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 12:48:34 PM
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!
6/14/2006 1:10:01 PM
> "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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