World War II Nuclear Technology Term Paper

Pages: 4 (1382 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 6  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Energy


World War II Nuclear Technology

Nuclear technology is technology that entails the reactions of atomic nuclei. It has been used in things like smoke detectors, nuclear reactors, gun sights and nuclear weapons. In 1896, Henri Becquerel was examining phosphorescence in uranium salts when he discovered a new phenomenon which came to be called radioactivity. He, Pierre Curie and Marie Curie began looking at this phenomenon. In the development they isolated the element radium, which is highly radioactive. They revealed that radioactive materials produce intense, penetrating rays of several distinct sorts, which they called alpha rays, beta rays and gamma rays (Nuclear technology -- Definition, n.d.).

During World War II, nuclear reactions were adequately well understood that all the factions began to see the possibility of constructing a nuclear weapon. Nuclear reactions discharge far more energy per reaction than chemical reactions, so if large numbers of reactions could be induced to occur at once, great amounts of energy could be released. The British and the Americans arranged the Manhattan Project under the direction of Robert Oppenheimer in order to build such a device with this technology (Nuclear technology -- Definition, n.d.).Get full Download Microsoft Word File access
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Term Paper on World War II Nuclear Technology Assignment

Still, the tremendous energy release in the detonation of a nuclear weapon also suggested the possibility of a new energy source. There have been many things that have come from this realization. Nuclear power plants have been built in order to generate household electric power. Nuclear submarines have been built, and are able to travel at speed while submerged for months at a time. Nuclear ships have been created, primarily in the form of aircraft carriers, although a few icebreakers have been built. Research projects have begun looking into the possibility of nuclear-powered aircraft and nuclear thermal rockets (Nuclear technology -- Definition, n.d.).

The first generations of nuclear reactors were constructed to produce power and safety was a secondary consideration. But, as more nuclear reactors were built, it became apparent that they were complex devices in which failures were extremely hazardous. Early safety features were mainly concerned with the exposure of operators to intense radiation. However, it was steadily realized that the release of radioactive material into the environment, called radioactive contamination, was also potentially serious. Radioactive isotopes of common elements are chemically very alike to non-radioactive isotopes, so the human body may take up the radioactive materials and deposit them in the bones, thyroid, lungs, or elsewhere. The radioactive materials then decompose in place, often leading to cancer (Nuclear technology -- Definition, n.d.).

When looking a nuclear technology in regards to war, a deterrent power must be capable to inflict unacceptable damage, or more precisely the threatening nation has to be capable to exact payments at a cost acceptable to itself either by denying the opponent to achieve the objectives, by charging the opponent an excessive price for achieving it, or by a combination of the two. A nation has also to guarantee the safety of its nuclear arsenal. There must be no way for the opponent to eliminate the deterrent capability of the threatening nation. Strategists refer to this second strike ability, that is the retaliatory force should be protected from destruction through a first strike. A second strike capability can be established not only by technical means but also through policy means. The threatening nation must have the devices and the readiness necessary to demonstrate that it can deliver on its message. Conveying willingness to use retaliatory nuclear forces creates a quandary. The threatening nation must show willingness to engage in a war it tries to deter or prevent. The threatening nation must successfully converse to the opponent the price it will have to pay for attempting to achieve an unacceptable objective. For the United States transference of the deterrent message had two aspects. Deterrence had to address opponent as well as friend. The opponent had to believe in deterrence, and deterrence had to reassure U.S. allies in Europe. Reassurance and deterrence were two part of the nuclear issue. For much of the Cold War, deterrence and reassurance balance each other. Fourth, and most important, the deterrent message must have some degree of credibility. Both nations must… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "World War II Nuclear Technology" Term Paper in a Bibliography:

APA Style

World War II Nuclear Technology.  (2010, March 24).  Retrieved November 25, 2020, from

MLA Format

"World War II Nuclear Technology."  24 March 2010.  Web.  25 November 2020. <>.

Chicago Style

"World War II Nuclear Technology."  March 24, 2010.  Accessed November 25, 2020.