Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Nuclear weapons: Predicting the unthinkable

Date:
November 22, 2009
Source:
American Institute of Physics
Summary:
If a nuclear weapon were detonated in a metropolitan area, how large would the affected area be? Where should first responders first go?

If a nuclear weapon were detonated in a metropolitan area, how large would the affected area be? Where should first responders first go? According to physicist Fernando Grinstein, we have some initial understanding to address these questions, but fundamental issues remain unresolved.

Related Articles


"The predictive capabilities of today's state-of-the-art models in urban areas need to be improved, validated and tested," says Grinstein. "Work in this area has been limited primarily because of lack of consistent funding."

At the upcoming 62nd Annual Meeting of the American Physical Society's (APS) Division of Fluid Dynamics in Minneapolis, Adam Wachtor -- a student who worked with Grinstein at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico -- will present his efforts to improve the way that models track the movement of radioactive fall-out carried by the wind. His wind models track the aftermath of a plume of hot gas released by a small, one-ton device in a typical urban setting at a three-meter resolution.

Current models use wind direction and wind speed to draw a predicted cone-shape area of fall-out. Wachtor's results show that these models are too simple in some ways. For instance, they do not include the complex dynamics of wind movements around buildings, which can concentrate fall-out preferentially in certain areas. They also indicate that small changes in the location of the blast and the temperature of the plume released can have a large effect on the contamination patterns.

The simulation is part of a larger coordinated effort between DHS (FEMA), the National Laboratories, DTRA, NRL, and private contractors, each of which has concentrated on a different piece of the project. Other studies have shown that, depending on the situation, buildings can provide some degree of shielding from the radiation.

The hope of the researchers collaborating in this effort is to eventually provide practical information to guide first responders. "We're preparing for [a possible] crisis," says Grinstein -- however unthinkable it may be.

The presentation "Effects of release characteristics on urban contaminant dispersal" by Adam Wachtor of the University of California, Irvine is on November 22, 2009.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Institute of Physics. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Institute of Physics. "Nuclear weapons: Predicting the unthinkable." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 November 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091122095409.htm>.
American Institute of Physics. (2009, November 22). Nuclear weapons: Predicting the unthinkable. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091122095409.htm
American Institute of Physics. "Nuclear weapons: Predicting the unthinkable." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091122095409.htm (accessed November 25, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Who Will Failed Nuclear Talks Hurt Most?

Who Will Failed Nuclear Talks Hurt Most?

Reuters - Business Video Online (Nov. 25, 2014) With no immediate prospect of sanctions relief for Iran, and no solid progress in negotiations with the West over the country's nuclear programme, Ciara Lee asks why talks have still not produced results and what a resolution would mean for both parties. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Flying Enthusiast Converts Real-Life Aircraft Cockpit Into Simulator

Flying Enthusiast Converts Real-Life Aircraft Cockpit Into Simulator

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 25, 2014) A virtual flying enthusiast converts parts of a written-off Airbus aircraft into a working flight simulator in his northern Slovenian home. Jim Drury reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Car Park Solution for Flexible Green Energy

Car Park Solution for Flexible Green Energy

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 24, 2014) A British solar power start-up says that by covering millions of existing car park spaces around the UK with flexible solar panels, the country's power problems could be solved. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Microsoft Adds Robot Guards, Ushers In Sci-Fi Apocalypse

Microsoft Adds Robot Guards, Ushers In Sci-Fi Apocalypse

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) Microsoft has robotic security guards working at its Silicon Valley Campus. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins