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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.


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RE: Humbug
By masher2 (blog) on 6/14/2006 11:23:02 AM , Rating: 2
> "Not sure how long the lithium deturide lasts though before needing to be replaced. 40-50 years? "

Deuterium is nonradioactive; it has no half-life. Lithium Deuteride is also (mostly) chemically stable.

However, you're confusing the usages here a bit. Tritium compounds were briefly used as the primary fuel for staged thermonuclear warheads...they have long since been supplanted by lithium deuteride. Tritium's primary use today is, however, in boosted-fission devices, which are much smaller, lighter, and more radiation-resistant, and thus the most common choice for missile-mounted warheads.


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