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"24" and a blast from the past
Posted by: McQ on Tuesday, January 16, 2007

No pun intended.

Back in 2004 Dale and I had a discussion about the possibility of a Soviet suitcase nuke ending up on terrorist hands. We disagreed but managed to dig up a lot of good info on the subject.

Lo and behold, last night we saw the use of a suitcase nuke in the plot of the hit TV show "24".

Thought you might like to review our discussion and the feasibility of such a thing actually happening.

Start here. Then go here.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Fixed. Thanks for the heads up.
Written By: McQ
I want to know why Jack Bauer can drive accross LA and rescue a terrorist faster than Apache attack helocopters can fly there.
Written By: cindyb
URL: http://
I want to know why Jack Bauer can drive accross LA and rescue a terrorist faster than Apache attack helocopters can fly there.
He’s got a special fake passenger in his car so he can use the diamond lanes on the freeways.
Written By: steverino
Suitcase "nukes" are not a big fear....My bet is that the Soviets didn’t make any SADM’s only MADM’s, as they had trouble developing efficient nuclear weapons. A MADM required the use of a truck or helicopter to emplace and a team of 6-12. So no, I don’t think we have to worry about a "suitcase" anything.

Next, nuclear weapons require fairly constant maintenance. It’s been said before on other threads, but if the weapon hasn’t been maintained, well and recently, you more than likely have an expensive tritium, "Glow-in-the-Dark" watch, not an operative nuclear weapon.

For reference on SADM and MADM please consult Hansen’s US Nuclear Weapons, an invaluable open source reference to the US nuclear arsenal up to 1989. In terms of devices it’s still a fine source, but the numbers and programs have changed since the end of the Cold War, but US warhead development has pretty stood still since its publication.
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Well aughtsix, a nuclear weapon ain’t as easy as some would have you believe. The "Fatman" Device used 50-plus kilograms of U-235, a rather significant amount of Uranium. Not easy to come by. Yes, it’s a simple design, but terribly inefficient.

Further, those who talk about using local machine shops to fabricate a weapon are fooling themselves. Machining the U-235 sphere is an BIG undertaking. U-235 is very dense and hard. Depleted Uraniun (Staballoy) is the basis for the armour package on some M-1a1’s and the M-1a2, because it makes a WONDERFUL armour. The M-829 APFSDS round also uses Staballoy as it’s penetrator, again because it is hard and dense. Unless your machine shop is used to dealing with armour plate and other high hardness materials you aren’t getting Bob and Ted’s Excellent Machine Shop to just turn one out.

Bottom-line: Building nuclear weapons is for professionals, and not for the amateur, my apologies to John Lithgow and the cast of The Manhattan Project.
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Building the 1st Atomic Waepons didn’t take 1% of the US GNP for nothing... and it didn’t take the Pakistani’s several decades for no reason... or the French or the British who each took 5-9 years to make Atomic Weapons.
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
A pox on both your houses...

Haven’t been able to watch last nights episode yet. Flight out of LGA was delayed 4 freakin hours. Though I feel fortunate as there were a lot of longer delays and cancellations. We had friends record it.
Written By: Keith_Indy
Didn’t they already make a movie about a suitcase nuke? Cant remember the name just that it looked like a small soccer ball and they were trying to pry one of the pentagon shaped detonators off with a pocket knife to deactivate it.

Couldn’t they have come up with an original story line like a ink pen nuke or something.
Written By: Mac
URL: http://
Didn’t they already make a movie about a suitcase nuke? Cant remember the name just that it looked like a small soccer ball and they were trying to pry one of the pentagon shaped detonators off with a pocket knife to deactivate it.
Is this what you’re thinking of? It wasn’t exactly a suitcase nuke, but a small nuclear device a kid made for his science project....

The Manhattan Project
Written By: steverino
steverino, i do believe you’re thinking of "the peacemaker". george clooney, (i know), nicole kidman. wacko slavic loonies try to nuke NYC. action george saves the day, along with incredibly smart nuclear physicist kidman.

hey, at least they didn’t use denise richards or pammy anderson for the role.
Written By: ed
URL: http://
mac, too.
Written By: ed
URL: http://
No ed. The Peacemaker is a different film, he means the Manhattan Project, kid steals Pu-239 makes a bomb as a protest, it accidently arms.. we all learn that nuclear weapons are a bad thing...and that teenaged kids hold all knowledge and can grasp life’s essentilas FAR better than grown-ups, and can make complex and destructive weaponry from very little. (That may be a function of the TEENAGED Movie-Goers the film targetted).

In Peacemaker George Clooney survives the explosion of the HE core around the device, which fires, we DON’T disarm it. Of course that makes a dirty bomb in downtown NYC, but the movie-makers didn’t seem to interested in THAT fact...Why let reality interfere with two hotties, Clooney and Kidman, triumphing in the end.
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
silly to quibble about bad movies, joe, but what the heck. slow day. mac referenced a movie in which the heroes tried to pry "pentagon shaped panels of HE off a soccer-ball sized nuke core with a penknife", more or less.

that’s exactly what happened in the money shot of ’the peacemaker’. action george & brainy nicole shoot the bad guy, still wearing his backpack nuke. in his last, very dramatic moments on earth, he makes a speech and arms the bimb. (sorry. french.) extremely dramatic 007-type LED readout countdown begins. george & nic realize their only chance is to keep the bimb from going nuclear, by screwing up the HE surrounding the core. HE doesn’t fire *just right*, the core doesn’t go critical, and....according to the’s just a big firecracker, not a nuclear explosion.

we see closeups of the soccer-ball shaped core, surrounded by pentagon-shaped panels of HE. nic struggles to pry one panel off. using a penknife. george assists by handing her his gun, so’s she can hammer the knife in better. she grunts and curses prettily. he looks at her sideways prettily.

they succeed, with just seconds to spare. they dive out the stained glass window, just as the HE goes off behind them! they did it! they’re ok! whew!

now don’t get me wrong: i *also* think teenagers are this sorry old world’s only hope....but i think mac meant ’the peacemaker’.

next post, i will discuss in great detail whether ilsa really loved rick or merely told him a really good whopper to get him to give her & viktor the letters of transit. "i...uh...i still luff you, rick! yeah! that’s the ticket!"
Written By: ed
URL: http://

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