Credible nuclear deterrence effects, debunking dogmatic "disarm or be annihilated" enemy propaganda. Realistic effects and credible nuclear weapon capabilities for deterring or stopping aggressive invasions and attacks which could escalate into major conventional or nuclear wars.

Monday, January 22, 2018

The January 1955 secret Fallout symposium of the AFSWP, the first analysis of the detailed data on fallout from Operation Castle, is now available on the internet archive, thanks to the Nuclear Testing Archive. UPDATED 22 March 2018 with a declassified neutron bomb report LA-9004 and Putin's stockpiles of Novichok nerve gas

Thank you to Martha DeMarre of the Nuclear Testing Archive, Mission Support and Test Services (MSTS), Contractor for the Nevada National Security Site of Uncle Sam, for today emailing me a scan in two parts of the terrific (formerly) secret January 1955 AFSWP Fall-Out Symposium, U.S. Armed Forces Special Weapons project report AFSWP-895, which I've put on internet archive (link is here).  This is the first major analysis (566 pages in its declassified form) of data from Operation Castle on fallout, the first major fallout hazard experience to be documented in great detail in 1954! The report was listed but a PDF was not previously available on the U.S. Department of Energy Opennet site (which currently highlights Edward Teller's dismissal of secrecy delusions in the PDF linked here).  Secrecy is damaging, as mentioned in the previous post on this blog, because it keeps the public uninformed of the key technical arguments that underpin scientific controversies, allowing abusive propaganda from bigoted, ranting communist lunatics to become "mainstream dogma", accepted by deluded, elitist pseudo-socialists as occurred after Darwin's cousin Sir Francis Galton used "authority" to push eugenics pseudo-science with a pipe dream camouflage of utopia.

AFSWP895: January 1955 Fallout Symposium, secret, front cover.

AFSWP 895: fallout dose rates at 1 hour after the 14.8 megatons surface burst Castle Bravo across Bikini Atoll, 1 March 1954.  BEWARE OF THE MAP SCALE LABELLED "NAUTICAL MILES": this map and others in the series, reproduced in the 1956 weapon test report WT-915 and then in the fallout patterns compendium DASA-1251, exaggerates the size of Bikini Atoll considerably - by a factor of about 1.5 (the East-West length of Bikini Atoll is about 33 nautical miles on the graph above, as contrasted to a reality of just 22 nautical miles (see the accurate Holves and Narver below) - and needs correction (as we have pointed out in previous posts concerning DASA-1251 and WT-915).  A good scan of an original printing of WT-915 is located here.
Bikini Atoll map with accurate scale in Nautical Miles: the East-West length is about 22 nautical miles, as contrasted to the inaccurate USNRDL map scales which give a width of about 33 nautical miles, 50% too much!  (Thus, fallout areas in Bikini Atoll are exaggerated by 1.5 squared, a factor of 2.25.)  The inaccurate maps were proliferated in other fallout reports that "compiled" inaccurate data together without checking the scales (e.g., DASA-1251, the fallout patterns compendium).  As we reported in an earlier post, this had disastrous consequences for one computer prediction method, which was sold on the basis that it reliably reproduced the false Castle-3 shot pattern (the version with the inaccurate distance scale, leading to more than a doubling of areas). 

AFSWP 895: fallout outdoor unshielded dose rates and doses after 14.8 megaton Castle Bravo across Bikini Atoll (ground zero is the reef to the immediate West of "Charlie" Island).  Upper number is dose rate, lower is accumulated dose from fallout arrival time to infinity, outdoors and without any shielding such as buildings or other shelter.

AFSWP 895 fractionation of Sr89 and Ce144 as function of fallout particle diameter in Operation Castle shot Bravo.  Compare to the fractionation data from the 1956 Redwing tests, compiled by Dr Carl F. Miller in USNRDL466.

The report also contains new photos of the fireball and cloud from the 13.5 megaton Yankee shot of Operation Castle, taken from an RB-36, including the times of each photo (which is very useful, because it shows you the evolution of the fireball into the mushroom), at pages 91-110.  On pages 110-121 there is an excellent summary of the fallout study results of the Nevada 1.2 kiloton surface burst and shallow subsurface (earth penetrator warhead simulation) bursts Sugar and Uncle, respectively, from 1951, including photos of the differences in the nature of the fallout, comparing this data to photos of fallout from the 1952 Ivy-Mike surface burst of 10.4 megatons at Eniwetok Atoll.

On pages 123-138 there is a nice paper by Dr Carl F. Miller, called "Physical and Chemical Nature of the Contaminant: Interpretation of Castle Observations", giving the fallout deposited mass per unit area for specific unit-time radiation dose rates, the averaged gamma ray energy, graphs of decay rates, and a detailed table of fallout solubility (ionic fraction of radioactivity when the fallout is mixed with water), comparing land and surface tests of Operation Castle.

(Compare this fallout solubility data to the later USNRDL reports WT-917 and WT-918.  Note that 1958 Hardtack tests report WT-1625 on page 13 briefly interprets and summarises the solubility data from Castle in WT-917 and from Redwing in WT-1317 (the WT-1317 pdf file held on the Opennet database is corrupted and will not open, but we uploaded the full WT-1317 report to internet archive, linked here, before this occurred): the land surface bursts of Castle gave 5% fallout solubility, compared to 58-73% solubility for the water surface barge bursts, whereas the Redwing effective land bursts Zuni and Tewa gave 5-25% and 8-18% solubility, respectively, using rainwater and sea water. (These percentages don't apply to individual nuclides, since the soluble fraction mainly consists volatile decay chain nuclides like I, Sr, Cs, etc., which coat the outer surfaces of fallout particles; whereas the insoluble activity is mainly refractory nuclides that condense in the inside of molten particles, like Zr, Mo, U, Pu, etc. The overall percentage of solubility is therefore the average solubility of gamma emitters, which varies with time as the fallout mixture decays, and the relative percentage of activity coming from soluble nuclides rather than insoluble nuclides, evolves.)

On pages 139-153 there is an interesting paper by Dr Chris S. Cook, called "Radiological Nature of the Contaminant: Source Gamma Energy Spectra", giving data on the fallout gamma ray spectra determined using a sodium iodide scintillation crystal and a photomultiplier tube (the scintillation or flash brightness is proportional to the energy of the gamma ray, so with a pulse height discriminator circuit you can determine the spectrum).  This is vital because the penetrating power of the gamma rays from fallout determines the protective factor of a fallout shelter, and the production of low energy gamma emitters in fallout, particularly neptunium-239 and uranium-237 (produced by the capture of a high energy neutron, above about 1 MeV, by U-238, followed by the ejection of two neutrons, i.e. a so-called n,2n reaction) reduces the danger in the fallout sheltering period of 1-14 days after a dirty bomb (with a uranium jacket on the fusion stage).  Cook reports on page 139:

"Prior to 10 days following the detonation, a large fraction of the radiations are concentrated in the vicinity of 100 kev [0.1 Mev]".

This approximately 0.1 Mev radiation is the neutron activated U-237 and Np-239 (the time of peak percentage contribution of a nuclide to T^{1.2} fallout decay is equal to the half life multiplied by 1.2/ln 2 which is a multiplication factor of 1.44).  The best data available from Castle on this was from Union, shot 4, a water surface burst.  However, excellent gamma spectrum data was obtained from land surface burst Zuni in 1956, reported in WT-1317 and related papers like USNRDL-TR-146, Spectrometric Analysis of Gamma Radiation from Fallout from Operation Redwing, which was discussed on page 19 of our Nuclear Weapons - Collateral Damage Exaggerations report.  Miller gives an excellent compilation of neutron capture to fission ratios for nuclear tests up to 1960 in tables 4 and 6 of USNRDL466, although the numbers are deleted from that table in the declassified document, so you have to instead fill in the table spaces by calculating the capture atom/fission ratios using the ratios of the dose rates in gives in table 11; for example Jangle S gave 0.106/0.1799 = 0.59 atom of U-239 per fission.  Although Navajo and Flathead are deleted from that table, the capture atoms to fission ratios are reported for those shots in other reports, when you look carefully. One piece of data is given by the declassified WT-1317 e.g. the data in Table 3.14 on page 65 states that Flathead produced 0.41 atoms of Np-239 per fission, and more data is in the declassified NV0110837.  The U239 and Np239 capture-to-fission ratios of Redwing thermonuclear weapons 3.8Mt 50% fission Cherokee, 3.53 Mt 15% fission Zuni, and 4.5 Mt 5% Navajo are reported respectively to to be 0.500, 0.427 and 0.125 respectively, on page 12 of WT-1315, shown below:

There is earlier Upshot-Knothole nuclear test fallout data on average gamma ray energy in WT-814, based on the measurement of the attenuation of gamma rays by shields of varying thickness, rather than by gamma spectrometry (the electronics needed to discriminate energy intervals from sodium iodine crystal scintillation photomultiplier pulse heights were being developed in the early 1950s).

AFSWP 895: fractionation of Sr89 Ba140 and Mo99 as function of fallout particle diameter in Operation Castle.  Note that Mo-99 is normally unfractionated since it is refractory (has a high melting point), whereas the gaseous precursors in the decay chains of strontium and barium make them effectively volatile, so they don't condense very effectively on fast-falling particles of early fallout.  This graph gives data from samples collected at 18.5 statute miles from ground zero (97,730 feet).  (There is a history of fractionation data collection at nuclear tests on pages 17-19 of Hardtack report WT-1625, other versions of which - with slightly different data deleted in delassification - are located here and here.)

AFSWP 895: measured percentage of fallout radioactivity deposited within 24 hours as a function of scaled nuclear burst altitude. The scaling procedure is to divide the actual height of burst into the cube-root of the weapon yield (i.e. 10 for 1000 kilotons).

AFSWP 895: speed of rotation of radioactive torus or toroidal circulation inside rising fireball from a 30 kiloton nuclear weapon at 1 minute, taken from Dr Kellogg's presentation (he gave an unclassified version, omitting this data on the measured speeds in the vortex, to the unclassified May 1957 congressional hearings on The Nature of Radioactive Fallout and Its Effects on Man).
AFSWP 895: Dr Kellogg's illustration showing why the cloud top heights were inaccurately measured and reported in early H-bomb tests like Mike, whose height was originally wrongly reported as 25 miles not 20 miles, due to horizontal projections from the edge being confused for the top of the cloud.

AFSWP 895: fallout from 1953 Nevada nuclear test Badger of Operation Upshot Knothole showing paths of fallout at different altitudes in the mushroom cloud: because the winds have different speeds and directions at different altitudes, there the cloud separates accordingly and fallout is distributed over a larger area than would be the case without this wind shear.  This diffusion of fallout spreads the same total amount of radioactivity over a greater area, reducing doses and dose rates to lower levels than simplistic predictions (the classic cigar shaped fallout pattern) indicate.
AFSWP 895: fallout distribution in the mushroom head and in the stem of the cloud as used in the US Army Signal Corps fallout prediction method.  Note that 90% is assumed to be in the mushroom head, and that 10% is in the stem (at lower altitudes), but the average size of the particles in the stem are larger than those in the mushroom head.  This type of analysis, based on trying to reconcile theory with observed fallout data, is the source of the statement about the assumed distribution in Glasstone's Effects of Nuclear Weapons.
AFSWP 895: one effort (by Lt Col Lulejian) to reconstruct the fallout distribution across Rongelap Atoll in the 15 megatons Castle Bravo test on 1 March 1954 based on wind data analysis.  This is controversial and possibly very unreliable due to the inclusion of Eniwetok Atoll data (200 miles to the West of Bikini, i.e. 200 miles upwind!).  However, it shows that efforts were being made to try to determine the whole fallout pattern for the January 1955 Fall-Out Symposium.
AFSWP 895: Lulejian's effort to model fallout distribution doses to 48 hours across Rongelap Atoll in the 15 megatons Castle Bravo test on 1 March 1954 based on wind data analysis, combined with radiation measurements made on atoll islands.   The only Castle test where the entire fallout pattern was measured was 13.5 megaton Yankee, using ships and aircraft to survey the ocean and then to correct the measurements for the large protective factor of the water (when the fallout hits the water, most of the activity, whether soluble or in micron sized insoluble metallic particles within the relatively large calcium hydroxide flakes, ends up dispersed within the 100 metre thick surface water above the thermocline, attenuating the surface dose rate to something on the order of 500-1000 times less than the dose rate you get when the same amount of fallout is deposited on a land surface).  1956 Redwing nuclear tests showed that water surface bursts like Yankee in the 80% humidity air of Bikini atoll produce similar local fallout distributions to land surface bursts, and Yankee probably gave a very similar fallout distribution to Bravo's shot time wind fallout pattern.  This is similar to RAND Corporation's analysis of the Bravo fallout.  AFSWP 895 also gives Schuert's elaborate and misleading Bravo fallout reconstruction (later reprinted in USNRDL report WT-915), which puts too much activity in the highest dose rate contours, violating the area versus dose rate plots given by four land and water shots in Redwing, when scaled to 1 fission megaton (see WT-1316, Figure 2.45).  (Also, see Kelloggs testimony on page 105 of the 1957 congressional hearing Nature of Radioactive Fallout and Its Effects on Man, where Kellogg notes that the percentages of local fallout for land and water surface bursts in Redwing were actually very similar, and an earlier analysis to the contrary ignored Na-24 and use the wrong conversion factor between dose rate and activity; unfortunately the corrected data was ignored and the earlier mistaken analysis is quoted by Glasstone and Dolan 1977, and is also quoted by Chuck Hansen in his 1988 book US Nuclear Weapons.  To summarise, the initial analysis of the Flathead and Navajo water surface burst tests of Redwing indicated only about 30% of activity down in 24 hours, but the reanalysis by B. L. Tucker of RAND Corp, allowing for Na-24 and the correct dose rate to fissions conversion factor, gave 65-70%, which is within the error limits on land burst data.  The actual percentage refers to effective gamma dose rates not specific nuclides; refractory nuclides are concentrated on large particles which arrive in local fallout, while volatile nuclides that condense at late times on the remaining very small particles in the cloud, mostly come down later on more distant fallout.)  For Yankee's dose rate versus area data, see table here. (This was discussed in previous posts on this blog.)  There is a detailed discussion of the time and space wind data available for the Marshall Islands around the time of the Bravo shot, here.
AFSWP 895: fallout winds analysis by RAND Corporation for the 15 megatons Castle Bravo test on 1 March 1954 (the USS Curtiss was used as a weather observation ship which sent up balloons, which were tracked by radar to determine the wind pattern as function of altitude over the test site).  (Note that the Figure 6 caption is for Fig 7, shown below, and vice-versa!)

AFSWP 895 fallout in mushroom cloud of the 15 megatons Castle Bravo test on 1 March 1954 as determined by a RAND Corporation analysis. (Note that the Figure 7 caption is for Fig 6, shown above, and vice-versa!)
AFSWP 895: IBM701 computer summation fallout prediction method for 15 megatons Castle Bravo test on 1 March 1954 as determined by a RAND Corporation analysis.  This was developed by Stanley Greenfield of RAND Corporation, who states on page 348: "The first problem that was tried on the machine [an IBM 701 computer] was the Castle-Bravo shot", using the shot time winds measured from the USS Curtiss, a ship near Bikini Atoll.  The predicted Bravo fallout pattern is shown below:
AFSWP 895: IBM701 computer prediction of fallout using shot time winds for 15 megatons Castle Bravo test on 1 March 1954 as determined by a RAND Corporation analysis.  Notice that the fallout is predicted to essentially miss Rongelap Atoll (which is located from roughly 100 nautical miles East to 115 miles ESE, from ground zero).  Hence, there really was a wind shift that contaminated the islanders on the south of Rongelap (and nearby Americans on Rongerik Atoll, just to the east of Rongelap).  Even if the IBM 701 had been available to predict the fallout from Bravo on 1 March 1954, it would not have predicted the danger unless supplemented with a modern weather prediction including the changing wind pattern in the 6-7 hours following the detonation!
AFSWP 895: IBM701 computer prediction of fallout over Bikini Atoll using shot time winds for 15 megatons Castle Bravo test on 1 March 1954 as determined by a RAND Corporation analysis, comparison of measurements to predictions!
AFSWP 895: IBM701 computer prediction of fallout doses from a 50 megaton nuclear test as determined by a RAND Corporation analysis.  Note that the 1500 R dose would be reduced to a survivable 37.5 R by a protection factor of 40, the minimal specification for fallout shelters.
AFSWP 895 IBM701 computer prediction of fallout doses from a 1 megaton nuclear test as determined by a RAND Corporation analysis.  This is using the same model which successfully explained Bravo, and shows that with simple fallout shelters, fallout can be survived.
AFSWP 895: example of tabulated outdoor fallout areas for dose rates and accumulated doses from yields of 1 to 50 megatons.  Many different fallout models were compared in AFSWP-895, differences being due to different weighting in the activity distribution in the cloud and as a function of particle size, which affected how much activity came under the influence of winds blowing in different directions at different altitudes.  However, fallout distributions in the clouds were measured in detail in 1956 Redwing tests (using rockets with radiation meters and radio telemetry of data, see weapon test report WT-1315) and detailed particle size distributions (see WT-1317 and USNRDL-TR-314), so such disagreements are now resolved and fallout is very predictable with modern data from the 1956 Redwing series as well as modern weather prediction computer programs that include jet stream trajectory forecasts.  (Naturally, the ground deposited spectrum of fallout particle sizes at any particular location is biased in favor of the particle sizes that have a falling speed which results in their landing at that location, so this data needs to be backtracked to the cloud from a large number of representative locations to see what the overall distribution of particles is initially in the cloud when the toroidal downdraft has stopped operating.  Cloud samples are also biased in the same kind of way, because the largest fallout particles fall out before a sampling aircraft can safely get near the cloud.  Dr Edward C. Freiling's 1970 book Radionuclides in the environment, contains many papers graphically demonstrating this with data from cloud samples for Pacific shots in Castle, Redwing, and various 1962 Nevada surface bursts, such as Johnie Boy and Small Boy.  There is plenty of data, and shots on the differing soil particle size distributions in Nevada and the Pacific all tend to give a similar particle size distribution, closely approximating an inverse fourth power of particle radius, above 1 micron.)

UPDATES: 30 January 2018

Martha DeMarre of the Nuclear Testing Archive has also kindly supplied a PDF of the 1957 RAND Fallout Symposium (which we've uploaded to internet archive here), which contains an application of Anderson's dynamic fallout model to the 1.2 kiloton Sugar nuclear test in Nevada, 1951, to explain particle size distributions by tracking particles from the crater to their maximum height and then fall (rather than the usual false assumption that fallout occurs from a stabilised cloud).  This is listed on the DOE Opennet site but no PDF was previously available.  It also contains Schuert's demonstration that the time and space variation of the downwind wind structure correctly predicts the 3.53 megaton Zuni fallout pattern of Redwing (which is the only one of his four shot analyses which cannot be adequately analysed using merely shot time winds near ground zero; the other shots more easily predicted being Tewa, Flathead and Navajo), and summaries of the fractionation data for I-131 and several other nuclides in the 5.01 megaton harbour type surface burst Tewa at Bikini Atoll in 1956 in table 2 of appendix B:

1957 RAND Fallout Symposium: 5.01 megaton Tewa fallout radionuclide fractionation (depletion factor for volatile precursor decay chains) versus particle size and type for close-in samples from Bikini Atoll.  Note that I-131 is less severely fractionated than Sr-89, that the larger the fallout particles, the greater the depletion, and that spherical shaped particles have more severe fractionation than angular particles.  This is also seen in Tables 2 and 4 of USNRDL-TR-386 (AD232901) for the "Whim" sample of Zuni fallout (the test is identified in WT-1317): melted (spherical or "altered") particles had only 0.018 of the Sr-89 of unfractionated fission products, whereas unaltered (angular) particles has 0.65 and so were almost unfractionated, so they must have picked up the activity which was left behind after the melted particles were formed.  (For general data on Tewa, see the preliminary report of the test linked here.)  Note that the cloud sample data on Redwing fractionation is summarised in WT-1325, table 3.11 on page 47: fractionation was severest for lower altitudes in the cloud, where larger particles resided.  For example, only 0.51 of the expected unfractionated abundance of Sr-90 was observed at 41,000 feet altitude in the Zuni cloud, compared to a factor of 2 (enrichment) at 55,000 feet in the same cloud.  In table 3.2 on page 42 of the same report, for the 1958 Hardtack tests, it is shown that 1.31 megaton land surface burst Koa deposited 98% of its refractory Mo-99 within 24 hours, contrasted to only 64% of its volatile decay chain for Cs-137.  In the 9 megaton Oak surface burst test (effectively a land surface burst since the 15 feet of water above the reef at ground zero was trivial compared to the fireball radius), the corresponding figures were 89% of Mo-99 and 49% of Cs-137 deposited in 24 hours.  Volatile nuclides are concentrated on small, slow-falling particles located high in the cloud.

1957 RAND Fallout Symposium: Edward A. Schuert's predictions of the fallout hotlines for the 3.53 megaton Zuni test using different assumptions (shot time winds near ground zero, the space and time variation of the winds in the downwind areas through which fallout actually descends, and even vertical motions), compared to the ocean measured fallout intensities extrapolated to a land surface at 1 hour after detonation.

1957 RAND Fallout Symposium: Anderson's U.S. Naval Radiological Defense Laboratory dynamic fallout model analysis of the largest fallout particles (almost 2 mm in diameter) motions in the 1.2 kiloton Sugar test (Nevada, 1951).  Note that contrary to simplistic fallout models which assume that all fallout begins from the stabilised cloud 5 minutes or so after burst, no 1.95 mm diameter fallout particles remained airborne after 3.5 minutes in this test.  Anderson's model starts with dust being raised by the afterwinds from the crater, rising while that updraft force exceeds gravitation, then falling.  In this way, particles of different sizes rise to different peak altitudes in the cloud (the heaviest remaining mostly in the cloud stem, and the smallest rising higher).  This model thus provides the airborne distribution of particle sizes versus altitudes, and predicts fallout arrival times.

1957 RAND Fallout Symposium: Anderson's comparison of predicted accurate fallout distribution (solid line) being deposited 10 minutes after the 1.2 kiloton sugar test, with the inaccurate model prediction based on the false assumption of fallout beginning for all particle at 5 minutes from uniform mushroom distribution (dashed line).  Anderson predicts a smaller average particle size.

Neutron bomb secrets on Opennet: while searching Opennet, I found something else that is vitally important, already available for download as a PDF.  It's Johndale C. Solem's great 1982 Secret Los Alamos report LA-9004 on the neutron bomb, The ultra-low yield antitank weapon, the teeny tiny tacnuke, complete with declassified markings showing it was "Nuclear Weapon Data Sigma 1: Critical Nuclear Weapon Design Information", in a limited edition of just 79 printed copies:


LA-9004 from 1982, secret (now declassified with deletions of design information) states in its abstract (page 3) that: "Estimates of collateral damage indicate that such a device could be used in close proximity to civilian populations with minimal hazard."

LA-9004 then describes the kiloton W79 neutron warhead (44 cm long, 200 lbs including firing system, capable of being fired 32 km from a 8" howitzer), and explains correctly that the whole point of such weapons is to deter the concentrated blitzkrieg assaults that started WWI in 1914 (the invasion of Belgium by concentrated force) and WWII in 1939 (the invasion of Poland by concentrated force).  The principle of concentration of force can be deterred with nuclear weapons, thus preventing the invasions that trigger wars.  By forcing enemies to disperse their forces, any attacks that are made can be dealt with using conventional weapons like handheld anti-tank rockets (no use against concentrated firepower, but useful against dispersed forces), preventing invasion and WWIII:

"Denying an aggressor force the use of massed formations of armor is the single most important aspect of the W79."

LA-9004 then goes on to suggest a lower yield version of the W79 for use against individual tanks, like the Kennedy era portable 0.02 kt W54 that could be fired by individual soldiers, air burst at 15 metres altitude to eliminate local fallout, blast and heat collateral damage.  Page 5:

"Tank crews within 25 m of the weapon would be immediately incapacitated.  Civilian populations 300 m from the point of detonation would be completely safe. ... Beyond 300 m, exposed personnel might be temporarily blinded from looking directly at the detonation, but would suffer no burns to exposed skin. ... The effect of blast on civilian structures near the battlefield would be trivial.  Three hundred metres from the point of detonation windows would rattle but not break. ... the fallout would be expected to be confined to the battlefield itself. ... The principal advantage of such a device in reducing collateral damage from local fallout is that it simply does not produce much in the way of fission fragments or activated weapon debris."

LA-9004 then points out, on pages 7-8, that such a defensive low yield weapon with no significant risk of collateral damage is of no significant use to terrorists, contrasted to easy-to-procure alternatives.

UPDATE (5 February 2018): origins of fallout decay data in Glasstone's Effects of Nuclear Weapons

Martha DeMarre of the Nuclear Testing Archive has kindly supplied a PDF of the US DOE Opennet document NV0060036, the 15 April 1960 draft revision of the fallout decay activity section in Glasstone book The Effects of Nuclear Weapons, which was done by T. G. Brough and Dr Carl F. Miller of the U.S. Naval Radiological Defense Laboratory, California.  We have placed this PDF on internet archive, here.  The reason for investigating this is that the fallout decay graphs and tables in the 1977 edition of Glasstone and Dolan are identical to those in the 1962/4 editions, which differ from the 1957 edition.  Therefore, the current version was developed between 1957-1962, and this chapter revised draft by Brough and Miller from 1960 was clearly influential.  However, it is clear that Glasstone performed extensive additional changes to the 1960 draft before it was published in 1962.

In paragraph 9.6 of the revision, Brough and Miller explain: "the maximum radiation intensity of fallout from megaton detonations occurs at 50 to 75 miles downwind from the explosion centre."

They state in that paragraph that 1 fission megaton of fallout spread uniformly over 10,000 square miles would produce 410 R/hr at 3 feet height, 10 R/hr being neutron induced activity, and then they clearly explain in paragraph that this dose rate in reality the "fractionation losses" (i.e. the observed depletion of volatile nuclides from local fallout): "reduce the above mentioned radiation level at 1 hour from a value of 410 to 162 roentgens per hour."  This is far more specific and quantitative than the vague, entirely qualitative discussion of fractionation that made it into the 1962-1977 book!

Above: Brough and Miller's calculated revision to Glasstone's 1957 Effects of Nuclear Weapons fallout decay rate and accumulated dose graphs, which differ from those actually published in the 1962-77 editions!  Paragraph 9.111 at page 21 of their draft chapter revision also explains clearly than Glasstone's final version, just how the gamma ray energy of fallout varies with time and with the 0.105 MeV low energy contribution to the gamma ray spectrum caused by the neutron induced Np-239 content which is inevitable in dirty weapons with U-238 jackets that capture neutrons, and are not solely fissioned by neutrons (a fact essential for understanding how much shielding is needed to protect yourself against it, bearing in mind that fallout protection factors are calculated using the standard pseudo assumption that the gamma rays are like those from cobalt-60, which emits 1.17 and 1.33 MeV high energy gammas, a mean of 1.25 MeV, way higher than fallout):

"... the weighted mean energy of the gamma rays is about 0.92 Mev/photon at 1 hour after fission.  The mean value decreases with time during the first and second day after fission, and remains between 0.5 and 0.6 Mev/photon up to about 3 weeks after fission ... If the mixture contained neutron induced activities, such as U-239 - Np-239 in large amounts, the mean energy at early times would be much lower."

They even gave a table (Table 9.111 in the draft) showing that the mean energy of fission product gamma rays is 0.61 MeV (less than half the 1.25 MeV Co-60 average) at 24 hours, and 0.52 MeV at 2 days after burst, and remains around 0.5 MeV for the rest of the standard 2 week civil defense fallout sheltering period!  This is without the reduction caused by the very low energy gamma rays from neutron induced Np-239 and U-237.

These facts, deleted from Glasstone's published final version, reflect WT-1317 coauthor Dr Terry Triffet's June 1959 round table conference testimony on page 205 of the US Congressional Hearings on the Biological and Environmental Effects of Nuclear War, where he explains that this low gamma ray energy in dirty weapons increases the protective factor of shelters far above that usually assumed!

Brough and Miller's draft revision states at page 27 that their decay rates assume 8 MeV neutron fission of U-238, giving at 1 hour after burst 3600 R/hr per fission kiloton yield deposited per square mile, which is reduced to 1480 R/hr by fractionation, to which Np-239 adds 144 R/hr (this is a small percentage contribution at 1 hour, but becomes a much bigger contribution at 96 hours after burst due to differing decay rates of fission products and Np-239 which has a half life of 56 hours).

Update (8 March 2018): double agent Sergei Skripal and daughter Yulia nerve agent skin contamination in Salisbury on Sunday 4 March 2018.

Inhalation or ingestion in food of nerve agents produces symptoms too rapidly (i.e. a matter of seconds) for Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia to have walked capably as seen on CCTV video at 3:47 pm on Sunday to a bench where they were found with totally "white eyes" (i.e. the pupils contracted to invisibly small points due to nerve agent) at 4:03 pm.  At 4:15pm police and paramedics arrived and were contaminated, suffering injury.

The victims would have collapsed where they were exposed, with no contamination to others, if poisoned by any nerve agent through ingestion or inhalation at the Zizzi restaurant in Salisbury.  Skin absorption is much slower, since the dead layer of skin (tens of microns thick) slows down the infusion of nerve agent into the blood stream and thence to nerve endings.

Eye pupils contract to invisibly tiny points due to muscle contraction, so that the eyes appear totally white and glazed; a temporary nerve agent effect that lasts until atropine is administered:

"Her eyes were just completely white, they were wide open, but just white and she was frothing at the mouth." - Jamie Paine, eyewitness.

Eyewitnesses Jamie Paine, Freya Church and Graham Mulcock said that Yulia was unconcious, while Sergei had lost his sight, but could still move his arm past his eyes while slumped, facing the sky.

Colonel Skripal of the Russian FSB (Putin's successor to KGB) was British Intelligence MI6's most valuable double agent for ten years, and gave us the details of Russian agents working in the West, for which he was sentenced as a traitor to 13 years in jail by Putin in 2006.  But in 2010, he was traded with the infamous Russian honey trap spy, "Anna Chapman" (aka Anna Kushchyenko, born 1982) and 9 others in a spy swap.  President Putin declared at that time that Skripal and other defectors were "traitors" who "will kick the bucket" because they had "betrayed their friends, their brothers in arms. Whatever they got in exchange - those 30 pieces of silver - they will choke on them." 
Putin is seeking 70% of the vote and another 6 years in power in the forthcoming Russian elections, to be held on 18 March.  Because defectors are "traitors" to the Russian Nationalists who vote for Putin, their assassination may be politically helpful.  In addition, it may deter opponents of Putin from standing in his way.  In 2006, the FSB was granted the Russian legal authority to liquidate enemies abroad, on Putin's orders.  Former Colonel Alexander Litvinenko was then assassinated with Po-210 (of Russian isotopic composition) in his teapot by Russian agents, in a London restaurant in 2006.  
After Skripal was traded for Russian spies in 2010, he bought a £260,000 four-bedroom house in Salisbury with cash, and reportedly gave guest lectures about the FSB to British military students.  Skripal was described as friendly and happy by local shopkeeper Ebru Ozturk, 41, and by his neighbour James Puttock.  However, he was very impatient with the delay of service of his lunch in the Zizzi restaurant after arriving at 2:30pm.  This possibly suggests that he had a meeting scheduled for around 3:30pm (with assassin?).  It is even possible that the meeting was deliberately scheduled to occur on the bench they were found on, the seat being sprayed with liquid nerve agent by the assassin, so that no face-to-face meeting occurred (i.e. they may have been poisoned by sitting on the seat).

Paragraph 20 in the 1972 Medical Manual of Defence Against Chemical Agents (Ministry of Defence publication J.S.P. 312) explains this difference in symptoms following inhalation/ingestion and (slower) skin absorption, and the fact that the policeman treating the victims himself was contaminated and seriously affected proves that the source must have been skin contamination:

Nerve gas symptoms of Sergei Skripal suggest slow acting skin contamination.  That book recommends for treatment a dose of 4 grams of Pralidoxime Mesylate (so-called "oxime" in chemical warfare jargon) every 6 hours, in conjunction with sufficient atropine to relax muscles (i.e. to return the eye pupils from tiny points to normal size, 2mm diameter or so, and to return the heart rate to normal 72/minute).

The weather was relatively cool (around 7-10C) that Sunday afternoon, with a thaw that day melting all of the record early spring snowfall across Britain that had occurred on 28 February-1 March, so liquids would have evaporated gradually from skin, leaving contamination present for the time scale of the pre-hospitalisation emergency.  The manual also gives a nice differential diagnosis table (Table V, pages 45-46) specifically to IMMEDIATELY identify the type of nerve gas poisoning, from a proper, full analysis of all the symptoms observed (and to distinguish other gases):

The point about the differential diagnosis table for chemical warfare symptoms is that you regularly see baffled and confused reporters on TV news talking about the symptoms seen in various gas attacks in Syria, which is simply unnecessary.  This military UK chemical war medicine book was published in 1972 by H. M. Stationery Office (UK government bookshop/publisher), with unclassified, unlimited distribution permitted.

Ironically, the corresponding 1965 UK government civil defence manual, The Detection and Identification of War Gases, was classified Restricted (banning it from the eyes of the "free" press).  It contains very useful data in Table I (page 47) on the evaporation rates, relative to water, of nerve gases.  For example, nerve liquids tabun and sarin are stated to take 86 times and 2.95 times, respectively longer to evaporate than water at 15C.

For mustard gas and lewisite (not nerve gases, but blister agents) the table gives evaporation times, respectively, 58 and 9.5 times slower than water.  This kind of comparison with water seems more useful to really grasping the nature of the threat by understanding the persistence of liquid nerve agents, than the usual statements giving specific persistence times  in hours in most chemical war handbooks (these times are usually for something like for 90% of a deposit of 10 grams/square metre to evaporate under standard laboratory conditions, or for a range of different surfaces, which makes the data hard to comprehend and understand by reference to normal experiences).  We all know that the persistence of water spills and droplets depends on their size, on the temperature, etc.  Giving persistence relative to water is more helpful for grasping the magnitude of the delayed hazard.

Some additional interesting facts that the media are not alluding to at present:

(1) This nerve liquid poisoning of former double agent Colonel Skripal, aged 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33, seems at first glance to have been bungled by the FSB (Putin's modernised KGB), just as the poisoning of former FSB agent Alexander Litvinenko by alpha radiation from Po-210 in his teapot (which has longish 138 days half life!) in London in 2006.  Why use these agents, nerve agents and radioactive materials which can be fingerprinted to Lubyanka Moscow FSB headquarters (by isotopic impurities and so on, since Po-210 is produced by irradiating bismuth with neutrons in a reactor, the results depending on irradiation time)?  Why not use a commonplace chemical poison bought in Britain, or shoot the person?  Thus, clearly Putin's FSB is deliberately sending out a signal to deter dissidents by making them fear the reach of Russian influence abroad, in Britain.  He is not trying to quietly make people disappear, but to provoke terror.

(2) This is an old tactic, reminding us of Stalin's order for his enemy Trotsky (author of The Revolution Betrayed, an attack on Stalin) to be eliminated by an agent using an ice pick in Mexico (a country that never gets ice!), or of the umbrella-type injector used to fire a small pellet containing lethal ricin into the back of the thigh of Bulgarian (Warsaw Pact) communist dissident Georgi Markov, aged 49, at a bus stop in London on 7 September 1978.  Markov had been standing at the bus stop to get a bus to the BBC at Bush House.  Four days later he died in hospital in London from ricin poisoning.  His was a slow, painful death that allowed the assassin to escape and led to blanket news scare stories that probably deterred other dissidents from speaking out against communist Bulgaria.

This is probably the point about the skin contamination with nerve liquid on Sunday and the teapot contaminated with polonium-210 twelve years ago: these poisons acted slowly enough to allow the assassins to escape Scot free (which would be less likely if the attack was clearer to identify, such as an assassin's gun shot), and also maximised the suffering of the victims, thereby making news headlines and thus helping to deter future episodes.  Most dissidents will probably shut up and hide away now.  It does however bring back memories of the Cold War.

The prolonging of the Syrian civil war to help Moscow's friend Assad win, by Russian vetoes on (pseudo) "United Nations" propaganda lies (a nasty fascist tactic to prolong terror by replacing actions with double talk and utopian fantasy, costing many thousands of lives), and the invasion of Eastern Ukraine and the seizure of Crimea in January 2014 have already shown the situation plainly.  Is Russia really that impoverished?  It doesn't have the colossal national debts (trillions of dollars, trillions of pounds) that West has.  Overall, the "wealth" of the West is more or less cancelled out by its debt obligations.  Russia's economy is weak compared to the West, but by the very fact, it is more resilient to crises on stock markets, debt interest rate hikes, and so on.  It is investing heavily in new nuclear weapon delivery systems, according to Putin's recent 1 March 2018 speech to Russia's Federal Assembly, such as underwater nuclear drones.

Above: President Putin is taking the approach of Ronald Reagan or "Iron Lady" Thatcher by standing up to the West and its allies, including dissidents such as Colonel Sergei Skripal, which boosts his popularity for forthcoming Russian elections.  In a way, he is justified in asserting Russian nationalism and challenging the Western hostility towards Russia that is hypocritical in that, as soon as someone like Trump is elected, or Brexit is voted in, the socialist media goes off democracy!  Certainly if you want strong leadership, Putin is that.  Similarly, Islam is a strong religion in the sense that its followers are generally less hypocritical and undisciplined than many Christians.  It boils down to moral compass values: do you put principled ideals ahead of practical realities, like military power and enforcing discipline?  We can respect Putin for his toughness, without agreeing with everything he does.

We should use Cold War successes to deter the kind of invasions that trigger off major wars.  Appeasement was a not a failure because Chamberlain went to meet the dictators in September 1938; it was a failure because, when he went, he lacked the military power to make his wishes credible (Reagan met Gorbachev at the October 1987 summit with a very different outcome, because Reagan's handshake "appeasement" was backed up with immense thermonuclear power!).  The lesson is that you get peace only when you negotiate from a position of strength, not weakness.

Update (13 March 2018):

Russia has been given until midnight to explain how the Russian made nerve agent came to be used against a Russian dissident in the UK.  The nerve agent was named by the British Government yesterday as Russian Novichok class (the Russian for "newcomer"), some of which are reportedly 5-8 times more lethal than VX (which North Korea used last year at an airport to eliminate Kim Jong-Nam, the defector and half brother of dictator Kim Jong-Un).  Novichok works in the same way as all other organophosphate nerve agents, causing muscles to contract tightly by inhibiting the enzyme acetylcholinesterase which normally breaks down acetylcholine, the chemical that triggers muscular contraction.  Therefore, atropine is still valid and helps to counteract Novichok by relaxing muscles.

The UK government's response, in waiting a week before instructing almost 500 people who were in the affected areas to wash their clothes and wipe their phones clean, seems to be the usual groupthink civil defence bureaucracy which combines official secrecy with fear of causing a panic, and ends up giving out advice that is so over-simplified that it appears to be directed at two-year-olds.  The ultimatum to Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who has the same poker faced lawyer mentality of the USSR's Brezhnev era Andrei Gromyko (who denied the existence of Russian missiles in Cuba to President Kennedy's face in 1962), is likely to lead to an escalation of the crisis, instead of deterring aggression and thus keeping civil relations.  Sanctions failed against Japan (1937-1941) and Iraq (1992-2002), unlike credible deterrence (i.e. Reagan's experience, in the 1980s).

Update (18 March 2018):

Britain's Foreign Secretary has disclosed that there is evidence Russia has for the past 10 years been building up an illegal stockpile of Novichok nerve agent, contrary to its treaty obligations:

Boris Johnson has said the UK is in possession of evidence that Russia has been exploring nerve-agent based assassinations and that the country has been stockpiling deadly chemical weapons in the last decade. 
The Foreign Secretary in particular claimed Britain has reason to believe Moscow has been collecting the “military grade” Novichok nerve agent that the UK Government says was deployed in the Salisbury attack. 
He made the comments moments after a senior Russian diplomat claimed his country has no stockpile of any nerve agent, and even suggested the source of the chemical used in Salisbury was the UK’s Porton Down military laboratory.

This has implications for other Russian weapons of mass destruction, for example their nuclear weapons stockpile figures, which may similarly be misleading.  In other words, there is reason to distrust claims of disarmament in accordance to paper treaties, just as occurred from 1933 onward in Germany.  Because you acquire a signed declaration, you feel assured that you have achieved peace.  If, however, one side is dishonest, then your confidence becomes not only groundless, but dangerously deceptive, because you will point to the paper and signature as an excuse to disarm relative to the (secretly rearming) aggressor.

After the 1930s "disarmament of Germany" delusion, "arms control" used international inspectors to verify the crushing of specific numbers of missile shells, i.e. the relatively large delivery systems.  However, as we saw when arms control inspectors were trying to assess Iraq's WMDs before 2002, it is harder to police chemical war agents and even the small masses of nuclear fissile materials inside warheads, due to secrecy and the amounts of material involved.  Iraq probably hid its chemical weapons in barrels under the desert sands, where they remain.  Is that "destruction" or "stockpiling"?  Just because you can't readily find a needle in the proverbial haystack, does that disprove that the needle exists there somewhere? Or is it more like a game of hide and seek?


Russian now has illegal stockpiles of Novichok nerve gas for war use, which it denies having. Due to the appeasement of Putin, there are 346,000 confirmed dead in Syria, another 56,900 missing presumed dead, 13,100,000 living in misery, and 5,600,000 refugees. In August 2012, President Obama, who had already received the Nobel Peace Prize, stated that the: "red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilised." Putin supplied Assad to gas 400 kids and 1,100 adults in Damascus. President Obama withdrew his stated "red line". Last April, Trump ordered retaliation against Assad's air base in response to Assad's sarin attack on Khan Sheikhoun. Too little, too late. But Trump was not President when the Syrian war began at Deraa in March 2011, when Assad massacred pro-democracy supporters. Somebody else was. Guess who?

Again, I'll repost the following call for common sense in the face of this new gas threat:

Daily Express columnist calls for gas mask civil defence, Daily Express, 15 April 2017, page 19.
Doubtless, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will continue to hurl abuse at anyone who wants civil defence to help save lives, but at least he is thereby showing his true colours of anti-Western hatred:

Jeremy Corbyn's BBC "Newsnight" propaganda poster (the hat is NOT photoshopped to look like Lenin's - it was a copy of Lenin's in the original which fits into all of Corbyn's Marxist dogmatism, contrary to claims that the BBC is against Corbyn which is "fake news"), to maximise his Communist fan base vote, supporting Putin to gas kids in Syria.  Source of poster: click here. (For more on Corbyn's hatred of the truth, please see the previous blog post or this article; the pseudo-liberal, democracy hating, nuclear effects lying mindset is the same as the German leader elected in 1933 on a promise of eugenics pseudoscience, borrowing money to supposedly "invest" in national debt for unprofitable nationalised industry, and then provoking a war to divert attention from the economic failure due to the debt problems.  That's "socialism" in a nutshell; we have covered Jeremy Corbyn's CND ranting lies against simple lifesaving civil defence for use in Syria again and again.  He ignores it all.  But Russia is not the sole problem; the "socialists" support ALL terrorists and thugs in the ill-informed belief that they can exploit it for "divide and rule" politics.  This is why they supported IRA bombers, the USSR, ISIS, and the Nazis who invaded Poland JOINTLY with the USSR in 1939, a collaboration of racist terrorists and evil mass murderers that lasted until June 1941!  Until the media, historians, and scientists begin to face up to the unvarnished facts about the "communist" racists, they will continue as they did in 1936, when many attended the Nazi Olympics (instead of at least boycotting it!), and simply ignored the terrorism by uncritically accepting the enemy propaganda lies for "peace".  Their idea of "peace" is genocide in concentration camps, denouncing deterrence and civil defense to be "warmongering", and so on! They are completely deluded by fascist Marxism, an intolerance of free speech and objective criticisms!)

Update (22 March 2018) on the Novichok A234 nerve agent and Russian denials/propaganda

Novichok nerve agent A234 used by Putin against Britain in an attack on 4 March 2018 is today the top news for chemistry experts.

"Novichok – choline esterase inhibitors (Novichok 5 and Novichok 7). They are effecting very rapidly, penetrate through the skin and respiratory system. Novichok 5 exceeds effectiveness of soman by 10 times and of VX by 5 to 8 times. Novichok 5 (Substance A-232) and its ethyl-analog (Substance A-234) can be produced in binary form by using acetonitrile and an organic phosphate compound.12 System of agent A232 components was successfully tested in Nukus Uzbekistan, in the military chemical proving ground in 1992. Existence of the “Foliant” program and Novichok were revealed in 1992 by chemists Lev Fedorov and Vil Mirzayanov in an article of the newspaper Moscow News. ... Russia has officially never acknowledged the existence of the group Novichok." 
- GYÖRGYI VÁSÁRHELYI and LÁSZLÓ FÖLDI, "History of Russia’s chemical weapons", AARMS HISTORY, Volume 6, issue No. 1 (2007), pages 135–146. 

One depiction of the chemical structure of the Novichok A234 agent which was illegally used by Russia to commit a terrorist act in Britain, 4 March 2018.  In olden times, this would have constituted an act of war, not an opportunity for Stalinist propaganda from Russia.  Britain can test the properties of such chemicals in powerful chemical molecule simulations by computer, or by using trace amounts.  Contrary to Russian propaganda, this is entirely different from making enough of the agent in a military grade for an attack.  The evidence points strongly towards Putin, since he is behind covert attacks on Ukraine, Georgia, Crimea, London in 2006 using radioactive Po-210, and supplying Assad with nerve gas in Syria.

"Much of what is publicly known about Novichok agents comes from Vil Mirzayanov, an analytical chemist who worked for the State Research Institute of Organic Chemistry and Technology (GosNIIOKhT), a notorious chemical weapons laboratory. Mirzayanov developed methods to detect nerve agents created and tested in the U.S.S.R.’s chemical weapons facilities. His techniques would be used to monitor the environment for any traces of the agents that might reveal the labs’ activities to foreign intelligence services. 
"In the late 1980s, Mirzayanov’s analytical techniques revealed that nerve agents were befouling the air and water around one of these facilities, posing a major health risk. So he went public, revealing details of the U.S.S.R.’s chemical weapons program to Moscow News in 1992. Officials arrested and imprisoned Mirzayanov, but eventually dropped the case against him. In 1995, he immigrated to the U.S., where he subsequently wrote a book about his experiences, titled “State Secrets: An Insider’s Chronicle of the Russian Chemical Weapons Program. Mirzayanov writes that the USSR produced a few tons of Novichok-5 and tens of tons of Novichok-7.  According to Tucker, the USSR carried out open-air tests of Novichok-5 in the early 1990s on the Ustyurt Plateau, a desert area ... Novichok-5 and -7 act very rapidly, penetrating the skin and respiratory system."

The Novichok A234 nerve agent (the ethyl analog of Novichok-5) used in the UK has probably helped foster popularity for Putin (by reinforcing the eternal myth that Russia is surrounded by aggressive imperialists) in the recent Russian elections whereby he was re-elected for a fourth term; another 6 years as Russian President or dictator in effect, due to his tough suppression of any credible alternatives/critics.

Russian propaganda in the UK is, as in the Cold War, now exploiting the UK's pathetic bureaucratic official secrecy system to claim some conspiracy theory, that the evidence for Novichok A234 is a British invention, just as they did 12 years ago for the Po-210 poisoning.  My opinion on secrecy follows that of Edward Teller (see link at the top of this blog post to Teller's call for less secrecy).  We need to declassify what we know about Novichok nerve agent A234, to destroy this propaganda.

Please also see recent comments to this post concerning the need for an urgent effort to stockpile CREDIBLE nuclear deterrents and also civil defense countermeasures against invasions by Russian troops supported by Novichok nerve agent.  Waiting for another crisis before acting may be too late.

In 2008, the former USSR chemical warfare scientist Dr Vil S. Mirzayanov (born 1935 in Russia) exposed Russian Novichok nerve gas research in his book State Secrets: An Insider's Chronicle of the Russian Chemical Weapons Program.  The continuing denial by Russia is proof that they are being as dishonest about Novichok as they were about Russian missiles in Cuba in October 1962, when Kennedy had to declassify and publish on TV top secret photos of missiles taken from a U2 spy plane.  The West needs to declassify the truth to debunk enemy obfuscation and propaganda.
Dr Vil Mirzayanov - the Russian inventor of Novichok nerve gas, with a publicity poster for his 2008 book which exposed Russian nerve gas warfare work - responding to the 4 March 2018 attack by Russia against the United Kingdom (Credit: Daily Mail.)

Dr Mirzayanov has recently described the horrifying effects of his invention, Novichok:

Vil Mirzayanov described the use of the lethal toxins as a 'brazen' attack by Vladimir Putin, who 'thinks he can use everything to kill enemies'.  Mr Mirzayanov says a large dose of Novichok 'paralyses' victims before 'it causes convulsions, you can't breathe and after that you die'.  The exiled scientist shocked the world in 1992 when he revealed that promises by the Soviet Union to reduce its chemical weapon stockpiles were hollow.  He worked in the top-secret Moscow laboratory where a new generation of even more potent poisons was being perfected. These gruesome chemical weapons, named 'Novichok' after the Russian for 'newcomer', were designed to be even more lethal than VX or sarin.  At the time, one former top Soviet military adviser described them as 'political weapons', adding: 'They have a powerful moral and psychological effect.' ...
Speaking from his home in New Jersey last night, Mr Mirzayanov, 83, described the top-secret laboratory as a 'criminal enterprise'.
'It's a brazen attack,' he said. 'Putin thinks he can use everything to kill enemies. They don't tolerate any opponents. They should be punished. It's an open demonstration of this Russian terrorism.  The Russian government is telling people who are thinking about revealing more secrets that they can expect the same fate.'  Asked how the nerve agent works, he added: 'It's for paralysing people, it causes you convulsions and you can't breathe and after that you die. If you get enough of a dose of it.  It's real torture, it's impossible to imagine. Even in low doses the pain can go on for weeks. You cannot imagine the horror, it's so bad.' 
The Novichok family of nerve agents were secretly developed over two decades at a research facility 50 miles outside the Russian capital. ... 
Describing his work, Mr Mirzayanov said: 'They were normal laboratories, they were not underground or anything. They were testing and developing.  There were around 1,000 people working on this, it was a big deal. You have to test it on animals and after that you have to study the chemical properties... so many laboratories were involved.' 
In 1987, one physicist at the laboratory was saved despite being exposed to the chemical when a ventilator stopped working. Witnesses described how he staggered out of the room, describing seeing bright hallucinations before collapsing and being rushed to hospital by the KGB. He was left with permanent injuries after being critically ill for ten days and unable to walk for six months. 

Above: In his 2008 book about Novichok, Dr Mirzayanov discredits the so-called Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (CWC) as being a deliberately loop-hole filled Russian negotiated front to allow Russia to build up a clandestine stockpile of nerve gas, which Russia lied about.  In the book Dr Mirzayanov explains that, after he had disclosed the facts of Novichok to the media in September 1992, the successor to the KGB arrested him for "disclosing state secrets", hardly an action they would take if Russia's stockpile of illegal Novichok nerve gas was imaginary or a joke.

He was sent to Matrosskaya Tishina maximum security prison as punishment.  He states in the book that the Russians attached sixty "secret and top secret" Russian government reports on Novichok to his indictment, which he was able to: "copy out legally during my study of the case materials ... 51 of them are attached to this book in the Annexes.  From these documents, it is possible to get some idea of how the Novichok program ... was going on in the Soviet Union, then in Russia."

So there are actual secret and top secret classified Russian documents on Novichok that discredit Russian denials as complete lies.  Dr Mirzayanov also explains in his 2008 book that the chemical arms control delusions have failed with Novichok: "After his nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize and Russia's signing of the Agreement on the Nonproduction and Elimination of Chemical Weapons (CWC) on September 23, 1989, by Edward Shevardnadze, Mikhail Gorbachev ... signed Resolution no 844-186 of the Central Committee of CPSU and Council of Ministers on October 6, 1989, sanctioning the start up of the binary [Novichok nerve gas] weapons program.  Already a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Gorbachev on April 23, 1991 awarded the Lenin Prize to the leaders of the Military Chemical Complex for the successful development, testing and production of these arms.  Despite the fall of the Communist regime, the Novichok program continued ..."