backtop


Print 43 comment(s) - last by Snuffalufagus.. on Jun 15 at 3:40 AM

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.


Comments     Threshold


This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

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.


"Game reviewers fought each other to write the most glowing coverage possible for the powerhouse Sony, MS systems. Reviewers flipped coins to see who would review the Nintendo Wii. The losers got stuck with the job." -- Andy Marken

Related Articles













botimage
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki