Science: Death Sand

In the famous Smyth Report (Atomic Energy for Military Purposes) appears this ominous sentence: "The fission products produced in one day's run of a 100,000-kilowatt chain-reacting pile might be sufficient to make a large area uninhabitable." The Smyth Report appeared in 1945. Since then, "radiological poisons" have hardly been mentioned, much less evaluated publicly as a military weapon.

Why this silence? wonders Dr. Louis N. Ridenour, dean of the Graduate School of the University of Illinois, in the latest Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Are radiological poisons ineffective? Or are they so deadly that atom-minded governments have smothered all mention of...

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