Nuclear Propulsion Neg

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Atmosphere DA (1/2)

Project Orion would destroy the atmosphere
Montgomerie 3 (Ian, professional alternate historian, Dec 31, [] AD: 7-6-11, jam)

The biggest environmental problem associated with Orion is radioactive contamination from a ground launch. The people working on Orion produced some very rosy estimates of atmospheric contamination, roughly 1% of that produced by all atmospheric nuclear testing. Unfortunately, they based these figures on fission-free fusion bombs, a technology that they expected was just around the corner but which turned out not to be. Nuclear fission releases quite a lot of contamination compared to nuclear fusion. Since fusion bombs need a fission bomb to start their explosion, this means that actual nuclear weapons all tend to be fairly dirty. A fission bomb is nearly as dirty as a fusion bomb because most of a fusion bomb's contamination comes from its fission "trigger". The people working on Orion assumed that it would be able to use fusion bombs without a fission trigger, which would be extremely clean. Such a technology did not, however, arrive like they expected it would. This means that their original estimates of Orion contamination were off by an extraordinary amount. The launch of an actual Orion based on fission bombs would involve more than a megaton of fission explosions in the atmosphere, from perhaps 350 fission bombs (many would have an artificially reduced yield, but that doesn't reduce the amount of radioactive plutonium needed for them). While most of the explosions would not be near the ground and thus would not create direct fallout, the radioactive remains of the bombs themselves would be spread across the Earth. The radiation release from this would actually be very high. It was high enough that the US government of the 50s and 60s, which was conducting regular atmospheric nuclear testing, had serious misgivings about the amount of contamination Orion would produce. We are not talking about some stereotypical 90s "tree huggers" here, we are talking about the US government in the 50s and early 60s and even it was willing to concede that there was a limit to the amount of radiation that should be spewed into the atmosphere.
That kills the ozone layer
Garcia et al 8 (Rolando R., Atmospheric Chemistry Division @ National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), Michael J. Mills, Owen B. Toon, Richard P. Turco, and Douglas E. Kinnison, Project Scientists @ NCAR, Apr 7, [] AD: 7-6-11, jam)

We use a chemistry-climate model and new estimates of smoke produced by fires in contemporary cities to calculate the impact on stratospheric ozone of a regional nuclear war between developing nuclear states involving 100 Hiroshima-size bombs exploded in cities in the northern subtropics. We find column ozone losses in excess of 20% globally, 25–45% at midlatitudes, and 50–70% at northern high latitudes persisting for 5 years, with substantial losses continuing for 5 additional years. Column ozone amounts remain near or <220 Dobson units at all latitudes even after three years, constituting an extratropical “ozone hole.” The resulting increases in UV radiation could impact the biota significantly, including serious consequences for human health. The primary cause for the dramatic and persistent ozone depletion is heating of the stratosphere by smoke, which strongly absorbs solar radiation. The smoke-laden air rises to the upper stratosphere, where removal mechanisms are slow, so that much of the stratosphere is ultimately heated by the localized smoke injections. Higher stratospheric temperatures accelerate catalytic reaction cycles, particularly those of odd-nitrogen, which destroy ozone. In addition, the strong convection created by rising smoke plumes alters the stratospheric circulation, redistributing ozone and the sources of ozone-depleting gases, including N2O and chlorofluorocarbons. The ozone losses predicted here are significantly greater than previous “nuclear winter/UV spring” calculations, which did not adequately represent stratospheric plume rise. Our results point to previously unrecognized mechanisms for stratospheric ozone depletion.

Atmosphere DA (2/2)

Causes extinction
Busman and Belen 9 (Joelle and Cary, The U of Michigan, Department of Geological Sciences, Jan 4, [] AD: 7-6-11, jam)

The ozone layer is essential for human life. It is able to absorb much harmful ultraviolet radiation, preventing penetration to the earths surface. Ultraviolet radiation (UV) is defined as radiation with wavelengths between 290-320 nanometers, which are harmful to life because this radiation can enter cells and destroy the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) of many life forms on planet earth. In a sense, the ozone layer can be thought of as a UV filter or our planet’s built in sunscreen (, 1998). Without the ozone layer, UV radiation would not be filtered as it reached the surface of the earth. If this happened, cancer would break out and all of the living civilizations, and all species on earth would be in jeopardy (, 1998). Thus, the ozone layer essentially allows life, as we know it, to exist.

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