Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Military Technology Politics

Aging Nuclear Stockpile Good For Decades To Come 160

Posted by kdawson
from the still-go-boom dept.
pickens writes "The NY Times reports that the Jason panel, an independent group of scientists advising the federal government on issues of science and technology, has concluded that the program to refurbish aging nuclear arms is sufficient to guarantee their destructiveness for decades to come, obviating a need for a costly new generation of more reliable warheads, as proposed by former President Bush. Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona and other Republicans have argued that concerns are growing over the reliability of the US's aging nuclear stockpile, and that the possible need for new designs means the nation should retain the right to conduct underground tests of new nuclear weapons. The existing warheads were originally designed for relatively short lifetimes and frequent replacement with better models, but such modernization ended after the US quit testing nuclear arms in 1992. All weapons that remain in the arsenal must now undergo a refurbishment process, known as life extension. The Jason panel found no evidence that the accumulated changes from aging and refurbishment posed any threat to weapon destructiveness, and that the 'lifetimes of today's nuclear warheads could be extended for decades, with no anticipated loss of confidence.' But the panel added that federal indifference could undermine the nuclear refurbishment program (as this report from last May illustrates). Quoting the report (PDF): 'The study team is concerned that this expertise is threatened by lack of program stability, perceived lack of mission importance and degradation of the work environment.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Aging Nuclear Stockpile Good For Decades To Come

Comments Filter:
  • God forbid (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Absolut187 (816431) on Friday November 20, 2009 @03:15PM (#30175302) Homepage

    We suddenly discover that 50% of stockpile doesn't detonate, and we only have enough nuclear weapons to annihiliate the earth 20 times over. Sometimes 20 just isn't enough!!

    Especially when you factor in Russia's advanced ICBM-intercepting capabilities. /sarcasm

    • Re:God forbid (Score:5, Insightful)

      by WAG24601G (719991) on Friday November 20, 2009 @04:05PM (#30176152)
      Maybe I'm being naive, but detonation never seemed all that central to the value of nuclear weapons. Let's face it, if we're ever in the situation where we decide Armageddon is the best option available, whether or not OUR weapons detonate is a triviality. Nuclear weapons are most effective when they AREN'T being used and everyone wants to keep it that way. So unless there's some a priori outward indication that our weapons definitely won't work, thus inviting an attack... nobody (including our enemies) really wants to find out the messy way. Then again, maybe I'm assuming too much rationality for the men with the launch keys...
      • It just means that should the need present itself to annihilate a patch of land, that we send 3 ICBMS to do the work of one. That way one of them ought to work. We wouldn't want any kind of retaliation if for instance a nuclear missile were discovered in an 'evil' country. We want to make sure it's obliterated.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by WAG24601G (719991)
          The catch-22 of post-WWII nuclear warfare is that there is no such thing as launch without retaliation. If we find a rogue nation with a lone nuke or two, we attack with conventional weapons, because the risk incurred by escalation is too great. If a threat is substantial enough to warrant a nuclear attack (as the Soviet Union may have been), they are completely capable of retaliating while our birds are still in the air, what with early detection and all. That's where MAD (mutually assured destruction)
          • Our federal government is flaky. We vote in Republicans and they promote their agenda and agencies are co-opted to that agenda. Then we vote in Democrats and they completely change how those agencies operate. Simply put, there's no reason to assume that the federal government will do the right thing.

            We should refurbish our existing stockpile right away and keep our fingers crossed that some dumbass administration doesn't come along and bugger that stockpile because some 'special interest' wanted to sell
            • by Shakrai (717556)

              Our federal government is flaky. We vote in Republicans and they promote their agenda and agencies are co-opted to that agenda. Then we vote in Democrats and they completely change how those agencies operate.

              I'm curious why you correctly labeled the behavior of the GOP as "co-opting" but declined to do the same in favor of more neutral language when referring to the Democrats?

          • by couchslug (175151)

            "If we find a rogue nation with a lone nuke or two, we attack with conventional weapons, because the risk incurred by escalation is too great."

            Unless they are not rational actors and escalate anyway.

            Atmospheric testing thoroughly demonstrated that smallish nuclear wars are a practical, if unfortunate, proposition.

            For example. if a "rogue state" does take out a US city or two, we can exterminate them both to defeat them and to make the desolation an example to others. The reason MAD is a credible way to dete

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by Shakrai (717556)

              BTW, great nations can lose tens of millions of dead, many cities, and still recover as did the Soviet Union.

              Actually it might even be easier for a country to recover from a few nuclear bombs than it was for the Soviet Union to recover from WW2. The deaths suffered by the Soviet Union (or France in WW1 for a Western example) were disproportionately incurred by young males. It created a demographic imbalance that took at least a generation to correct. The fallout from this affected everything from the economy to romance.

              The loss of a few major urban areas would probably result in as many (or more) causalities b

          • by Shakrai (717556)

            If we find a rogue nation with a lone nuke or two, we attack with conventional weapons, because the risk incurred by escalation is too great. If a threat is substantial enough to warrant a nuclear attack (as the Soviet Union may have been), they are completely capable of retaliating while our birds are still in the air, what with early detection and all

            What makes you think a "rouge nation" (since that's the example you use) would have the capability to detect a missile launch? Such a capability requires a global satellite surveillance network. The only nations that are known to have this type of a system in place are Russia and the United States, though China is also trying to get there.

            There are also other ways of delivering nuclear weapons besides our "birds". It's extremely doubtful that we would rely on an ICBM to take out the nuclear program of a

        • by Zordak (123132)
          Of course, back in the day, the Peacekeepers had 10 Mk21s each and the Minuteman IIIs had 3 Mk12As each (now with SERV, we only get 1 Mk21 per Minuteman III). So actually, you would need to send 9 missiles for the equivalent of 3 MMIIIs or 30 missiles for the equivalent of 3 Peacekeepers.
      • This is true. However, as you pointed out, our enemies (and our friends) must be confident that our weapons would work, should we need to use them, in order to ensure their continued effectiveness as a deterrent against first-strikes. It is also important to reiterate to the Ahmadinejads of the world that we will retaliate with overwhelming force, including possibly a reciprocal nuclear strike, in response any first-strikes against us or our allies.
        • by Shakrai (717556)

          It is also important to reiterate to the Ahmadinejads of the world that we will retaliate with overwhelming force, including possibly a reciprocal nuclear strike, in response any first-strikes against us or our allies.

          "Possibly"? If they hit us with nuclear weapons then we have to respond in kind. We've said as such for the last 50 years. A failure to follow through on that would render MAD a moot point and encourage future bad actors to engage in their own first-strikes.

          As Hillary said, we can obliterate them. If they were stupid enough to drop a nuke on us or one of our allies that's exactly what we would have to do.

          • by BhaKi (1316335)
            So far, I haven't seen a single first strike on US. But I have seen dozens of first strikes by US. Using nukes is bad. Period. All further argument is either ignorance or greed or political propaganda (it could also be the result of being a victim of manipulation by political propaganda).
      • by Gilmoure (18428)

        What if baby elephants attack [wikipedia.org] and we need to stop them from dropping a rock on us?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by PitaBred (632671)
        Have you watched Dr. Strangelove? You really need to go do so
        • by WAG24601G (719991)
          I have seen Dr Strangelove, and Fail-Safe (the less comical version, arguably based on the same book). I think both of these films reinforce my point. The entire story revolves around the hours BEFORE detonation. To quote Dr S: "The whole point of a Doomsday Machine is lost, if you keep it a secret!" The corollary being that the entire point of a Doomsday machine is its existence, not its use. Consider how the outcome of Dr Strangelove would have been different if one or both sides unwittingly launched
    • by Zordak (123132) on Friday November 20, 2009 @05:51PM (#30178042) Homepage Journal

      we only have enough nuclear weapons to annihiliate the earth 20 times over.

      I really only know about the land-based ICBMs, so with the caveat that this doesn't include our SLBMs (Trident) and strategic bombers ...

      Back in the height of the Cold War, we were doing stuff like fielding a fleet of 60+ monster Titan IIs, each with a monster 9MT warhead sitting on the tip, plus a fleet of 800 Minuteman-Is, each with a 1.2MT warhead. Those two fleets combined gave us a total yield of about 1.5 GT. We figure, "Drop a couple somewhere in the general vicinity of Moscow, and they've pretty well done their job." But as we refined our delivery technologies, we started to focus more on (relative) precision. Circa 1970, we built the Minuteman III, which could carry three much smaller Mk12A Reentry Vehicles (with the W-78 warhead at about 300-kT), buch was much more acccurate. So we could go for targeted kills on hardened silos without having to level entire cities. We fielded around 500 MMIIIs, giving us about 1,500 W-78 warheads, meaning at 300-kT each they pack a combined yield of around 450 MT. That's certainly a lot, but consider that the Russians actually detonated the "Tsar Bomba [wikipedia.org]" with a yield of about 50 MT by itself, and it certainly didn't come close to destroying 1/9th of the earth. By the 80s, we also had a fleet of 50 Peacekeepers, each with 10 Mk21 RVs carrying the 300-kT W-87 warhead. The Mk21 was the most accurate RV we'd ever built (basically, you could pretty reliably hit a football field). So that's another 500 warheads, for another 150 MT. But note that even with 10 warheads, the PK still only had about a third of the total yield (about 3 MT) of a Titan II with a single warhead (about 9 MT). The PKs and MMIIIs together took us to about 600 MT total yield, and by this time, we were shutting down the Titans IIs. So that's less than half the yield we had at the peak. It's definitely a lot of fire power, but still not enough to scorch the earth 20 times over (or even once over, really). Then with the START I and II treaties, we started ramping way down. We agreed to decommission the MIRVs (Multiple Independently-Targetable Reentry Vehicles) (shame really---it was pretty neat technology), so we started decommissioning the Peacekeepers and dropping the MMIIIs to just a single warhead. Now, we just happened to have about 500 Mk21 RVs from the 50 PKs, and we just happened to have about 500 MMIII delivery vehicles, so we decided to put the best RV on our remaining launcher, and started the SERV program ca. 2005 to retrofit the Mk21 onto the MMIII launch vehicle.

      Now that PK decom is complete, the only silo-launched ICBMs in our fleet are about 450 remaining MMIIIs, each with a single Mk21 RV carrying a single W-87 warhead with about a 300 kT yield. That means our current ICBM fleet has a combined yield of about 135 MT. This is not even 3x the yield of Tsar Bomba, and not even 10 times the yield of the U.S.'s biggest single detonation, the Castle Bravo [wikipedia.org] shot with a yield of about 15 MT. It was big, yes, but again, not even close to destroying 1/10th of the earth.

      So long story short, we used to have crazy big nuclear arsenals back in the really tense days of the Cold War. Today, we still have a scary big nuclear arsenal, but it has only about 1/10th the destructive power of our previous arsenal. That arsenal is still capable of making life on earth pretty miserable, but it's not going to level the globe.

      • by PitaBred (632671)
        It doesn't even have the capability to make life on earth pretty miserable. It has the capability to make life in very specific, strategic places exceptionally miserable. Which is the whole point.
        • by Zordak (123132)
          Well, you just have to be more creative. For the misanthropic psychopath looking to maximize human suffering with this much-reduced fleet, I recommend 450 well-placed high-altitude EMP bursts. You won't get much (if anything) out of the blast effect, but I imagine that would be enough to knock out all or most of the electronics in the world (I haven't done any actual calculations). Not as sexy as vaporizing people, but now anything that is computer controlled doesn't work anymore. Power, sanitation, com
      • I really only know about the land-based ICBMs, so with the caveat that this doesn't include our SLBMs (Trident) and strategic bombers ...

        So long story short, we used to have crazy big nuclear arsenals back in the really tense days of the Cold War. Today, we still have a scary big nuclear arsenal, but it has only about 1/10th the destructive power of our previous arsenal. That arsenal is still capable of making life on earth pretty miserable, but it's not going to level the globe.

        Pretty much the same is true

  • Well yeah. A program and procedure designed to keep the weaponry usable successfully keeps them usable.

    Glad to hear that guys. Way to go. Good work telling everyone that fixing things fixes them.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      A program and procedure designed to keep the weaponry usable successfully keeps them usable.

      Not a forgone conclusion. Remember, this is the government we're talking about

    • by Bakkster (1529253)

      Unless, of course, there are non-serviceable parts that are degrading. In other words, verifying that our weapons are able to be fixed for the forseeable future.

      For example, if the fissile material or shape charges degrade, you're not going to go about replacing them. You'd just buld new ones, and in that case might as well design a better one from scratch.

      • For example, if the fissile material or shape charges degrade, you're not going to go about replacing them. You'd just buld new ones, and in that case might as well design a better one from scratch.

        No, because then you'd either have to test them or somehow convince yourself that they'll work without having ever been tested. The first option would have massive political costs, possibly reigniting a global nuclear arms race, and the second option is wishy-washy.

        For the fissile material it would be best to melt them down, re-refine them, and build replacements to the exact original specifications. For the other parts, just build exact replacements.

        I don't buy the oft-spouted line that "they can't be repl

      • by FredThompson (183335) <<fredthompson> <at> <mindspring.com>> on Friday November 20, 2009 @05:44PM (#30177908)

        My background: ex-ICBM launch officer and part of a team which designed some support equipment

        My comment: Bingo. The issue isn't so much the warhead "baby", it's everything else which helps it go boom when, where how, and under whose authority it should go boom.

        Almost every device becomes inefficient over time. Material stress, physical degradation and decreased efficiency over time are why you don't see many automobiles manufactured in 1947 still being used as daily transportation. The same applies to supersonic air delivery systems and support equipment.

        Intellectually simplistic or downright stupid comments such as the ones which claim we have X number of nukes needed to destroy all life on the planet are lazy and/or suicidal. The same could be said about salt as the US possess far more salt than is necessary to kill every mammal on the planet many times over.

        • by RDW (41497) on Friday November 20, 2009 @06:03PM (#30178246)

          'The same could be said about salt as the US possess far more salt than is necessary to kill every mammal on the planet many times over.

          I believe the US agreed never to use this option at the SALT talks back in the 70s.

        • Why do we need to be absolutely 100% sure that the nukes will go boom? If we're merely "fairly certain" that the weapons will probably work, isn't that sufficient deterrence? What enemy is going to attack on the possibility that we MIGHT not be able to retaliate because our nukes were old and the missiles were poorly maintained? A pretty risky move to bet millions of lives of your countrymen on a maybe.

          Not to mention the 3 legs of the triangle : it's kinda unlikely that plain old aging would prevent all

    • by Chris Burke (6130)

      Good work telling everyone that fixing things fixes them.

      I see you've never had a disagreement with a mechanic or plumber over the definition of "fixed".

      Personally I'm very glad they went to the trouble to figure out that "fixing" them according to the procedure is the same as "fixing" them according to our long-term strategic nuclear stockpile goals. :P

  • by Cornwallis (1188489) on Friday November 20, 2009 @03:15PM (#30175306)

    All the U.S. needs to do is pay the Pakistanis and Iranians for the latest nukes.

  • Not atypical (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Overzeetop (214511) on Friday November 20, 2009 @03:18PM (#30175350) Journal

    Many programs which require significant development, and then get shelved into "production" with no push to advance or modernize fall prey to this. NASA maned spaceflight vehicles is a prime example.

    If you only need to do research and development once every 25-50 years you end up starting nearly from scratch every time you decide to upgrade. Now, I'm not advocating some kind of special nuclear bomb advancement program. Still, by the time somebody wants to "replace" these, there will be nobody left who actually worked on them tom begin with. Humans are particularly bad at passing this kind of knowledge over extended time gaps.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      NASA maned spaceflight vehicles is a prime example.

      Is this some sort of mission spearheaded by Fabio?

    • Re:Not atypical (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jpmorgan (517966) on Friday November 20, 2009 @03:36PM (#30175722) Homepage

      Yes, as unpolitically correct as it may be, an active nuclear weapons program might be necessary. Complete disarmament is all well and good, and a slow loss of weapons and skills to age could be one way to accomplish that. But complete disarmament isn't worthwhile without permanent disarmament also, and I don't see how that's possible. The knowledge and technology exists, and as the general level of technology in this world increases it will only become easier to build nuclear weapons. Without permanent disarmament (which would be impossible without some form of world government), you have to accept one of these possibilities:
      1. A hostile power is nuclear armed and you are not.
      2. You are now racing a hostile power to rearm yourself... except they have a headstart, since you only found out they've been building weapons after their program has progressed considerably. And that in turn gives them an incentive to use their weapons before you finish yours...
      3. Abandon disarmament and proactively maintain a deterrence force.

      Look, the technology to build nuclear weapons is never going to go away. Until we find a technology to neuter these devices without playing deterrence/MAD games, then a continued nuclear weapons program is essential. Otherwise we are locked in a cycle of decay, and panicked rebuilding. I'd rather things be as boring as possible, even if that means the occasional underground bang.

      • we only need to keep a low grade (slow development) program going. Other than the Russians, no one has more than a couple hundred warheads. the U.S. has, what, 10,000 or so with around 2400 in active deployment of some form. We could drop that an order of magnitude with little or no risk.
        • Politician: How many of these nukes do we need to keep in our arsenal?
          Engineer: How long do they have to last?
          Politician: Forever.
          Engineer: All of them.

          If we knew we were going to be designing/building a new nuke every 10-15 years, then we could decrease our stockpile to the number we need now (whatever we decide that is) without adding on a huge margin to account for obsolescence.

          I think we could restart a nuclear program without restarting an arms race with existing nuclear powers provided it was talked o

      • by init100 (915886)

        1. A hostile power is nuclear armed and you are not.

        Well, we are already in that situation, just like many other countries. So it's not like it's a new situation, except it would be for the US.

      • If it's going to become increasingly easy to build nuclear weapons in the future, why worry about maintaining obsolete stockpiles and fading institutional knowledge of said obsolete, more difficult to build stockpiles?
      • by Goldsmith (561202)

        Excellent point that the base technology is unfortunately getting easier to achieve.

        The continued training of engineers who can build nukes for us is one of the main points of the refurbishment program. These Jason guys are pretty smart. Their report mentions the main risk here is not losing the ability to blow people to bits, but loss of skills due to lack of support for the refurbishing (training) program.

        Wasn't there something here on the NIF a while ago, and how they're working on alternative energy?

    • by aussie_a (778472)

      Humans are particularly bad at passing this kind of knowledge over extended time gaps.

      Good! If we have to relearn how to create nuclear weapons every single time, we won't be able to create them in such a hurry. Also, if we're really desperate, can't we use the old designs? You only start from scratch if you want to improve it.

    • by fm6 (162816)

      Consider this factor: lots of people think that blowing up the planet is a really bad idea. No Armageddon, no need for Armageddon weaponry. Such Ludditism may shock you, but there it is.

      • by Shakrai (717556)

        Consider this factor: lots of people think that blowing up the planet is a really bad idea. No Armageddon, no need for Armageddon weaponry. Such Ludditism may shock you, but there it is.

        We don't have the power to "blow up" the planet. We don't even have the power to exterminate life on this rock. It's probable that we don't even have the power to exterminate the human race. Humanity has survived events [wikipedia.org] that were far more destructive than anything we could dish out with our comparatively puny nuclear weapons.

        The reason for having nuclear weapons isn't to unleash Armageddon. The fact that humanity hasn't fought World War III yet suggests to me that nuclear weapons have saved lives. Do

  • So does that mean we can use the saved money to fund feeder reactors that don't have the potential to produce weapons grade material?

    Probably a pipe dream for a while still, but at least that's one less lobby pushing against building new-styled reactors.
  • by Landshark17 (807664) on Friday November 20, 2009 @03:25PM (#30175510)
    It's not only possible... it is essential!
  • by natehoy (1608657) on Friday November 20, 2009 @03:27PM (#30175552) Journal

    Does that mean nukes will now have a new label on them?

    "Best if used to initiate Global Armageddon by December 12, 2054"

  • Man... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Friday November 20, 2009 @03:31PM (#30175636) Journal

    Can you imagine what the world was like 100 years ago? Where wars were fought on foot and were mostly civil wars, or simple trade disputes? Where mutually assured destruction and worrying how long your nukes will last were never present.

    Or go back even further, like 500 years, where the world was a bold new place worth exploring, and if a war were to be fought, it'd be because you want to rescue the pope, or payback for a political insult, or because you were bored...

    Sometimes I feel like I was born in the wrong century. The internet is way over-rated.

    • by init100 (915886)

      100 years ago? Where wars were fought on foot and were mostly civil wars, or simple trade disputes?

      Yeah, like WWI (which started 95 years ago).

    • Sometimes I feel like I was born in the wrong century. The internet is way over-rated.

      Be careful what you wish for; the stories of the "good old days" are most often promulgated by those who did not live during those centuries. Before industrialization, antibiotics, and the green revolution life was nasty, brutish, and short for 90%+ of the population. If you don't believe that, then look at the one continent that has largely not experienced these modern benefits, Africa, and tell us that you would find life in some backwards village or the slums of Nairobi strangely romantic.

      • I know, I was just poking fun at the fact that the world was a much simpler place when it was nasty brutish and short. I mean if I was a peasant in feudal times, the idea of all life on Earth ending instantly in a series of explosions, each large enough to level the town I lived in, I would have had no other explanation then Divine intervention.

        Now-a-days, you're taught that it can happen if you aren't careful who you vote for.

  • by ka9dgx (72702) on Friday November 20, 2009 @03:34PM (#30175682) Homepage Journal

    Y2K was mostly a result of the radical shift in the nature of software development brought about by the IBM 360 and other computers which included a new feature of backward compatibility. Prior to that time it was safe to assume that programs would only live until they needed to be re-written to run on the next generation of computer. So as a result, we had many programs living well past retirement age. This then lead to a sane design decision from the 1950's getting us into trouble 40 years later.

    Now we have a similar situation with Nukes. The Test Ban Treaty radically changed the nuclear weapons development environment, and as a result our nukes are now well past their retirement age. They were meant to be replaced, but haven't been.

    It is important to note that in both cases, the eventual cost are still WELL below the development and other costs which were avoided.

    • by careysub (976506)

      Now we have a similar situation with Nukes. The Test Ban Treaty radically changed the nuclear weapons development environment, and as a result our nukes are now well past their retirement age.

      The age of U.S. nukes has absolutely nothing to do with either of the Test Ban Treaties (that is, the Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and the Threshold Test Ban Treaty, the only two of which that are in force). Every single nuclear weapon in the U.S. arsenal was designed, developed, tested and manufactured after the Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, and all of the most advanced (and the large bulk of the U.S. arsenal) were tested and manufactured after the Threshold Test Ban Treaty went into effect.

      The age

      • by gtall (79522)

        "if the warheads can be refurbished then replacement is unnecessary" Like someone above mentioned, it isn't the warheads that fail to make it go boom, it is the surrounding infrastructure. That must be replaced or your boom as no credibility with those nice N. Koreans and the extremely good-natured Iranians.

  • Hey we don't need to do further testing so everybody let's sign a deal saying no one would.

    Fast forward a few years..

    Hey our stockpiles are ageing. You know what guys, we would like to reserve the rights to do nuclear tests.

  • by jddj (1085169) on Friday November 20, 2009 @03:42PM (#30175810) Journal

    My wife and I toured the museum of stuff that blows up (Bradbury museum?) at Los Alamos on our honeymoon (the site does say "news for nerds", right?).

    One of the displays said that special styrofoam-like stuff that holds reactive parts of some in-stockpile nuclear weapons in place has a service life of 10 years, but the weapons using it are 25 or more years old. Meanwhile, they've lost the recipe to make more foam.

    I wonder if they're able to refurbish these nukes (and what happens as the foam ages if not).

  • by Ifni (545998)

    July, August, September, October, November - so does this indicate that the study is leading up to a nuclear winter?

  • Good is such an.... "interesting" term.

  • Who woulda guessed that nukes come with the same Use-By date as Hostess pastries? Now we know that, also just like those Hostess Twinkies, our nukes are good for decades after those dates. That's awesome news for the Apocalypse survivors, who will have dessert AND won't have to bother making their own M.A.D. devices from scratch.

    "Good news, everyone! We found nukes from Fry's time and they're as fresh and tasty as the day they were put in the wrappers!"

  • The problem with nuclear weapons development is boredom. It took a huge establishment to make the things, with way too many smart people. The plants are run down or closed, and the smart people are retired or dead.

    It's like NASA. Who goes to work for NASA today? At least NASA launches something once in a while. Imagine going to work for Pantex and spending your whole life on refurb jobs. That's not going to attract the best and the brightest.

    Some of the bomb designs are "too clever". The AEC had

  • Reminds me of when I heard this guy say they had backups at work, until they day they needed them to restore, and they found out the backups were no good. This lets me think sometimes to force a fake disaster or scenario to test the fail overs is good once in a while...
    I wonder if we can start a war somewhere....?

  • by ShooterNeo (555040)

    So let me get this straight : the DoD wants new nukes because it can't guarantee that all of our bombs will necessarily go off due to aging.

    But why does it matter if all our nukes detonate? Is any enemy going to realistically attack us HOPING that all our bombs won't detonate or that the missiles won't work? Even a partial failure of our attack would still cause more mass destruction than in all of human history.

    Would you recommend attacking the Russians or the Chinese with a preemptive strike, hoping tha

  • Any mention of how they are going to continue to make that? Or at least make it safely?

  • Some comedian - I think it was Ed Byrne - on the UK satirical news quiz "Have I Got News For You" made a good point about nuclear submarines. Probably misquoting slightly it was:

    "We need to spend £20bn on a giant metal sausage under the sea in case one day we decide to destroy the world"

    I think that put the whole scheme into perspective a bit.

  • In related news, USAF Gen. Kevin Chilton, head of the US Strategic Command, opined today that the US needs *more* nuclear weapons.

    http://www.airforcetimes.com/news/2009/11/airforce_chilton_111909w/ [airforcetimes.com]

We are Microsoft. Unix is irrelevant. Openness is futile. Prepare to be assimilated.

Working...