Thursday, April 21, 2005

A Bomb was a Bomb was a Bomb…

Re(1): “No Experience Necessary”, Dan Stober, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

How many times must this be said:

For veteran bomb designers, accurately predicting the yield of their bomb is of great importance. Dobson and Selden had only a vague idea of the power of their bomb, but did it matter? For an aspiring nuclear state (or a terrorist group), a bomb was a bomb was a bomb. "If Iraq had one of those, you would believe [in it]," Selden said in 1995.

And the Flat Earth Society (Politicians and Ignorant Fools) are shocked that science is science – and the Pope is Catholic:

When, finally, the road show was over, Selden and Dobson were told what they had already guessed: Their labor of three years had succeeded. They had designed a working atom bomb. The reaction from audience members was in proportion to their working knowledge of nuclear weapons. Some civilian officials were stunned, Hudgins said, but most scientists were not.
And we are always questioned – “Why are we in Iraq???”

From his experience, Dobson believes Al Qaeda, if it were not on the run, could attain the world's worst terror weapon. "It seems to me that this Al Qaeda is enough of an organization, with enough people and enough funding that they probably could." He worries about sea-going shipping containers, which are large enough to hold a heavy, conservatively designed weapon that would have a high chance of success.

"They could send it up Chesapeake Bay, San Francisco Bay, Puget Sound, or the Mississippi River. You could go any place, Almost. Most large cities are either coastal or on a major river, where barge-type shipping goes," Dobson said.
Thought through, it should be apparent that to keep the bad guys on the run you have to endanger their sanctuaries, their skilled labor source, their funding source, and their technology source. These resources make much of the Middle East far more dangerous in the mid to long term than even an existing nuclear ‘power’ that cannot sustain their program.

And now for the big weenie:

Selden knew that in another hands-on experiment, U.S. weapons designers had proven the concept at the Nevada Test Site in 1962, when they blew up a bomb using reactor-grade plutonium. Ichiro Ozawa, the leader of Japan's opposition Liberal Party, underscored the point 40 years later. In a speech last April that sent shock waves across Asia, he said: "We have plenty of plutonium in our nuclear power plants, so it's possible for us to produce 3,000 to 4,000 nuclear warheads. If we get serious, we will never be beaten in terms of military power."
And now we have advanced, free market societies in South Korea, Taiwan, Australia, etc… While I cannot vouch for this organization (its clock seem right only about twice a day), how secure do you think 60 year old technology is – that is, is it secret???

Should be an interesting 21st Century.

No comments: