Skip to comments.
Scientists conduct subcritical nuclear experiment in Nevada
| September 19, 2003
Posted on 09/19/2003 9:40:31 PM PDT by HAL9000
LAS VEGAS (AP) - Government scientists conducted an underground nuclear materials experiment Friday at the Nevada Test Site, the National Nuclear Security Administration said.
The subcritical experiment, dubbed Piano, involved detonating high explosives to chart the behavior of plutonium in a non-nuclear explosion. It did not trigger a self-sustaining nuclear reaction, NNSA spokesman Kevin Rohrer said.
Scientists from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California completed the test at 1:44 p.m. in a cavern 960 feet below ground, Rohrer said. No abnormalities and no surface damage were reported at the vast site, about 85 miles northwest of Las Vegas.
Federal officials say subcritical experiments are essential to maintaining the safety and reliability of the U.S. nuclear arsenal.
Piano was the 20th subcritical experiment since the program began in 1997. The most recent one was called Rocco, conducted on Sept. 26, 2002.
Anti-nuclear groups have criticized subcritical experiments as contrary to the spirit of the 1996 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty on nuclear arms. The experiments technically do not violate the treaty because no critical mass is formed and there is no full-scale nuclear explosion.
The Bush administration said last year it wants the Nevada Test Site to be prepared to resume full-scale nuclear tests within 18 months - about half the time it would take to prepare for such experiments today.
TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; US: Nevada
KEYWORDS: ctbt; lasvegas; lawrencelivermore; llnl; napalminthemorning; nevada; nevadatestsite; nnsa; nukelabs; nukes; nuketesting; piano; plutonium; rocco; testbantreaty; testing; wot
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-20, 21-28 next last
posted on 09/19/2003 9:40:33 PM PDT
What the heck is this all about? Anyone? Nuclear physics types?
I can't imagine anything happening but a big underground mess, but maybe the plut. is partially consumed by the blast, or something . . .
posted on 09/19/2003 9:49:31 PM PDT
Sounds like the "Anti-nuclear groups" are hoping to form a critical mass against President Bush....after all, the USA never had nuclear weapons during the clintoon years (/sarcasm)
How can liberal lovers of The Arts possibly oppose a test named "Piano"??
posted on 09/19/2003 9:54:52 PM PDT
(Of the Sons and Daughters of Every Planet on the Earth)
Funny that Galileo is going to crash into Jupiter Sunday with 50kg of Plutonium that will be crushed under extreme gravity.
posted on 09/19/2003 9:58:33 PM PDT
(If you mess with one of us, you mess with all of us)
My guess is want to explore what would happen if they blew up North Korea's nuclear weapons with a conventional strike. This wouldn't detonate their nukes, but what happens to the plutonium is still an issue of concern because their will be radioactive fallout.
I noticed that the H.A.L. 9000 computer from the Movie 2001 A Space Odyssey" is beig offered for sale. Kirk Wooster 770-517-7877 for a mere $249,000!
"Anti-nuclear groups have criticized subcritical experiments as contrary to the spirit of the 1996 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty on nuclear arms."
I didn't think the US ratified that treaty.
What the heck is this all about?
Testing a radiological ("dirty") bomb?
posted on 09/19/2003 10:39:11 PM PDT
(Archivist to the Hobbit Hole)
That's a real good guess. I was thinking what if a terror group muffed a nuke attempt?
posted on 09/19/2003 11:33:29 PM PDT
This is a test to see if your design will work!
You do your math and make your bomb almost big enough to Explode But just a tat under.
Testing a Nuclear device in this manner is more exact that going with a full scale bomb. Because any small design errors or inefficacy will be masked in a full scale blast.
Look at the first Littleboy test. It was first tested in Japan. We knew it would work from subcritical tests. But did not need to waste the small amount of Uranium we had at the time to prove it first in the US. The Uranium that was used in the subcritical tests. Was then made into the first U bomb and shipped to Japan.
posted on 09/20/2003 12:41:01 AM PDT
(Attitude adjustments offered here free of charge.)
It's basically a way to do research on the front end of detonation, by setting off the triggering explosion and inhibiting the nuclear chain reaction, and then studying the distribution of ejecta in the surrounding media to infer things about how the trigger explosion physically affected the fuel.
This lets them study the effects of aging on Plutonium, and it helps them develop and verify computer models for the triggering & compression phase of the detonation. I'm sure this is important research for miniaturization as well... and frankly I can't imagine you'd want a nuclear explosion blowing everything to kingdom come if you're just studying triggering mechanisms. We already have that part modelled just fine.
So the fuel might survive the test and can be 'recycled'? Now it makes sense.
If I had grown up near Oak Ridge, instead of Hanford, I would have known that story about Littleboy -- Thanks.
"explore what would happen if they blew up North Korea's nuclear weapons "
I think all that testing will be conducted "on site" -- in North Korea!
To: quietolong; no one in particular
Is this different from a neutron bomb?
posted on 09/20/2003 9:39:04 PM PDT
by null and void
(If they don't want a Crusade, why did they start one?)
I think they should start naming these tests after Democratic presidential candidates, in honor of their imploding campaigns.
posted on 09/20/2003 9:44:30 PM PDT
To: null and void
A Neutron bomb is sort of more of a technique that a device.
Any A or H bomb will work as a Neutron Bomb.
What is done is you detonate the device high above the ground so the blast will not reach the ground. But the radiation will.
A Neutron bomb is a device that is designed to produce the smallest amount of blast and fallout. And maximize the radiation ( in particular neutrons ) from it.
To: piasa; Sabertooth; section9; wardaddy; Dog Gone; blam; Travis McGee; Nick Danger; Lazamataz; ...
Not only are we doing new sub-critical tests, but Bush has ordered site preps for new full scale nuclear tests.
This is significant in so many ways that it isn't even funny.
Our current computer models aren't sufficient,
New atomic weapon designs are being studied,
And full scale atomic weapons useage is being contemplated.
These are all good things for America. We finally have an administration that is going to use any and all means, as required, to protect our country and punish our enemies.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: the successes of our enemies will only hasten their own demise.
It is no understate to point out that the U.S. already has in its possession an unstoppable conventional military with 3rd generation aviation and submarine stealth. We have more than enough nuclear weapons on hand to wipe out 99+% of all life on any continents that we might need to eradicate. We have more than enough chemical and biological weapons to do all of that and more.
In short, the enemy who manages to damage us enough to cause us to unleash our full military potential will cease to be our enemy simply because whole regions of this planet will cease to be hospitable to life.
Or put another way, poking the sleeping giant is a very, very bad idea.
The military option is simply **not** viable for our enemies. The end game in any scenario fails to support any level of military, agricultural, or economic attack upon us.
Nonetheless, there can always exist those who can't comprehend the obvious. Such enemies will need to be Shown, rather than Told.
And that is what our new nuclear testing means. We are preparing for the day when we have to Show some enemy, somewhere, the consequences of making war against us.
posted on 09/21/2003 7:52:28 PM PDT
(Media bias means that Castro won't be punished for Cuban war crimes against Black Angolans in Africa)
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-20, 21-28 next last
Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual
posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its
management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the
exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson