Two US Labs Compete to Build New Nukes
June 14, 2006 6:24 AM
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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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6/14/2006 12:44:15 PM
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.
"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer
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