- Weapon from the past
This weapon were known already in the 6th century BC – during the siege plague corpses were thrown over the city walls to cause an epidemic among the defenders. Bacteriological weapon – pathogenic microorganism or its spores, viruses, bacterial toxins – has since been significantly “upgraded” and become much more deadly. After one of the tests of such a weapon on the island of Grignard, the island remained quarantined for 49 years. Bacteriological weapons are prohibited under the 1925 Geneva Protocol.
- That’s where the real chemistry is
One of the most terrible weapons of mass destruction is chemical weapon. This weapon is divided into six types according to the nature of effects on the body: nerve agents, blister agents, blood agents, psychochemical, suffocating and irritating. It can be fast or slow action aimed at the destruction or temporary disablement (which does not exclude deaths). Use of chemical weapons was repeatedly forbidden by international agreements, but there is evidence of its use in the recent military conflicts in Syria, Chechnya, Iraq …
- The atom’s power
Nuclear energy released by nuclear fission chain reaction of heavy nuclei, has been used by mankind to create one of the most destructive weapons – nuclear weapons. After the French chemist Antoine Henri Becquerel discovered special characteristics of uranium in 1896, only 49 years were necessary for bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. A treaty to ban all but underground nuclear tests was signed in 1963. In 1996 the UN General Assembly adopted the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, but it has not entered into force due to the non-ratification of eight specific states.
- Peaceful “bomb”
There are objects that can cause more dangerous radioactive contamination in case of their destruction than any known nuclear bomb. They are nuclear power plants. In case of evaporation of a reactor or storage of radioactive materials, the size of uninhabitable land will be a thousand times greater than the area affected by ground nuclear explosion. This land will remain contaminated for many decades, for example, 700 km² will remain uninhabitable even 100 years after the evaporation of the reactor with a capacity of 100 MW. For comparison, the capacity of Khmelnitsky nuclear power plant is 2000 MW.
- Neutron bomb
A neutron bomb has become one of the types of tactical nuclear weapons, and its development began in 1958 in the United States. The main threat this bomb carries to the environment is not about a blast wave, but about the neutron flux (neutron radiation). The bomb is effective when used at high altitudes, where a blast wave is ineffective because of thin air, as well as against armored vehicles that are able to withstand the effects of an “ordinary” nuclear explosion. Neutron flux easily passes even through thick steel armor, with a lethal effect to a crew of armored vehicles at a distance twice bigger than after a nuclear explosion.
- Tsar Bomba
Thermonuclear bomb is considered the most powerful bomb in the history of mankind. It was developed in the USSR in 1954-1961 by the group of nuclear physicists headed by Igor Kurchatov, Academician of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR. The bomb had a number AN602 and unofficial name Tsar Bomba or Kuz’kina Mat’, referring to Nikita Khrushchev’s promise to show the United States a “Kuz’kina Mat’. The fireball from the explosion of a bomb was many times bigger than the fireball from the explosion of a nuclear bomb in Nagasaki.
- Radioactive trace
After a nuclear explosion radioactive contamination occurs, also called radioactive trace. It is created by the fission products of nuclear fuel, the unreacted part of the nuclear charge, and radioactive isotopes formed in the soil and other materials exposed to neutrons. There are three types of radiation: alpha, beta and gamma, and the time of their impact on the environment is very long. Even if people have not received significant injuries from the explosion, they are likely to die from infectious diseases and chemical poisoning.
- Star wars
Damaging effect of the laser beam lies in heating objects to a high temperature, their melting and even evaporation. The laser beam has no visible signs (fire, smoke, sound). On March 18, 2009 aerospace defense company Northrop Grumman announced that its engineers have successfully created and tested a laser weapon, powerful enough to destroy cruise missiles, artillery, rockets and mortars. Such a laser could be mounted on the aircraft, ship, or other vehicle. Laser weapons research continues.
- Psychological attack
Besides physical destruction of cities, property and living beings, huge danger to humanity lies in other sphere. Wars, and in particular the use of weapons of mass destruction, lead to psychological disorders affecting the rest of a human’s life. Survivors of the nuclear bombings in Japan are faced with unforeseen consequences: even their children have problems in finding a job and starting a family. Use of weapons of mass destruction has long ceased to be merely a mean of physical destruction, becoming a method of psychological intimidation.
- Power of Words
A bomb can destroy thousands of people, but information (or misinformation) can create an army. Modern media allows quick and very efficient spread of words. Information is also a weapon of mass destruction, only renewable, inexhaustible and fast-acting. It is easily transported over long distances, stored on a compact carriers and can be simply hidden or forged. Information war can become the flame able to destroy humanity.