough and unshielded in the way. This is especially true in urban environments. Let's consider a scenario in which a nuclear weapon is in a vehicle driving on a street.
Scanning vehicles with detectors placed next to roads or in overpasses only provides a couple of seconds of measurement per vehicle and the load surrounding the weapon, as well as the vehicle itself, provides some protection. Researchers are devising new sensors, fabricating artificial consequences to perfect analytical techniques, and studying how the glass formed in the furnace of an atomic explosion would vary depending on the nature of the bomb and the city where it detonated. KEMP explored the promises and limits of detecting concealed nuclear weapons programs in a recent article in the Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences. He studied nuclear engineering at Oregon State University, where he studied the dosimetry of nuclear and radiological exposure events and processes. There are many different ways to detect a nuclear detonation, including seismic, hydroacoustic and infrasound detection, air sampling, and satellites.
These monitors were originally designed to detect radionuclides that were released after the detonation of a nuclear weapon. But what if there were ways to detect a nuclear weapons program early on, long before it succeeded in causing an explosion? That is the goal of researchers working in remote sensing techniques, such as satellite instruments to detect uranium mining or chemical detectors to detect by-products of uranium processing. Robert Oppenheimer suggested to Congress a reliable means of detecting nuclear weapons inside a suitcase destined to be detonated in an American city. The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) is a legally binding global ban on the testing of nuclear explosives. It was established to help prevent further proliferation of nuclear weapons and ensure that no new ones are developed. The treaty was signed by over 180 countries and ratified by over 140 countries. In conclusion, there are many ways to detect a nuclear bomb or weapons program.
Radiation detectors can be used to measure radiation emissions from a bomb at a distance of tens of meters. Remote sensing techniques such as satellite instruments can be used to detect uranium mining or chemical detectors can be used to detect by-products of uranium processing. The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) is also an important tool for preventing further proliferation of nuclear weapons.