High-Energy Weapons in the New Millenium

High-Energy Weapons in the New Millenium

Purveyor of All Your Weapons of Mass Destruction Needs. Extensive resources and information concerning all aspects of Nuclear Weapons. Photo gallery, Links,… 
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Purveyor of All Your Weapons of Mass Destruction Needs


THIS MONTH in the NUCLEAR AGE 
SEPTEMBER
  5, 1966: A partial core melt occurs due to failure of the cooling system at the Enrico Fermi reactor near Detroit, Michigan, USA. 

  6, 1979: Operation Quicksilver Hearts detonation destroys Transom device that did not detonate on 5-10-1978 at NTS, Nevada, USA. 

  21, 1955: The Soviet Union detonates its first underwater nuclear device. 

  30, 1999: A criticality accident at a small fuel fabrication facility at Tokai-mura, Japan, kills two and irradiates dozens more. 

  1987: A junk dealer in Goiania, Brazil, removes a cesium-137 source from a radiotherapy unit. Townspeople applied the glowing substance to their faces and bodies; fifty-four are hospitalized, four die. 
This Month’s Quote: 
“A thermonuclear war cannot be considered a continuation of politics by other means. It would be a means to universal suicide.”     –Andrei Dmitrievich Sakharov

The Doomsday Clock stands 

at 7 Minutes to Midnight
The Annihilation Poll
Do you think nuclear weapons will be used in your lifetime?

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U.S. Nuclear Weapons: 
Did You Get Your Money’s Worth?
Cost of the Manhattan Project (through August 1945): $20 billion 
Current cost of nuclear weapons activities, 1995: $33 billion 

Cost of nuclear testing in 1985 (16 tests): $825 million 

Cost of testing in 1995 (O tests): $410 million 

Total number of U.S.-built nuclear warheads and bombs, 1945-present:70,000 

Total number of nuclear weapons used in war: 2 

Total number of nuclear bombers built, 1945-present: more than 4,000 

Total number of nuclear missiles built, 1951-present: 67,500 

Total land area occupied by Defense and Energy Department nuclear weapons installations: 12.603 square miles 

Total combined land area of Maryland, Delaware, and the District of Columbia:11,834 square miles 

Number of nuclear tests conducted in Nevada: 935

Number of nuclear tests conducted in the Pacific: 106 

Number of Pacific islands still contaminated: 8-26 

Number of Pacific islands totally vaporized: 1 

Number of U.S. nuclear bombs lost in accidents and never recovered: 11 

Cost of the nuclear-propelled aircraft program: $6 billion 

Number of hangars built for nuclear-propelled aircraft: 1 

Number of nuclear-propelled aircraft built: 0 

Number of secret facilities built for presidential use during and after a nuclear war: more than 75 

Currency stored until 1988 in Culpeper, Virginia, by the Federal Reserve to be used after a nuclear war: more than $2 trillion 

Minimum number of pages still classified as secret by the Energy Department:280 million 

Estimated total cost of nuclear weapons and infrastructure, 1940-1995: $3.9 trillion

 

All figures converted to fiscal 1995 dollars. Adapted from “50 Facts About U.S. Nuclear Weapons,” by the U.S. Nuclear Weapons Cost Study Project

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists   November/December 1995

The
Library
of
 
Armageddon 
& Cold War Museum
 

 

High-Energy Weapons in the New Millenium

In the beginning, about 50 years ago, a great and terrible genie was loosed upon the world in the form of the first nuclear bomb. In its wake, two others were spawned, whose destinies lay over the populations of an already defeated foe. 

In the aftermath, an arms race as unprecedented in its technological impetus as its sheer scale ensued; with only a handful of players, the “Nuclear Club” was dominated by by two members, who were by necessity ideological opposites. The next forty years saw the power of nuclear weapons grow exponentially, and their numbers grow to nearly seventy thousand. 

Seventy thousand nuclear weapons, most on hair-trigger alert, some mere minutes from their targets, with a combined explosive force equating out to nearly 3 tons of high explosive for every man, woman, and child on the planet. 

The doctrine which evolved from possession of nuclear weapons — Mutually Assured Destruction, or MAD — is an incredible exercise in folly: to build up a formidable but generally equal arsenal of ostensibly defensive weapons into a system which if ever called upon, must function perfectly, yet to function perfectly, must never be used. 

Such is the theory of deterrence. 

Now, five decades later, those numbers have declined, and the world is a far different — albeit still dangerous — place. The two main adversaries have formed a wary friendship, and have even even shared some of their most closely guarded secrets. Most of the weapons factories are silent now, some of those that remain are dismantling the warheads they once built. 

But there are still dangers — serious ones — to be addressed: the so-called “rogue states,” who still seek to acquire nuclear weapons and its technologies; and previously “threshold” states, who have now crossed over into declared possessors of nuclear weapons. There is also the frighteningly real prospect of a complete weapon falling into the hands of terrorists or a hostile government who are willing to use it; or, of a radiological bomb, which disperses highly radioactive material over a large area, rendering it uninhabitable for years; or an attack on a nuclear reactor. 

There are also new dangers from old sources: in a step backward, the United States has recently withdrawn from the AntiBallistic Missile (ABM) Treaty of 1972 — declaring it “inconsistent with” its needs — so it can go forward with its Missile Defense System, which is based on technologies which aren’t expected to exist for years or even decades. Some very hard-learned lessons have been easily forgotten — or ignored. 

We don’t need Missile Defense, we don’t need Stockpile Stewardship, we don’t need 5000 nuclear weapons. We don’t need nuclear weapons at all. 

Unfortunately, there must always be a small number available, for possible use against earth-crossing asteroids. At present, these are the only plausible method of altering ones course. But at the maximum, some tens of low-yeild, disassembled warheads with their parts stored in geographically separated locations are all thet are required. 

The untold cost in money, resources and lives spent to develop, build, and maintain these instruments of genocide is but a small part of the price mankind — and indeed the planet — has, is, and will have to pay. The radioactive burden on the environment from decades of testsaccidents, leaks, and plain irresponsible carelessness and negligence is planetwide, and can only be described as a wonton crime against the entire biosphere. 

We have embarked upon the largest, most far-reaching biological experiment ever, one which is global in nature and cannot be controlled: thealteration of genetic material due to ionizing radiation. Not a single person alive has escaped exposure, and while many if not most, effects may not manifest themselves for generations, and will likely not be directly attributable to any specific cause, they are far too real, and they will happen. 

Yes, the Nuclear Genie is out of its bottle, for now and evermore, and while that knowledge cannot be unlearned, perhaps mankind will someday learn instead a spirit of tolerance and cooperation, and indeed coexistence with one another. 

Nuclear weapons are a fascinating subject. From the subatomic-scale reactions to the mega explosions; the political, economic, social, and environmental aspects; or the terrible beauty of a multimegaton detonation holds one awestruck… 

We may not realize it, because the effects are either inattributable or intangible, but nuclear weapons affect every single one of us every single day of our lives; isn’t it about time we did something about them?

Nuclear Disasters Worldwide Since 1943 
 
                        

                                   
Last Update: 1Sep03
© 2002 by Dan Younker 

 
 
 
 
 
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