Thursday, April 13, 2017

Borepatch, Bringing You The News Two Months Before Reuters

Back on the 24th of February, I observed that North Korea has the world's 3rd largest stockpile of chemical weapons and that bolting a tank of human insecticide on top of a missile would be a lot easier than getting a nuke ready to launch.

Reuters is reporting today, in the world news, that Japan is reporting the possibility that North Korea has missiles topped with chemical weapons.

Of course they do. But I don't think it will be Sarin, I think it will be VX.

"The median lethal exposure (for VX)—the exposure required to kill half of a tested population—as estimated for 70 kg human males has been reported: the median lethal dose (LD50) via exposure to the skin is reported to be 10 mg (0.00035 oz), and the lethal concentration time (LCt50), measuring the concentration of the vapor in milligrams per cubic meter (m3) per length of time exposed in minutes, is estimated for VX to be 30–50 mg·min/m3."
--Types of Chemical Weapons: Nerve Agents [Table. Toxicological Data]: Federation of American Scientists(2013)


Sean D Sorrentino said...

As someone who has been through the Army's live nerve agent chamber when it was at Ft McClellan, Alabama, I can tell you that the primary difference between VX and Sarin(GB) is GB alcohol based and vaporizes quickly while VX is oil based, doesn't vaporize much at all, and basically never goes away. GB will kill you if you breathe the vapor, VX doesn't vaporize, so you have to touch the liquid.

The choice of which to use is dependent on what effect they want. If they want a lot of people to die, use GB. If they want to make an area basically uninhabitable, use VX. They always told us that if VX got used, it would end up on the bottom of fence rails and mailboxes and such. They couldn't possibly decontaminate it all, so for years afterwards, people would brush up against it, absorb some VX stuck to the bottom of things, and die horrible deaths.

I don't think there's really much difference in lethality. It's just how long it lasts and how it gets absorbed.

R.K. Brumbelow said...

Both target the same enzyme at the molecular level, but you are, of course right. VX is an area denial weapon were Sarin as it is water soluable tends to move into the water table where it is broken down fairly quickly. Of course it is not uncommon to mix the two so as to achieve both area denial and immediate death, we are talking about Best Korea, so it will just as likely explode on the pad as over the ocean.