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Subject: Future of Nuclear Warheads
Roman    7/5/2004 8:07:39 PM
What do you think will the next (4th) generation of nuclear warheads be like? Are they likely to be the pure fusion warheads, or will fission still be used as a trigger?
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Strangelove    RE:Future of Nuclear Warheads   7/5/2004 10:27:03 PM
There has been research into the use of certain isotopes, i.e. hafnium 178, as power sources, initiators and explosives. A nuclear isomer of hafnium, Hf 178 m-2, when exposed to x-rays of a particular frequency, will rearrange its nucleus and yield a more stable nuclear isomer and a tremendous amount of energy, in the form of gamma rays. Military types have re-imagined all the old applications for nuclear weapons substituting the hafnium for the uranium or plutonium, the favorites being artillery shells, hand grenades, infantry-mobile rockets, and, perhaps, as a non-atomic initiator for fusion weapons. The scientific community, however, has yet to confirm the experiments conducted by a University of Texas researcher who first published his findings on this. In fact, the community seems quite divided over it, some saying its another cold fusion debacle. If the hafnuim thing works out, we could see pure fusion warheads or strictly gamma bombs powered by hf. Without this development, I would not imagine particularly fast innovation in this area. It is politically incorrect, opposed by much of the international community and domestically, and, while we remain signitorees of the International Atomic Test Ban Treaty and active on the anti-nuclear proliferation front, its difficult to say the least. How much theoretical testing continues on supercomputers is unknown to me, as is its usefulness.
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Roman    RE:Future of Nuclear Warheads   7/5/2004 11:03:56 PM
Hmm, good points Strangelove... But using Hafnium to initiate fusion removes one of the primary advantages of pure fusion - greatly reduced radioactive fallout. I would guess that Hafnium is highly radioactive and would thus contribute to fallout instead of reducing it.
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Thomas    RE:Future of Nuclear Warheads   7/6/2004 7:48:09 AM
Frankly, I think nuclear waepons are a dead end development in weapons technology. For tactical purposes: When you can drop a PGM down the ventilation shaft at 10.000 USD, then 500kg of tnt is more than sufficient to ruin the recipients week. For destruction of cities, well destroying a hostile city involves a lot of collateral damage. The importance is, when You win you'll have to fund the rebuild. - and there are other and cheaper ways to tear a country apart: Ask Saddam. Hostile ICBM: I think the B-2 will handle them allright with the help of the missile defence.
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elcid    RE:Future of Nuclear Warheads   7/6/2004 11:27:00 AM
There was once a proposal for a nuclear anti tank shell. The peculiar isotope involved would detonate on impact at high speed. But the cost killed it. Unbelievable cost, as the isotope was too rare. But it works in theory,.
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doggtag    critical mass bullets, elcid   7/6/2004 2:16:47 PM
I'm certain this is what such projectiles were called: critical mass shells. For the ill-informed, the concept was that a given isotope (californium was suggested), a ratio of alloy and isotope could be formed into a stable projectile. When the projectile impacted an object at extreme velocity, the impact compressed the material to the point it reached critical mass, and a "mini-nuke" detonation occurred. Sufficient do do in an MBT may have been achieveable, but there again we fall into the idea of giving individual tank or artillery commanders nuclear ammunition. It certainly wouldn't take much effort to see a smarter-than-average person finding a way to extract the isotope enough from a few rounds to fabricate a backpack nuke capable of contaminating a decent chunk of a city or water supply..
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Roman    RE:Future of Nuclear Warheads   7/6/2004 11:34:11 PM
Thomas, I am no fan of nuclear weapons and would advocate further disarmament (but involving other nuclear nations too - not just Russia and the U.S.A.), but let us be realistic - research into further warheads will continue and I am certainly interested in what 'features' these new warheads will have.
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Roman    RE:Future of Nuclear Warheads   7/6/2004 11:35:33 PM
Whoa, that is a very interesting way to design a nuclear weapon. Nonetheless I concur with doggtag that it would make such weapons too accessible and hence it will not be developed and deployed and as you mentioned cost is also prohibitive.
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Thomas    RE:Future of Nuclear Warheads Roman   7/8/2004 4:21:06 AM
Sure the research will continue, as any dictator with a tinfoil hat want's it. But in many respects a nuclear devise is a white elephant: It needs a power industry, that can make or purchase the raw material, you need delivery systems, you need to guard the damned thing, so nobody steals it. And what does it give you? Grief. The mere suspicion you got it makes you a paria internationally, so you can't import pestices for the fear you will produce chemical weapons.
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Roman    RE:Future of Nuclear Warheads Roman   7/8/2004 11:03:15 PM
Well, the research is continuing even in well established nuclear powers....
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Commander    Nuclear Weapons keep the balance of powers   3/24/2005 6:31:55 PM
Based on my research and study inpoliticsNuclear Weapons are merely political weapons rather than military. No nation in the world would risk using Nuclear Weapons it is suicidal it would affect the nation militarily, politically, economically and it would divert world attention. No sane man would use Nuclear Weapons when he launches it on nation he will not only battle one nation but even the world. Based on my experience Nuclear Weapons keep the balance of world powers. Realy they do many conflicts were solved through diplomacy because tha nation in conflict had nuclear weapons. An example is the Cold War neither Soviet Russia nor America risked war for fears of a Nuclear Holocaust. I think if it wasn't for Nuclear Weapons World War III would have started. In WW2 do you think it would happen if Britain, France and Germany had nuclear weapons do you think it would start? My answer no these nations will think twice about war in fear of a nuclear holocaust. please reply
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