Thursday, February 11, 2010
The article “The Windscale disaster” by Gerry Matlack talks about during the Cold War, how the UK was inventing a new radiation grenade. The grenade would be given a lot of gamma rays to get it to emit all of its gamma radiation in one quick burst or an explosion. A teaspoon of the Uranium would cause an explosion the size of 100 tons of TNT. The explosion would also have a half-life of 20.35 years. Meaning that the radiation from the grenade would be radiating through that area for 20.35 years. Gamma radiation is what is used to kill off cancer cells and would cause major radiation poisoning in the people in the blast area. The reason the UK was inventing this was because they weren’t allowed, by army law after WWII, to make anything that had to do with nuclear and that kind of thing because they didn’t want to get involved in the Cold War even though they had won the war, there army had been decimated. When the Americans heard about this they put thousands of dollars into this project to try to catch up with the British. If both countries were able to build this grenade then they would have a greater chance of defeating the Russians.