Gamma-Ray Measurements of a Soviet Cruise-Missile Warhead

Science  18 May 1990:
Vol. 248, Issue 4957, pp. 828-834
DOI: 10.1126/science.248.4957.828


A portable germanium detector was used to detect gamma-ray emissions from a nuclear warhead aboard the Soviet cruiser Slava. Measurements taken on the missile launch tube indicated the presence of uranium-235 and plutonium-239—the essential ingredients of nuclear weapons. With the use of this equipment, these isotopes probably could have been identified at a distance of 4 meters from the warhead. Such inspections do not reveal detailed information about the design of the warhead.