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Subject: Question: Neutron Bombs and Nuclear Reactors
Strangelove    6/23/2004 3:15:52 AM
Would a neutron bomb, if detonated near a reactor, cause a runaway nuclear reation in the reactor b/c of the sudden influx of neutrons?
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slowball    RE:Question: Neutron Bombs and Nuclear Reactors   6/23/2004 4:18:17 AM
No. The reactor core is shielded. If the blast is sufficient to destroy the shielding, then the reactor would likely runaway on its own.
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Warhammer    RE:Question: Neutron Bombs and Nuclear Reactors   6/23/2004 3:53:01 PM
You would have more to worry about than your reactor running out of control. A neutron bomb was just detonated, and all life within Line of Sight for miles around is dead and dying. If the reactor explodes, it is only destroying the area that the enemy probably wanted to keep, hence the neutron bomb. If the reactor just melts down into the mantle, that is a problem, but then it is a quiet neighborhood now anyway. The neutron bomb would probably have to be targeted at the ractor for anything to happen(or a lucky shot I guess). If it was targeted in the first place, might as well use a normal nuke on it.
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bsl    RE:Question: Neutron Bombs and Nuclear Reactors   6/23/2004 10:48:25 PM
"A neutron bomb was just detonated, and all life within Line of Sight for miles around is dead and dying" All "unprotected" life, in line of sight of the detonation. Key concept; "containment dome"..
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elcid    RE:Question: Neutron Bombs and Nuclear Reactors   6/24/2004 6:45:57 AM
No. Assuming your bomb does not actually hit the reactor containment building. If it is in the neighborhood, it might indeed cause instrumentation effects. But a reactor is inherently stable, with a lag time between neutrons in the fuel and energy build up. [The neutrons bounce around, and also many fission events are delayed significantly - so the "chain reaction" is not instantaneous. Fast neutrons do not do much at all - unless they bounce enough to become slow neutrons which can be captured - and the capture then takes a while to have its effect - the fission as it were.] To the extent any neutrons get past the shielding of the reactor and produce an increase in output, the reactor's own physics will regulate what happens. In a pressurized water reactor, the increased heat increases pressure, which decreases the water level, which tends to reduce the reaction from own fuel. It is different in a pressurized water reactor, but inherently similar. Reactor physics is inherently stable, and it "fails safe" in most respects.
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Warhammer    RE:Question: Neutron Bombs and Nuclear Reactors   6/24/2004 2:51:28 PM
How much mass has to be between you and the neutrons for you to be considered protected? Would a few layers of sheetrock and a bit of wood be enough to keep you alive? Besides the fact that they have the highest penetration power of the types of radiation, the main problem with the Neutrons, is that the act of slowing or stopping them when they hit matter gives energy into the matter, which releases gamma and beta radiation. So, when that wall of neutrons hits your house, your house is going to be releasing a burst of gamma, which will be able to travel further into your house. I would say that if you are not behind cinderblocks or better in the first few miles, you are going to experience serious radiation sickness, if not death. This link might help to explain what protection means concerning a neutron bomb. Lots of dirt, concrete, water, or certain plastics are some of the main things that could afford protection from the neutrons, while most metals and especially depleted uranium used in M-1 tanks, will actually become radioactive when disturbed.
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Strangelove    RE:Question: Neutron Bombs and Nuclear Reactors   6/24/2004 5:47:41 PM
So to sum up, No, unless you do enough damage to destroy the reactor. The reason I ask is b/c of the aforementioned penetrative ability of the neutron, and given the incredible concentration of neutrons emitted in a neutron bomb, I thought that enough may penetrate to cause a temporary surge in the reactor core. If a neutron bomb wouldn't do it, would it be possible to destabilize a reactor from outside (short of destroying the reactor)? I am not a nuclear engineer, but I am thinking it would actually be much easier to destroy one than cause it to malf.
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Warhammer    RE:Question: Neutron Bombs and Nuclear Reactors   6/24/2004 7:21:09 PM
Perhaps use a rail gun to puncture the shell with a small depleted uranium bullet? Or, maybe the neutron bomb actually would destabilize the reactor, since all the people controlling it would be dead? Would a team of terrorists taking the reactor count as outside force? Cruise missile is cheap and easy. You would only have to put a hole in its shell, or better to take out the controlling section of the plant which would take out the ability to add water, or push the rods down.
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elcid    Would a few layers of sheetrock and a bit of wood be enough to keep you alive?    6/26/2004 6:40:35 AM
This is a joke, right? Neutron bombs are supposed to kill men in tanks, guy. Only people in underground shelters are supposed to live. NO ONE ELSE near the target. And shelters destroyed by the blast are no good either.
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Warhammer    RE:Would a few layers of sheetrock and a bit of wood be enough to keep you alive?    6/26/2004 2:03:24 PM
I probably should have put the quote from BSL in there to clarify. He said all "unprotected" life, which seemed to say that anyone not standing outside would be unaffected. I only put that as a question just to cover all the bases. If a neutron bomb hit a city, there really wouldn't be too many people underground, so I assumed he meant that less than several feet of dirt would count as protection.
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Strangelove    RE:Would a few layers of sheetrock and a bit of wood be enough to keep you alive?    6/29/2004 10:43:39 PM
But the reason its so effective against armored units is that the heavy armor stops the fast neutrons and gives up that energy as em, frying the crew inside. I imagine the neutron flux would be hard on any organism, protected or not.
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