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Monday, April 19, 2010

Testing nukes without blowing up bombs

Anonymously contributed:

I didn't realize that Obama even knew Ed Moses, but I'm glad he has confidence in him.
Next thing you know we'll be getting limitless energy from banana peels and BS, too.


http://www.cnn.com/2010/POLITICS/04/16/nuclear.testing/

36 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ok, cool ... we no longer need full-scale testing - then lets get on with building new WHs to replace antiquated stockpile.

Anonymous said...

"We found failure modes in the stockpile that we could never have found with nuclear testing because we're able to do these massive simulations," he said. "These are the largest calculations that man has ever done."

Oh no! You mean simulations may actually be better than testing? What will the blogging audience have to say about this? Probably claim it is some sort of socialist plot.

Anonymous said...

Man you guys at Livermore really are good at public relations (PR) campaigns. Goodwin, Moses, these guys are slick. Only problem, is that there are a few (very few) of us left at Los Alamos (that Bret Knapp hasn't tossed...yet) who remember the X-ray laser, Magnetic Fusion Test Facility (MFTF), amongst other Livermore "gems" in the stockpile. Did you guys bring these projects up during the press tour?

Anonymous said...

Overpromising is in the Lab's ancestral DNA, 7:04. You commit to build something without knowing how, and then rely on others to pull it off. It worked once, with our signature achievement, but the strategy has been a failure ever since.

Anonymous said...

x-ray laser and mftf had nothing to do with the nuclear weapons stock pile.

Anonymous said...

"We found failure modes in the stockpile that we could never have found with nuclear testing because we're able to do these massive simulations," he said. (News)


What an incredible bit of BS! Has this man no shame at all? Used car salesmen have better ethics!

Anonymous said...

April 20, 2010 10:34 PM

I wouldn't characterize it as a failure rather it has been a complete success. LLNL keeps making grandiose claims/promises...fails to deliver...and the result? Congress just keeps coming back for more (LANL in contrast).

Anonymous said...

x-ray laser and mftf had nothing to do with the nuclear weapons stock pile.

April 21, 2010 5:09 AM

Maybe not (arguable based on how they were sold in the first place), but they are indicative of the LLNL mind-set in general.

Anonymous said...

Oh no! You mean simulations may actually be better than testing?

April 20, 2010 1:30 PM

You take your pick: simulations can give you something like a statistical (or best case) result on reliability or safety. How a specific weapon was actually put together means a lot for that particular weapon's status. A full-scale test tells you the weapon you tested worked, and you have to rely on quality data and small-scale component tests to extrapolate that test to a statistical conclusion about all weapons of that type. There is no such thing as "certainty" in nuclear weapons or anything else in life. How nervous that makes you I guess depends on the risk you assign to the uncertainty factor.

Anonymous said...

x-ray laser and mftf had nothing to do with the nuclear weapons stock pile.

April 21, 2010 5:09 AM

Neither does the National Ignition Facility (NIF)!

Anonymous said...

Man you guys at Livermore really are good at public relations (PR) campaigns. Goodwin, Moses, these guys are slick. Only problem, is that there are a few (very few) of us left at Los Alamos (that Bret Knapp hasn't tossed...yet) who remember the X-ray laser, Magnetic Fusion Test Facility (MFTF), amongst other Livermore "gems" in the stockpile. Did you guys bring these projects up during the press tour?

April 20, 2010 7:04 PM

Don't forget Brilliant Pebbles, another oversold Livermore failure.

Anonymous said...

April 21, 2010 8:12 PM

Right. And one thing we do know. The only two weapons ever used worked...without being tested. Our adversaries, whoever they may be, must assume our stockpile is viable if for no other reason. Unfortunately, a small but vocal group (some who frequent this blog) are trying their hardest to convince our adversaries that we don't have a viable stockpile. I am always confused as to why people like that keep inviting our enemies to attack us. Seems un-American to me. Compounding that is the emergence of motivated terrorist groups that could care less about our stockpile. 1000's of viable warheads will do nothing to dissuade a small motivated group of terrorists. Telling them our stockpile is worthless won't change their mindset but it certainly isn't helpful.

Anonymous said...

April 21, 2010 8:56 PM

You obviously don't know what you are talking about.

Anonymous said...

“Compounding that is the emergence of motivated terrorist groups that could care less about our stockpile.”

I agree that terrorist are less concerned whether our stockpile is “reliable” but, they might be very interested that some of our WHs don’t have the more modern safety/security features that newer WHs have. So, if full-scale testing is no longer required, let’s get on with modernizing the safety/security of our older WHs.

Anonymous said...

Simulations are a lot less expensive and a lot less time consuming than testing. Also, in a simulation, you can introduce an anomaly and study its affect. numerical simulation is indeed a very valuable tool. This is no "used car salesman jargon". It's using supercomputers to do what we could never do in the real world.

Anonymous said...

Sure, we can use supercomputers to ground passenger planes throughout Europe.

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601124&sid=aspZxMDffsgs

Who needs experiments when we can simulate it?

Anonymous said...

"We found failure modes in the stockpile that we could never have found with nuclear testing because we're able to do these massive simulations," he said.

What a bunch of pseudoscientific naifs! Haven't you ever heard of false positives? How do you know your simulations aren't WRONG?

Anonymous said...

April 28, 2010 7:46 PM

The answer is that the physical world, when it applies to nuclear weapons, is very well understood. We design and build cars, aircraft, manned spacecraft, satellites using computer simulations. All of these computer simulations were tested and verified in the laboratory. That is what the NIF was/is designed and built for and that is the purpose of subcritical testing.

I think it is interesting that you worry about the viability of our weapons in a world without testing and at the same time agonize over underfunded, third world terrorists detonating an UNTESTED weapon on U.S.soil.Go figure.

Anonymous said...

What a bunch of pseudoscientific naifs! Haven't you ever heard of false positives? How do you know your simulations aren't WRONG?

April 28, 2010 7:46 PM

But, but...we're the best and the brightest! We couldn't be wrong!

Anonymous said...

The Laboratories held the government hostage by stating that if you won't let us perform nuclear tests then we require billions of dollars for a stockpile stewardship program that includes strategic computing and elegant above-ground test facilities that have no tie to the real world other than keeping thousands of high paid scientists employed playing with toys. And now, we have the so-called leaders of this get rich quick scheme (i.e. LLCs, NNSA), profiting off of this. The Grand Fleecing of America.

Anonymous said...

Right. And one thing we do know. The only two weapons ever used worked...without being tested.

April 22, 2010 7:25 AM

Sometimes what you "know" is wrong. Ever hear of Trinity?

Anonymous said...

April 30, 2010 12:29 PM

The Trinity test was not a weapon. Could have dropped Fat Man out of the plane and more than likely would have burried itself in the ground. Sometimes you think you know something when you only have partial information. When we talk about weapons tests it literally means detonating a weapon i.e. warhead, not a heavily instrumented science package. Many felt Fat Man would fail actually. The trinity test only demonstrated that an implosion device was feasible, it didn't demonstrate that the design was a viable weapon. It was a huge gamble. Research before you post.

Anonymous said...

The trinity test only demonstrated that an implosion device was feasible, it didn't demonstrate that the design was a viable weapon. It was a huge gamble. Research before you post.

May 2, 2010 6:50 AM

What, because it lacked a bomb casing and fins? Those were developed before Trinity. How long did it take to fit those and fly Fat Man to Tinian? Do research yourself.

Anonymous said...

When we talk about weapons tests it literally means detonating a weapon i.e. warhead, not a heavily instrumented science package.

May 2, 2010 6:50 AM

Ha! By your definition, no "weapon" has every been tested!

Anonymous said...

May 7, 2010 7:26 PM

Hmm... right up to (nearly) the day Boxcar lifted off with fatman the fuse for the weapon was being tested (and failing). Don't believe me? Like I said, do some research before you post.OMG!

Anonymous said...

May 7, 2010 7:26 PM

"The "gadget" was the code-name given to the first nuclear explosive developed under the Manhattan Project during World War II, which was tested at the Trinity test site on July 16, 1945.[1] It was so called because it was not a deployable weapon"

Hope this helps...I am done doing research for you.

Anonymous said...

t was so called because it was not a deployable weapon"

Hope this helps...I am done doing research for you.

May 7, 2010 8:43 PM

Not deployable because of no casing, no fins, and no altitude fuze? Get real. And, it was not "heavily instrumented."

Anonymous said...

May 9, 2010 7:21 PM
And there you have it.

'And, it was not "heavily instrumented."'

Trinity test was just a bunch of Pu and high explosives stuffed into a steel ball with a bunch of guys hanging around out in the desert to see what would happen when the high explosives were detonated. That proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that nuclear explosives are a) pretty easy to build and b) very reliable. So we really DON'T need to detonate them to determine whether or not they will work. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

...it was not "heavily instrumented"...

"The elaborate instrumentation surrounding the site was tested with an explosion of a large amount of conventional explosives on May 7. Preparations continued throughout May and June and were complete by the beginning of July"

Your right, I should have said "elaborately instrumented".

I don't make stuff up like some who have posted here.

Anonymous said...

That proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that nuclear explosives are a) pretty easy to build and b) very reliable. So we really DON'T need to detonate them to determine whether or not they will work. Thank you.

May 9, 2010 11:23 PM

"proves beyond a shadow of a doubt" ??? So because one weapon (out of one weapon type - a simple fission device) worked the first time it was tested, you can make this absolute generalization? How many did the NKs test before one worked (and not very well)? The Indians are still trying. Since Fat Man worked the first time, we didn't need to test the W88?? Do you even understand the science of deductive logic?

Anonymous said...

May 12, 2010 7:19 PM

"the science of deductive logic". Deductive logic is a science? I don't think so. However, with respect to nuclear weapons, physical laws apply not logic. With respect to the North Koreans, I haven't a clue what the result of their experiments are or were. It is believed, however, that the first test yielded 1 kiloton, more than enough to wipe out a small city (by the way, the yield does NOT suggest a failure). The second test yielded a claimed 20± kilotons. Enough to wipe out the Bay Area.

India detonated a 10± kiloton device in 1974 and have performed several subsequent tests (including successful thermonuclear weapons tests). If you are referring to Native Americans (Indians) then yes, they are still working on it (I guess).

You are clueless. There is no point discussing this any further.

Anonymous said...

"The elaborate instrumentation surrounding the site was tested with an explosion of a large amount of conventional explosives on May 7. Preparations continued throughout May and June and were complete by the beginning of July"

Your right, I should have said "elaborately instrumented".

May 12, 2010 7:22 AM

Sorry, your argument is correct, but irrelevant to the original discussion. The original commenter was claiming that the instrumentation on Fat Man kept it from being a weaponizable bomb, so the actual "weapon" wasn't tested. In actually there were plenty of instruments OBSERVING the Fat Man test ("surrounding the site" even before Fat Man was assembled), but they weren't attached to the bomb and therefore had no bearing on whether it was an actual "weapon." In fact, it was.

Anonymous said...

May 13, 2010 7:18 PM

Do some more research. You still have it wrong, but you seem to be getting close.
What was detonated at Trinity was NOT a fully integrated weapon and it was instrumented.
Remember, research before you post. Goodbye.

Anonymous said...

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iraq/3447776/Bush-Regrets-Mission-Accomplished-Banner.html

Anonymous said...

What was detonated at Trinity was NOT a fully integrated weapon and it was instrumented.

May 14, 2010 6:37 AM

Easy to make assertions without actual facts. Care to supply any to support your assertions? We've already dismissed the claim that the weapon wasn't a "weapon" because it didn't have its bomb case, fins, or fuzes attached yet.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of the NIF, I didn't bother to attend the surmon in the ware house that Moses gave last week, but, I'm curious if he spoke of the asking for a an additional year's repreive prior to full scale operations. Any anyone heard anything?

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