Tuesday, August 22, 2006

[news] Expiring Nukes

Everything has an expiration date—even nuclear warheads. Concerned that the United States' 10,000-strong stockpile of atomic bombs are past their prime, scientists at Lawrence Livermore and Los Alamos Labs are vying to design the first new nuclear bomb in the United States since the W88 warhead in the mid-1980s ... But careful analysis of old warheads turned up no signs of weakness, raising questions about the need for new nukes ... To avoid violating international antitesting treaties, the stockpile is kept up to date via a $6 billion-a-year recertification program that tests existing weapons for signs of corrosion -- Discover Magazine
If we kept just a measly 1,000 nukes around, could we save $5 billion a year? If we really fired 999 nukes, will there even be anyone left to fire the 1000th nuke?

Too bad our most brilliant scientists aren't working on answers to these questions instead.