How difficult is it to build a nuclear bomb?

How difficult is it to build a nuclear bomb?

Quite difficult. To build one you need about a $billion dollars in infrastructure including a nuclear reactor (to create the enriched uranium and/or plutonium you need). Labs to put it all together, and a series of ultra fast switches to set off the high explosives you wrap the enriched uranium or plutonium in.

How does plutonium kill you?

Because it emits alpha particles, plutonium is most dangerous when inhaled. When plutonium particles are inhaled, they lodge in the lung tissue. The alpha particles can kill lung cells, which causes scarring of the lungs, leading to further lung disease and cancer.

What are the steps to build a nuclear bomb?

Following are the steps necessary to build and deliver a nuclear weapon: The key ingredient in a nuclear bomb is enriched uranium — or plutonium, which can be obtained through the combustion of uranium. Uranium is a relatively common mineral, found both in the ground and under the sea. Some 20 countries operate uranium mines.

What kind of material do you need to make a nuclear bomb?

“You cannot make a nuclear bomb without fissile material,” says Andrew Furlong, of the Institute of Chemical Engineers. And for an average thermonuclear device, the necessary material is plutonium or enriched uranium. Uranium, a naturally-occurring heavy metal, comes as uranium 238 or 235.

How much plutonium does it take to make an atomic bomb?

An atomic bomb needs 25 kilos (55 pounds) of enriched uranium or eight kilos (18 pounds) of plutonium. There is currently enough plutonium and enriched uranium in the world to build the equivalent of 20,000 bombs like the one used on Hiroshima in 1945, according to the International Panel on Fissile Materials, an expert group.

How is natural uranium used to make a bomb?

Get enough atoms splitting and you have the chain reaction needed for a bomb blast. But natural uranium overwhelmingly consists of the 238 isotope, which bounces back any neutrons striking it – useless then for a bomb. To make a bomb, natural uranium needs to be treated to concentrate the 235 isotope within it.