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The race is on!

The arms race during the Cold War featured the US and Soviet Union competing against one another to have a greater military force.  It looks like another arms race, except on a much more relaxing level, is on again.  The Los Alamos National Laboratory and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory are competing to see which lab will be able to construct the first new nuclear bomb made in the United States in two decades.  In 2005, the "reliable replacement warhead" program was started to try and replace aging, unreliable bombs.  The new nuclear bomb has been under development for around a year in both labs. 

The designs from both labs must have the same explosive power as existing warheads in the US arsenal.  One of the goals of the contest is to have a new weapon that will not be as likely to accidentally detonate and one that will be much more secure than the weapons the US currently possesses.  Each laboratory's plans will be presented to the Nuclear Weapons Council with the council choosing a winner before 2007.

Interestingly enough, LANL also recently put out an announcement that the national laboratory is accepting proposals for the fastest supercomputer in the world, capable of operating at one petaflop -- significantly more than even the fastest supercomputers are capable of today.


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RE: Nifty
By Stele on 6/14/2006 8:51:04 AM , Rating: 3
Interesting news, to say the least. It's a bit odd though, that while we rain fire and brimstone on any country that takes any step that may even remotely lead to building nuclear weapons, we happily build some spanking new ones of our own - and have some fun by organising a competition to do so too. Such a policy would probably come across as double standards to other countries and is possibly a reason some don't take our threats seriously... it's just a case of pot calling the kettle black.

If we mean to rid the world of nukes no nation should have any at all - least of all simply because one nation self-proclaims it to be the Good and Righteous One. To use nukes just to rattle sabres would only provoke belligerent nations further - hell if we nuke 'em we would kill a few hundred thousand people who probably aren't very well off in life in all senses of the word (economically, socially, politically etc). If they just drop one warhead on Seattle or New York it'd be pandemonium. Back a rat into a corner and watch it bite - it's got nothing left to lose.

The supercomputer is not too surprising, given its traditional and prominent role in simulation nuclear explosions. Their importance in this field grew exponentially after the moratoriums on live test detonations... now the behaviour of various warhead designs could be tested, measured and tweaked without as much as a boom and perhaps even more accurately than with live tests. The more powerful the computer, the faster it can model the explosion, and more accurately too because it can compute and handle more variables and parameters simultaneously.


RE: Nifty
By shadowzz on 6/14/2006 8:58:25 AM , Rating: 2
You know if we had radiation scrubbers like in GITS, I honestly don't think nuclear proliferation would even occur at all. The horrifying part about nukes is that they make everything problematic in the long run -- not so much the fact that the initial destuctive force is overwhelming.

True, a nuke could take out a city - but honestly where is the need for something like that, ever? And at what insane cost too (materials, know-how, etc). If a terrorist wanted to take out a city its a hell of a lot easier to get an areosal can full of anthrax.

In any case, radiation scrubbers would effectively eliminate the need for nukes overnight I think. Now someone go invent some nanomachines capable of scrubbing radiation.


RE: Nifty
By fungry on 6/14/2006 10:53:38 AM , Rating: 2
ermmm the pricing of uranium [used in nukes] is extroadinarily cheaper then purchasing TNT and other bomb substances.

Uranium is cheap compared to other things. Which is why US presidents such as kennedy and nixon and such, did such campaigns to help boost their votes. treaties like Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) and Nuclear Utilisation Treaty (NUT)


RE: Nifty
By Samus on 6/14/2006 12:21:09 PM , Rating: 4
Why the hell are we still concentrating on building WMD's and not putting dollars into research and preparation for global warming.

All this money and research time is needed elsewhere. In 2030 we're all ganna be fux0red.


RE: Nifty
By masher2 (blog) on 6/14/2006 12:44:50 PM , Rating: 2
Probably because anthropomorphic global warming is a nonproven notion very much still in debate and, even if proven, may very well turn out to be more beneficial than harmful.

And, FYI, regardless of whether the warming is natural or man-induced, no one is going to be "fuxored" in 2030. Possibly 2100, if the alarmists are correct.


RE: Nifty
By TheDoc9 on 6/14/2006 12:49:44 PM , Rating: 2
If gloabal warming ever becomes a real problem, I'm sure it will move up in priority.

Just because some celebrities say it's an issue, doesn't mean anything. And if they ever quote a scientist, ask them "what scientist? Can I talk to him/them?" Good luck with that one.

And if they bring up the Artic ice cap, try looking at the south pole, you might just notice it increasing in size. These things tend to happen, and looking at NASA photos shows the North pole changing all the time, sometimes it's smaller, sometimes it's larger.

I think if the money is spent on anything else, it should be on a TV campaign telling all the facts.


RE: Nifty
By masher2 (blog) on 6/14/2006 1:05:47 PM , Rating: 2
> "And if they bring up the Artic ice cap, try looking at the south pole, you might just notice it increasing in size"

Let's not forget the entire Arctic ice cap could melt, and not change sea levels by one millimeter.

> "And if they ever quote a scientist, ask them "what scientist? Can I talk to him/them?" Good luck with that one."

You can find scientists who believe global warming is a problem. The problem is you can find just as many that believe it isn't. And both camps disagree on how much, if any, of that warming is actually caused of human activity.




RE: Nifty
By masher2 (blog) on 6/14/2006 9:24:19 AM , Rating: 3
> "If we mean to rid the world of nukes no nation should have any at all "

You have to face certain facts. Any nation that obtains nuclear weapons cannot be forced to surrender them. Not with any acceptable degree of risk, at least. If we don't strongly fight nuclear weapon proliferation, then at some point every nation on earth will have them....as well as quite a few rebel organizations, seperatist movements, and terrorist groups. That means those weapons will be used..and on civilian populations. Is that what you wish?

The US has shown itself a responsible steward of nuclear weapons. Its only use of them was designed to save lives...and save lives it did. It has also acted to control proliferation, and to safeguard its own devices from being improperly used. Excepting Great Britain, no other nuclear nation has acted so responsibly.

Before the US developed nuclear weapons, the world was engaging in ever-larger and bloodier global conflicts. Since that time, there have been nothing but small regional conflicts. And even those conflicts which the US has engaged in, it has refrained from using nuclear force...even if it meant losing the conflict.

One can naively opine the world should just "abandon nukes", but this isn't going to happen. The nuclear club will only grow over time. It would behoove us to slow that growth as much as humanly possible.

> "To use nukes just to rattle sabres would only provoke belligerent nations further"

An action the US has never taken...it has never threatened a nuclear attack to "rattle sabres". Something the Soviet Union, China, Israel, North Korea, and Pakistan can't say. Offhand, I don't believe France has either...but then again, they did have a renegade General once threaten Paris with nuclear attack, so I'd count them out of the "responsible nuclear club" membership in any case.


RE: Nifty
By shadowzz on 6/14/2006 9:25:49 AM , Rating: 2
!!!! masher!!!


Not really
By Griswold on 6/14/2006 10:28:52 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
The US has shown itself a responsible steward of nuclear weapons. Its only use of them was designed to save lives...and save lives it did. It has also acted to control proliferation, and to safeguard its own devices from being improperly used. Excepting Great Britain, no other nuclear nation has acted so responsibly.


I'm not going to comment on the Hiroshima and Nagasaki part, but I'll give you a few facts to think about:

During the cold war, the US (like the USSR) tested nuclear weapons like a child playing with lego. They had, for example, this braindead idea of using it as a tool to excavate soil for construction purposes, they tested the after-blast effects, both psychological and physical, on their own soldiers, they paved pacific atolls with bombs that surpassed their wildest dreams in terms of destruction capability and conducted high altitude blasts as if they're playing with fireworks rockets.

You also forgot to mention france. They didnt do anything the US, USSR, GB or China didnt do before.

You know, not using them against your enemies isnt the only factor of acting responsible when it comes to WMD.

quote:
Before the US developed nuclear weapons, the world was engaging in ever-larger and bloodier global conflicts. Since that time, there have been nothing but small regional conflicts. And even those conflicts which the US has engaged in, it has refrained from using nuclear force...even if it meant losing the conflict.


While it is a fact that the US has not used any nukes (nor did any of the other nuclear powers) since 1945, they have been closer to it than anyone else (maybe besides the USSR). Nixon was pretty determined to use nukes during the vietnam war and it was only thanks to his generals that he didnt give the order.

And where are we today? The pentagon wants small nukes that can be used anytime anywhere without a huge mushroom cloud. But do you, just for a second, think that these weapons dont have any effects on future generations? Dont you think these weapons will lower the inhibition threshold for using nuclear weapons? Is that responsible? Isnt it enough to be able to eradicate any given enemy with the current stockpile?

Do you seriously think the US acted responsible with their WMD in the past, just because they didnt use them against their enemies? Is that what you call responsible?

Just for the record, I'm the last to say "do away with them nukes". It wont work. We opened this pandoras box 60 years ago and we will never be able to close it again. I actually accept that countries like the US, GB, France and (with some reservation due to instabilities) Russia and China have these weapons because it will keep certain powers at bay.

I see it as a safeguard for human nature. Once something has been invented, you cant stop everybody from using it.


RE: Not really
By masher2 (blog) on 6/14/2006 10:47:39 AM , Rating: 3
> "You also forgot to mention france. They didnt do anything the US, USSR, GB or China didnt do before."
You mean, besides having to blow up a nuclear warhead, to keep it out of the hands of a revolting General, who was threatening to use it on Paris?

I would mention France's sales of nuclear technology to Iraq, a transfer which would have allowed them nuclear weapons in the 1980s, were it not for the Osiraq raid...but then, we did the same for Israel, so I suppose thats a draw.

> The US...has been closer to [using nukes] than anyone else...

No. Israel takes that title....it had active, armed warheads rolled out to launch during the Yom Kippur War. Had the battle not turnd their way, they would have used them.

Quite arguably, the Soviets were much closer to using them than were we, especially given disclosures from their recent archives...but you ceded that possibility, so lets skip them. That still leaves North Korea, which by all accounts is ready to unleash nuclear fire at the first hint of conventional attack. I can also mention China, which has been stealthily transfering nuclear know-how to Pakistan, North Korea, Iran, and many other nations.


RE: Not really
By shadowzz on 6/14/2006 10:57:00 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
No. Israel takes that title....it had active, armed warheads rolled out to launch during the Yom Kippur War. Had the battle not turnd their way, they would have used them.


Again, quoting history channel here, but I remember the USSR almost accidentally launched a nuke after a Swedish rocket test signalled an alert. The USSR was literally seconds away from launching a nuke on accident. Someone with more time than me can certainly find the reference.


RE: Not really
By shadowzz on 6/14/2006 11:01:12 AM , Rating: 2
It was 1995 I suppose:
http://www.comeclean.org.uk/articles.php?articleID...

In any case, read some of these other ones:
http://www.ask.ne.jp/~hankaku/english/np11y.html

there have been a lot of close calls.


RE: Not really
By Griswold on 6/14/2006 11:11:39 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
You mean, besides having to blow up a nuclear warhead, to keep it out of the hands of a revolting General, who was threatening to use it on Paris?


Yes, I've seen that movie too.

quote:
I would mention France's sales of nuclear technology to Iraq, a transfer which would have allowed them nuclear weapons in the 1980s, were it not for the Osiraq raid...but then, we did the same for Israel, so I suppose thats a draw.


There were many more countries involved in a potential sale of nuclear technology (not specifically nuclear weapons technology) to iraq. On a sidenote, the US wholesale of chemical and biological raw materials to the middle east (especially to iraq to battle iran) in the 80s was also interesting...

At least you mention israel and the fact that the US gave them ready to use WMDs.

quote:
No. Israel takes that title....it had active, armed warheads rolled out to launch during the Yom Kippur War. Had the battle not turnd their way, they would have used them.


Cuba Missile crisis? Ring a bell? Granted, that involved both the US and USSR, but the bombers were already airborne. However, Nixon still had plans in the drawer to nuke away on north vietnam. So, thats at least a 2:1 victory for the US in that department.

Anyhow, my original point was responsible use (or lack thereof) of WMDs. Too bad you didnt comment on that. None of the countries in possession of these weapons has been responsible all the time, be it war times or during peace, including and the US - they are right up there with all the bad guys from that era.



RE: Not really
By masher2 (blog) on 6/14/2006 11:35:18 AM , Rating: 1
> "There were many more countries involved in a potential sale of nuclear technology (not specifically nuclear weapons technology) to iraq."

But the US was not among the ones transferring nuclear weapons technology to Iraq. France wasn't the only culprit...but they were the primary one. And the fact other nations were involved as well makes my point for me.

> "At least you mention israel and the fact that the US gave them ready to use WMDs."

No we didn't. We gave them vast amounts of technology, raw materials, and turned a blind eye to their efforts (and their theft of what little we held back)....but we didn't give them "ready to use WMDs".

> "Nixon still had plans in the drawer to nuke away on north vietnam. "

Contingency planning means nothing. I'm sure the US military has drawn up plans for everything from a sea invasion of Ireland to a nuclear attack on the Panama Canal. That doesn't imply such plans were ever seriously considered, much less about to be deployed. Comparing Nixon's bandying about of a possible nuclear option in Vietnam to Israel's decision to roll out armed missiles in the heat of a battle-- with given field-level commanders launch rights in case of disrupted communications-- is far off the mark.

> "Anyhow, my original point was responsible use (or lack thereof) of WMDs. Too bad you didnt comment on that"

Too bad you ignored the original point entirely, which is regardless of our own use of WMDs, it behooves us to restrict their widespread proliferation.


RE: Nifty
By Xenoid on 6/14/2006 1:57:48 PM , Rating: 2
On Global warming, I think all the fanatics need to build a time machine and stop the global warming done by the wooly mammoths in the last ice age because clearly they were driving too many cars.

As for WMD, that's just Americans being typical Americans. "God bless America" is perfectly fine, welcomed actually! But "Allah Ackbar" is terrorist-talk and those people don't believe in god so we should shoot their turban asses.


RE: Nifty
By White Widow on 6/14/2006 9:26:01 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
It's a bit odd though, that while we rain fire and brimstone on any country that takes any step that may even remotely lead to building nuclear weapons...


Why is that odd? Please explain to me why we should tolerate or encourage other nations to develop such destructive weapons simply because we have them. I'm not saying it's right or good, but the world is not inherently right or just, and I'm sure you don't believe it is, either. In a perfert world there should be no hypocracy, inequality, suffering, etc. But that is definitley NOT the world we all live in. The bottom line is that nuclear weapons are a huge threat, and whether you think the US should or should not have them is irrelevent because we do. And since we already do, why should that in any way affect our policy of discouraging other nations from acquiring the same technology? Is it "fair"? I don't know, but "fair" is hardly the foundation of the modern world. Do you think Iran or North Korea will be "fair" in their use of nuclear weapons with Israel and South Korea? And again, given that we already have nuclear weapons and don't seem too intent on just giving them up, do you think the world would be better if Iran and North Korea had nuclear weapons? Just because they "can" build them, does it mean they "should."?

Quite frankly, it seems "odd" to me that we would not make every effort to prevent that from happening. Is it in some way hypocritical? Sure. Does that make it the wrong thing to do? I don't think so.


RE: Nifty
By bpurkapi on 6/14/2006 12:44:15 PM , Rating: 2
We have them, and proliferated them. In all honesty nukes have always been a way to deal with a conflict, think about it this way...
The US and USSR had to negotiate because they both had nukes, the US didn't have to negotiate with N.Vietnam because it had no nukes. Just having nukes puts you at the bargaining table rather than the battlefield. There are certain countries which realize this and in order to maintain their regimes they seek the security that nukes bring, N. Korea for example. When Iran gets their nukes Israel will have to negotiate with them, because they are more or less equals in terms of destructive power.
Nevermind morality(it is important) but this is power politics at its most extreme and for the United States to be able to negotiate with beligerant nations it needs some degree of leverage, nukes alter the equation, it is in our best interest to not see nukes proliferate.


RE: Nifty
By Legolias24 on 6/14/2006 12:48:34 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Just because they "can" build them, does it mean they should?
The answer to this is 'no they shouldn't!'

And following the aforementioned logic; why should the US build new nuclear weapons? I mean you're right in that a lot of nations shouldn't have nuclear weapons. But just because the US can build a better bomb, doesn't mean that they should!

My biggest concern here is that the very action of building a new kind of nuke will increase another countries desire to build one for themselves, with the possibility of another arms race occuring. (it's a bit of stretch but hey, it could happen! :P )

Why not put more effort into developing better counter measures to a nuclear launch, or as one other poster mentioned, focus on ways of cleaning up nuclear disasters. Why must we be so hell bent on finding newer and faster ways of killing eachother.

If we could find a way to make all nuclear bombs duds before they are armed and detonated, then the point of having them would become moot and any threats associated with using nuclear weapons will be empty!

Cheers!

Eric








RE: Nifty
By masher2 (blog) on 6/14/2006 1:10:01 PM , Rating: 2
> "with the possibility of another arms race occuring. (it's a bit of stretch but hey, it could happen! :P ) "

You said it, not me. It's a stretch, to say the least. But hey, if this motivates another nation that already has nukes to make them safer and more reliable...I'm all for it.

> "Why not put more effort into developing better counter measures to a nuclear launch"

We've been trying to do that since the early 1980s. Unfortunately, those efforts have, in large, part, been delayed or stymied by people who feel the world is somehow safer when civilian cities are totally defenseless to nuclear attack.


RE: Nifty
By exdeath on 6/14/2006 10:19:42 AM , Rating: 2
It's not a double standard. We are not making secrets about it and our government is not promising to "wipe anyone off the map."


RE: Nifty
By creathir on 6/14/2006 4:18:51 PM , Rating: 3
Unfortunately the rest of the world operates in something we like to call reality.

Idealism is great, but you need to sometimes take a step back and apply your idealistic ideas to real world realities.

It would be fantastic if every country would give up their nuclear weapons, but it just will not happen. Why you ask? Because one country has a massive conventional weapon, so the other country needs to out due this weapon to give it an advantage... Now what is the basis of all of this? Usually, borders, values, or natural resources.

In your cream puff vision of the world, there would be no fights, murders, thefts, or any other crime against humanity.

The problem with this, is that one mans values are not another’s. What you may hold as valuable, such as, adult human life, another may not.

I am afraid a utopia is something that is quite impossible, so give up on the idea.

As far as pandemonium, I'm not sure what corner you want to go weep in, but down here in Texas, when an injustice is committed against us, we do not back down from the fight.

We stand tall, and hit back... HARD.

The rest of the country has always been like this. Imagine... what do you think went through the minds of the pilots as they bombed the USS Arizona? Do you think they thought to themselves "Those Americans are going to back down... this will show them not to mess with Japan..."

Yeah... that was a good move, wasn't it?

What was the result? Oh yeah... nuclear weapons... being used... for the first time...
Did they work? Did it show Japan just how they had crippled the United States? I really do not think that message was one that was conveyed with the dropping of those two weapons.

How about that bright Tuesday morning in September of 2001? All 19 of those men thought they were going to put America in her place that day...

2 countries later, THOUSANDS of terrorists killed... do you think the United States got the message those 4 airplanes were trying to convey? I don't.

- Creathir


"So if you want to save the planet, feel free to drive your Hummer. Just avoid the drive thru line at McDonalds." -- Michael Asher

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