U.S. dismantling its most powerful nuke

Discussion in 'Americas' started by Neil, Oct 25, 2011.

  1. Neil

    Neil Senior Member Senior Member

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    This undated photo shows the United States' last B53 nuclear bomb. The 10,000-pound bomb is scheduled to be dismantled Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2011 at the Pantex Plant just outside Amarillo, Texas. (AP Photo/National Nuclear Security Admin.)

    (AP) AMARILLO, Texas - The last of the United States' most powerful nuclear bombs — a weapon hundreds of times stronger than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima — is being disassembled nearly half a century after it was put into service at the height of the Cold War.
    The final components of the B53 bomb will be broken down Tuesday at the Pantex Plant near Amarillo, Texas, the nation's only nuclear weapons assembly and disassembly facility. The completion of the dismantling program is a year ahead of schedule, according to the U.S. Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration, and aligns with President Barack Obama's goal of reducing the number of nuclear weapons.

    Thomas D'Agostino, the nuclear administration's chief, called the bomb's elimination a "significant milestone."

    First put into service in 1962, when Cold War tensions peaked during the Cuban Missile Crisis, the B53 weighed 10,000 pounds and was the size of a minivan. According to the American Federation of Scientists, it was 600 times more powerful than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, at the end of World War II.

    The B53 was designed to destroy facilities deep underground, and it was carried by B-52 bombers.

    Since it was made using older technology by engineers who have since retired or died, developing a disassembly process took time. Engineers had to develop complex tools and new procedures to ensure safety.

    "We knew going in that this was going to be a challenging project, and we put together an outstanding team with all of our partners to develop a way to achieve this objective safely and efficiently," said John Woolery, the plant's general manager.

    Many of the B53s were disassembled in the 1980s, but a significant number remained in the U.S. arsenal until they were retired from the stockpile in 1997. Pantex spokesman Greg Cunningham said he couldn't comment on how many of the bombs have been disassembled at the Texas plant.

    The weapon is considered dismantled when the roughly 300 pounds of high explosives inside are separated from the special nuclear material, known as the pit. The uranium pits from bombs dismantled at Pantex will be stored on an interim basis at the plant, Cunningham said.


    U.S. dismantling its most powerful nuke - CBS News
     
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  3. Neil

    Neil Senior Member Senior Member

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  4. W.G.Ewald

    W.G.Ewald Defence Professionals/ DFI member of 2 Defence Professionals

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  5. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    What do they typically do after dismantling these bombs? Ship the Uranium (assuming it is a Uranium bomb) to Nuclear Reactors?
     
  6. W.G.Ewald

    W.G.Ewald Defence Professionals/ DFI member of 2 Defence Professionals

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    Don't know for sure, but one destination may be Oak Ridge National Laboratories (ORNL) near Knoxville, Tennessee.
     
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  7. Neil

    Neil Senior Member Senior Member

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    US uses it for powering its reactors...to make electricity or fuel its carriers or subs...
     
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  8. Mr.Ryu

    Mr.Ryu Regular Member

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    This bomb looks dump lol
     
  9. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    It's really amazing how the super powers managed to produce so much fissile material in less than 10 years since the first ever test and size quest use of the A bomb. I mean even now we have just enough capacity to produce about 20-30 a year. Yeah it's dictated by our doctrine but still the peak would be way less than what the superpowers did.
     
  10. p2prada

    p2prada Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    These countries were rich when they did it, unlike us. We cannot afford their level of industrial scale as of today. People talk about Chinese manufacturing prowess, but even that is overstated. Even their economy cannot handle the scale of US or SU in the 60s and 70s.
     
  11. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    US will have a global strike weapon soon, these big nukes are outdated.
     
  12. sky

    sky Regular Member

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    Wait a minute the Pakistan army might won't that as part of there American aid to take on the Taliban, general kayani will be licking his lip's if he can get his paws on this little puppy. ruff ruff....
     

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