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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 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.


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