Saturday, March 03, 2007

U.S. to develop new hydrogen bomb

This is exactly what you need to do if you're trying to convince other countries they don't need nukes. Right?
The Energy Department will announce today a contract to develop the nation's first new hydrogen bomb in two decades, involving a collaboration between three national weapons laboratories, The Times has learned.

The new bomb will include design features from all three labs, though Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in the Bay Area appears to have taken the lead position in the project. The Los Alamos and Sandia labs in New Mexico will also be part of the project.


Proponents of the effort say that the nation's existing nuclear stockpile is getting old and that doubts will eventually grow about weapons reliability. They say the new bomb will not have a greater nuclear yield and could not perform any new military missions beyond those of existing weapons.

So far, those arguments have attracted bipartisan support, including from Democrats who have long played a leading role in nuclear arms issues.

Critics say the existing stockpile is perfectly reliable and can be maintained for decades. The new bomb will undermine U.S. efforts to stop nuclear proliferation, they say. In addition, a recent study showed that plutonium components in existing weapons were aging much more slowly than expected.

Why does the US have to upgrade? Aren't they intended as deterrents against others' aging stockpiles?

As for reliability, if we send 6-10 nukes at another country, just how many do we need to actually detonate? Isn't one or two enough? If more are needed, send more. It isn't like we don't have hundreds.

(read more)

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