Targeting nuclear power plants in a nuclear war

Most nuclear survival guides assume the only radioactive contamination you need to worry about comes from fission fragments from the bombs themselves. How realistic is this? There isn’t anything stopping the enemy from hitting a nuke plant with ground bursts for maximum contamination. Each power plant also has hundred to thousands of tons of spent nuclear fuel ON SITE, so you don’t just need to worry about the fuel in the reactor but all the storage containers as well, this will all get released into the atmosphere to create a disaster literally 1000’s of times worse than Chernobyl. Each warhead only has about 50-100 pounds of material to generate fallout from, but hitting a single nuclear power plant will release many orders of magnitude more fallout. Spending 2 weeks in a sealed basement isn’t going to do jack shit to protect you in a scenario like this, the whole US will be inhabitable for thousands of years most likely.

250 Piece Survival Gear First Aid Kit

LifeStraw Water Filter for Hiking and Preparedness

250 Piece Survival Gear First Aid Kit

  1. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    modern nuclear reactors cant power themselves specifically to prevent a chernobyl reactor

    hitting a power plant would result in it immediately shutting down specifically to prevent it from exploding

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      modern reactors are incapable of exploding

      • 1 month ago
        Anonymous

        no?
        Expose the fuel to air and it explodes within a short time.

        Anon, are you aware that the reactor core contains relatively huge amounts of high activity products?

        Yes, but high activity means it becomes inert quickly.

        • 1 month ago
          Anonymous

          Yes, but they're not in any significant quantities to add much danger to the bomb itself. Maybe some extra Barium-140 (a main component of fallout, 13 day half-life) gets ejected into the atmosphere and precipitates back to the ground in dust, requiring you to stay in your basement/behind extra thick walls for another week. I'd be more concerned about Black folk chimping out after the blast than the possibility that a strike on a nuclear plant causes more harm.

          Naturally it becomes inert, but I would bet that the risk of ARS from fallout increases massively.

        • 1 month ago
          Anonymous

          if you expose the fuel to air you have no neutron moderation, the chain reaction coefficient falls and it cools down.
          you're allowed to look shit up before you post.

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            [...]
            Naturally it becomes inert, but I would bet that the risk of ARS from fallout increases massively.

            It's pyrophoric due to its strong basicity. Similar to Sodium or Lithium organyls.

            • 1 month ago
              Anonymous

              ceramic uranium oxide is absolutely not pyrophoric. what fuel are you referring to?

              • 1 month ago
                Anonymous

                He is confusing it with DU.

              • 1 month ago
                Anonymous

                DU is also not pyrophoric at ambient temp.
                It burns when it gets shot out of a cannon at 1500 m/s, pierces some vatnik's garbage can, heats up red hot from the metal on metal friction and shatters into ten thousand slivers.

                Why is it necessary to keep spent fuel underwater, or to maintain cooling?

                spent fuel builds up unwanted fission products which have shorter half lives than uranium. These cause problems because some of their fission products are neutron absorbers which frick with the reactivity. Xenon buildup for example is part of what fricked Chernobyl reactor 4.
                You keep spent fuel in a pool so that 1) radiation is absorbed by the water and 2) its kept cool until the shorter half lives decay enough to store it dry.
                Spent fuel does not explode, nor does it spontaneously combust. What it DOES do is get hot enough to melt itself or its container. Both of which cause problems.

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            Why is it necessary to keep spent fuel underwater, or to maintain cooling?

        • 1 month ago
          Anonymous

          [...]
          Naturally it becomes inert, but I would bet that the risk of ARS from fallout increases massively.

          NPP fuel is lower activity than bomb products. It would generate a much worse chronic exposure risk than a bomb.

      • 1 month ago
        Anonymous

        based and dyatlovpilled
        it's not possible for the reactor to explode
        why worry about something that won't happen?

        • 1 month ago
          Anonymous

          a MODERN reactor.
          the RBMK must be a postmodern reactor or some shit then, lol.

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      I’m not talking about a meltdown happening, I’m saying a nuclear warhead detonating at ground level will physically obliterate either the reactor, or if it’s somehow hardened enough, it will destroy all the spent fuel containers and leak massive amounts of radioactive contaminants into the atmosphere

      • 1 month ago
        Anonymous

        This is true. A PWR reactor is filed with perhaps 70 tons of fuel. A nuclear generating station can have several of these units.

        The spent fuel pond and dry cask storage also have a lot.

        It would suck.

        • 1 month ago
          Anonymous

          >The spent fuel pond and dry cask storage also have a lot.
          the dry casks would probably be the only survivors of a nuclear blast
          they are steel canisters embedded in a concrete shield, you could ram a train into them without damaging it

          a nuclear blast would spread the casks around and potentially kill someone if it lands on them, but a leak isnt likely
          and even if the cask is ruptured, the nuclear material is in dry form and sintered into a solid block and couldnt leak anyways

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            Never thought of that. Let's say a W76-1 scores a bullseye on the middle reactor of the largest US generating station. That's 90kt, surface burst, and the reactor uranium fuel load is 114 tons.

            The fireball on nukemap has 500 meter radius. You could vaporize three reactor cores, around 330 tons of uranium fuel.

            I have no idea what mass is stored in spent fuel pools or dry cask storage. Probably couldn't be much worse.

            • 1 month ago
              Anonymous

              How much energy is it going to take to vaporize the water in the pools? From my limited knowledge it takes very little water to create an effective shield against radiation.

              • 1 month ago
                Anonymous

                About 8' of water.

            • 1 month ago
              Anonymous

              How much energy is it going to take to vaporize the water in the pools? From my limited knowledge it takes very little water to create an effective shield against radiation.

              I've thought about this a bit since I live near a NPP. In any sort of doomsday scenario there would be a need for the local community to somehow manage spent fuel pool water levels for 3-5 years. If they fail to do this the hottest waste may self-ignite and then you're probably talking an exclusion zone around the plant where you really don't want to live, with the distance highly dependent on the nature of the fire and amount of fuel.
              I don't think supplying enough water will be hard, but if there's a direct hit on the pool it could be a real mess. I think in general with NPPs there's also always a risk whenever you're dealing with a catastrophic failure event of subsequent complex failures that are difficult to predict and manage.
              I really hate that our useless shit government can't get a deep geological repository figured out. It literally should've been in the feds top 5 issues for the past 50 years.

              • 1 month ago
                Anonymous

                I appreciate your approach and thought around this. level headed, practical, medium-term.

            • 1 month ago
              Anonymous

              >You could vaporize three reactor cores, around 330 tons of uranium fuel.
              absolutely not. again, they aren't magical anime weapons, concrete and steel are extremely resistant to thermal destruction. testing on 10 inch diameter steel spheres placed just outside the shot cab of a nuke test in Nevada for Plumb Bob showing only modest surface damage.
              they
              are
              not
              magic

              • 1 month ago
                Anonymous

                >they
                >are
                >not
                >magic

                This. Nukes aren't a magic Kill Everything device

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            >you could ram a train into them without damaging it
            Not hyperbole btw

            • 1 month ago
              Anonymous

              Reminder that Terry Pratchett (the author) came up with the idea to do this and make Greenpeace look like idiots. Top lad.

      • 1 month ago
        Anonymous

        Even if the blast killed all of the plant workers on-site instantly, the reactor would automatically SCRAM to prevent a meltdown.

        Most reactor buildings are already reinforced to withstand the explosion from a potential meltdown (the Fukushima plant has a considerably smaller exclusion zone than Chernobyl despite all four reactors melting down because of this, and that was considered a dangerously obsolete design) and could presumably survive being damaged from outside as well. It's debatable whether a direct hit with a nuclear warhead could even crack one open.

        • 1 month ago
          Anonymous

          How come Mark 84 bombs, 16 of them, would destroy Osiraq nuclear reactor, or Tomahawk missiles destroying a Syrian reactor, but a W76 or W88 could not?

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            Because the Osirak reactor was still incomplete at the time of its destruction. The attack caused outrage in France because hundreds of French construction workers had been on-site at the time, building the reactor, and at least one was killed.

            • 1 month ago
              Anonymous

              >We were just innocent bystanders constructing a nuclear plant for a dictator who earlier in the year had used chemical weapons (breaking a taboo which had endured for over four decades) when out of nowhere we were attacked completely unprovoked!
              Why are Euros like this?

            • 1 month ago
              Anonymous

              Osiraq already had a finished containment dome and the reactor pressure vessel was already there.

              If Mk84s can kill it, with acknowledgement striking before refueling would reduce spread of radioactivity, sure a W88 would do even more damage.

        • 1 month ago
          Anonymous

          Do you think a nuclear meltdown causes a nuclear detonation?

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            No. Nuclear fuel isn't even capable of producing the type of reaction necessary to create an explosion. Moreover, most nuclear power plants use uranium, whereas virtually every nuclear weapon since Little Boy has used plutonium which requires a fraction of the material.

            • 1 month ago
              Anonymous

              Louis Slotin was unjustly scapegoated by Big Screwdriver.

            • 1 month ago
              Anonymous

              I'm not asking you. I know it isn't possible. I'm asking Anne Frank poster. Stay in your lane.

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      if the warhead detonated just above the reactor building would the neutron flux from the warhead affected the fuel in the reactor?

      What about the fuel in the cooling pools

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      Chernobyl was bad because the initial explosion exposed the core, and the graphite moderator caught on fire spewing out fission products with the smoke. Nuclear ground burst near any reactor would be multiple times worse because the explosion would obliterate the reactor and kick up its contents in the air.

      High yield weapons themselves can cause lethal fallout, I don't know how much high activity products there are in a reactor at any given time, but it's probably multiple times the amount in a warhead. For what it's worth, a conventional weapon strike penetrating the core would also be disastrous

  2. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    Most other nations have shit-tier deep penetration bombs and will never be able to hit, let alone penetrate a reactor building.

    That’s also implying that they somehow launched a missile towards U.S. airspace without a dozen anti-ballistic missiles slamming into it first.

  3. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    Huh, never thought about that.
    Seems like a threat worth considering.
    There's some info on the potential effect of targeting nuclear reactors and shit seems pretty grim.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK219147/

  4. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    When will morons learn that fallout is not that bad

  5. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    A salted bomb would do a lot more than hitting a NPP and you can use them where there isn't a NPP.
    As for getting the core to detonate it's surrounded by neutron shielding and reflectors so it's not going to add to the yield even if it was possible for 5% enriched Uranium to fuse (it's not).

  6. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    Spent fuel containers are sturdy af, they would need to hit really close

    ?si=75zMLTB1SK-OsXkQ

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      Interesting read on Sellafield and nuclear waste management

      https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/dec/15/dismantling-sellafield-epic-task-shutting-down-decomissioned-nuclear-site

  7. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    > There isn’t anything stopping the enemy from hitting a nuke plant with ground bursts for maximum contamination.
    Perhaps the survival of their own survivors? We’re talking many tonnes of material per plant of which a portion will be thrown into the atmosphere.

  8. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    >hey lets hit the nuclear power plants to kill them with cancer over the next 50 years!
    >that will win us the war!

  9. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    This is by far the dumbest thread on the board. The dangerous radiation and fallout from nooks come from the short-lived screamingly radioactive fission products, not the uranium itself. Blowing up slightly radioactive metal bars at a NPP isn't going to add much outside of the plant's immediate vicinity. Also "le uninhabitable for 6 gorillion years" is an oxymoron, the shit that makes a place uninhabitable have half-lives in the single or double digits not millennia.

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      Anon, are you aware that the reactor core contains relatively huge amounts of high activity products?

      • 1 month ago
        Anonymous

        >city power by wind turbines and solar and not big enough to be a target for conventional nukes
        We would be fine once we kept the filthy Texans from flooding into our borders

      • 1 month ago
        Anonymous

        Yes, but they're not in any significant quantities to add much danger to the bomb itself. Maybe some extra Barium-140 (a main component of fallout, 13 day half-life) gets ejected into the atmosphere and precipitates back to the ground in dust, requiring you to stay in your basement/behind extra thick walls for another week. I'd be more concerned about Black folk chimping out after the blast than the possibility that a strike on a nuclear plant causes more harm.

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      There is a huge order of magnitude difference between the amount of fission material used in a nuclear bomb and nuclear power plants. Yes, half-lifes are similar, but if you have 100000+ times more cesium and strontium with half-lifes of several decades, you are fricked.

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      >Blowing up slightly radioactive metal bars at a NPP isn't going to add much outside of the plant's immediate vicinity
      The NLM link a few posts above yours describes how release of NPP radioactive material from a direct hit could lead to literally magnitudes greater chronic exposure over a much greater area than the exposure generated from just bomb products.
      I'm not saying you're definitively wrong, because the paper mostly focuses on a frankly infeasible worst case scenario, but I think you're excessively downplaying the risk.

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      Yes, but they're not in any significant quantities to add much danger to the bomb itself. Maybe some extra Barium-140 (a main component of fallout, 13 day half-life) gets ejected into the atmosphere and precipitates back to the ground in dust, requiring you to stay in your basement/behind extra thick walls for another week. I'd be more concerned about Black folk chimping out after the blast than the possibility that a strike on a nuclear plant causes more harm.

      Nuclear power plants don't even explode. Basically you just get flooded with radiated water over an area and materials and then they fricking die fast, so you just bury the stuff in the dirt.

      >How realistic is this?
      not very
      >There isn’t anything stopping the enemy from hitting a nuke plant with ground bursts for maximum contamination.
      they are hard targets and you are not likely to cause a meltdown condition if you blast the reactor vessel 200 feet underground.
      >Spending 2 weeks in a sealed basement isn’t going to do jack shit to protect you in a scenario like this, the whole US will be inhabitable for thousands of years most likely.
      this is your brain on media.
      >nukes are magic and cause anime style craters and instantly vaporize everything within 10 miles!!!1!1!1!1
      go back to preschool you blibbering moron. nukes are lousy against very hard targets, particularly without superfuze tech. without this you'll end up just crumbling the containment structure and stuffing the reactor vessel into the ground, where it would hardly leak any radiation. the spent fuel is nominally more vulnerable, but the casked fuel is even more stable, stored in reinforced steel and concrete assembly, usually stored below ground level or in yet more heavily reinforced structures.
      now, if you hit something like a Russian built reactor, without a containment building and a light reactor vessel, you might actually have some effect, but that's because they were cheaply made.

      https://i.imgur.com/RbJC2v1.jpg

      Even if the blast killed all of the plant workers on-site instantly, the reactor would automatically SCRAM to prevent a meltdown.

      Most reactor buildings are already reinforced to withstand the explosion from a potential meltdown (the Fukushima plant has a considerably smaller exclusion zone than Chernobyl despite all four reactors melting down because of this, and that was considered a dangerously obsolete design) and could presumably survive being damaged from outside as well. It's debatable whether a direct hit with a nuclear warhead could even crack one open.

      Read homosexuals. Spent fuel storage is extremely vulnerable to a nuclear attack and the contribution to longterm fallout could be massive.
      And saying anything along the lines of 'nuclear reactors are hard targets and that means they can shrug off a nuclear attack' is clearly not the opinion of two PhDs at Lawrence Livernore. If it was such an obvious fricking non-issue they wouldn't have devoted 20 paragraphs to crunching the numbers.
      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK219147/

      • 1 month ago
        Anonymous

        nobody is saying nuking power plants won't be nasty, it's just not civilization ending as OP implies

  10. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    Nuclear power plants don't even explode. Basically you just get flooded with radiated water over an area and materials and then they fricking die fast, so you just bury the stuff in the dirt.

  11. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    >How realistic is this?
    not very
    >There isn’t anything stopping the enemy from hitting a nuke plant with ground bursts for maximum contamination.
    they are hard targets and you are not likely to cause a meltdown condition if you blast the reactor vessel 200 feet underground.
    >Spending 2 weeks in a sealed basement isn’t going to do jack shit to protect you in a scenario like this, the whole US will be inhabitable for thousands of years most likely.
    this is your brain on media.
    >nukes are magic and cause anime style craters and instantly vaporize everything within 10 miles!!!1!1!1!1
    go back to preschool you blibbering moron. nukes are lousy against very hard targets, particularly without superfuze tech. without this you'll end up just crumbling the containment structure and stuffing the reactor vessel into the ground, where it would hardly leak any radiation. the spent fuel is nominally more vulnerable, but the casked fuel is even more stable, stored in reinforced steel and concrete assembly, usually stored below ground level or in yet more heavily reinforced structures.
    now, if you hit something like a Russian built reactor, without a containment building and a light reactor vessel, you might actually have some effect, but that's because they were cheaply made.

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      Nukes are pretty good on hard targets. Hence why they are used for hard targets.

      The probability of kill requires adequate overpressure. Larger yield and accuracy accomplishes this.

      >You could vaporize three reactor cores, around 330 tons of uranium fuel.
      absolutely not. again, they aren't magical anime weapons, concrete and steel are extremely resistant to thermal destruction. testing on 10 inch diameter steel spheres placed just outside the shot cab of a nuke test in Nevada for Plumb Bob showing only modest surface damage.
      they
      are
      not
      magic

      22 kiloton weapon against 10" metal spheres. How about a 90 or 475 kiloton explosion against a nuclear reactor? Israel used 16 x 2000lbs iron bombs to destroy Osiraq; 90kt or 475kt is quite different.

      • 1 month ago
        Anonymous

        >against a nuclear reactor
        you mean some distance pretty far from the containment structure, right? because the reactor isn't just sitting in a fricking field, you mongoloid. and there is a 0% chance any turdie nuke has superfuze capabilities, so instead of being practically inside the shot cab, they will be detonating a hundred or more feet away. blast pressure and irradiance goes down as the square of distance. that's what makes superfuze such a big breakthrough.
        so they would be hundreds of feet away from the containment structure, which has a huge air gap before the biological shielding, which (depending on the precise reactor) is gapped from the reactor vessel wall, which is 6-12 inch thick, possibly under 40 feet of water or with hundreds of tons of lead and polyethylene and literally hundreds of thousands of tons of reinforced concrete protecting it.
        so no, you aren't vaporizing the core directly. not in one hit, not in 10.

  12. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    Nuclear power isn't real

  13. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    >Targeting nuclear power plants
    ukraine threads have gone off the rails

  14. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    What's scarier than radiation is the breakdown of education, medical care, and fuel distribution. Two months without power, across the entire country, particularly during winter, is enough to permanently change the American social fabric.

  15. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    In war, you want to kill the enemy today, not give him an elevated risk of developing cancer over his lifetime.

  16. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    >50-100 pounds of material
    We're not using Mark 1 Little Boys anymore.

  17. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    >the whole US will be inhabitable for thousands of years most likely.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *