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Published on March 5, 2008

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Stockpile Stewardship: The Science and Economics of Our Nuclear Weapons Future:  Stockpile Stewardship: The Science and Economics of Our Nuclear Weapons Future Todd S. Palmer NE 319 May 8, 2001 Throughout this talk, think about::  Throughout this talk, think about: Given a world with nuclear weapons, Should we worry about the safety and effectiveness of our aging weapons? What purpose(s) does nuclear testing serve? Can a “stockpile stewardship” program replace nuclear testing? Can or should we try to disinvent this technology? How does deterrence work? Recent events: Bush’s missile defense plan:  Recent events: Bush’s missile defense plan President states that the START treaty is a dinosaur. Reduce the number of different weapons in the stockpile Build missile defense shield Space based laser interception Ground based missile destruction Star Wars? Recent events: Does Saddam have the bomb?:  Recent events: Does Saddam have the bomb? Recent events: Does Saddam have the bomb?:  Recent events: Does Saddam have the bomb? Recent events:  Recent events May 1998 - India conducts nuclear tests Recent events:  Recent events About 2 weeks later - Pakistan follows suit Recent events:  Recent events Washington Times Article Novaya Zemlya Island test site Truchs unloading “filler” material detected by surveillance satellites Subcritical tests: explosions not involving nuclear yield U.S. current policy: subcritical tests do not violate the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Also occurred in January, 1996 August, 1997: seismic activity consistent with nuclear testing September 24, 1998 - Russia conducts subcritical test Outline:  Outline Introduction: Why should you listen to me? History: Briefly, how did we get here? Weapons Physics: How do they work? Nuclear Testing Stockpile Stewardship: What is it? Where should you go for more information? Discussion: What do you think? Introduction: Why should you listen to me?:  Introduction: Why should you listen to me? Who am I? B.S. NE Oregon State, 1987 M.S. & Ph.D. NE & Scientific Computing, University of Michigan 5 years of experience in A Division (Weapons Design) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Consultant: Lawrence Livermore and Los Alamos National Laboratories Introduction:  Introduction More about me: Up for tenure this year (keep your fingers crossed…) Research interests: reactor physics, numerical methods, parallel computer algorithms, transport theory, nuclear criticality safety Advising 7 graduate students Undergraduate recruiting director Background:  Background Fission Heavy nuclei (U-235, Pu-249) absorb a neutron and split into lighter nuclei, 2 or 3 neutrons and about 200 MeV of kinetic energy Fusion Light nuclei (H-2, H-3, Li-6) come together to form a heavy element with the release of several MeV of kinetic energy Uranium Naturally occuring radioactive element, with two major isotopes: 99.49% U-238 (fissionable), ~0.5% U-235 (fissile) Plutonium Produced when Uranium atoms absorb neutrons and undergo radioactive decay: Pu-238, Pu-239, Pu-240, Pu-241 Criticality: The degree to which a physical system permits a sustained nuclear chain reaction History: How did we get here?:  History: How did we get here? 1895 - Roentgen discovers radiation X-rays emitted by a cathode ray tube 1905 - Einstein develops special theory of relativity Equivalence of mass and energy 1932 - Chadwick discovers neutron Alpha particles bombard beryllium nuclei knocking out particles with ~ the mass of a proton but no electric charge. 1939 - Meitner and Frisch discover fission When uranium is bombarded with neutrons, the nucleus splits into lighter energetic nuclei and neutrons. 1940 - Seaborg discovers plutonium Radiochemist bombards uranium with neutrons and creates element 94 which fissions like U-235 Scientists world-wide understood the implications.:  Scientists world-wide understood the implications. World War II is raging at a fever pitch Germany invades Poland Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor Germany invades USSR, advances in North Africa April 1939, Germany Reich Ministry of Education convenes “secret” conference on application of fission for weapons October 1939, United States Leo Szilard, Edward Teller and Eugene Wigner communicate concerns to President Roosevelt 1939, Soviet Union Igor Kurchatov alerts government to possible military significance of fission Early 1940, Great Britain Frish-Peirels Memorandum catalyzes efforts to develop a weapon. The Manhattan Project - Timeline:  May 1942 Manhattan Engineering District formed Dec, 2, 1942 Fermi Achieves first nuclear chain reaction July 16, 1945 U.S. explodes first nuclear device (Trinity) August 6, 1945 “Little Boy” destroys Hiroshima August 9, 1945 “Fat Man” destroys Nagasaki November 25, 1945 Oppenheimer forms Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory September 2, 1952 Lawrence forms UC Radiation Laboratory - Livermore The Manhattan Project - Timeline Manhattan Project - Technological Advancements:  Manhattan Project - Technological Advancements Fermi demonstrates working nuclear reactor at Stagg Field in Chicago Reactors at Hanford site in S. Central Washington produce plutonium for weapons Gaseous diffusion and electromagnetic isotope separation (enrichment) plants constructed in Oak Ridge, TN Chemical and other material properties of important radionuclides researched Weapons were quickly developed in other countries.:  August 29, 1949 USSR explodes fission device October 3, 1952 U.K. explodes fission device November 1, 1952 U.S. explodes first thermonuclear device November 22, 1955 USSR explodes thermonuclear device November 8, 1957 U.K. explodes thermonuclear device February 13, 1960 France explodes fission device October 16, 1964 China explodes fission device June 17, 1967 China explodes thermonuclear device August 24, 1968 France explodes thermonuclear device May 18, 1974 India explodes fission device Pakistan South Africa Iraq (???) Weapons were quickly developed in other countries. Weapons Physics: How do they work?:  Weapons Physics: How do they work? A Gun-Assembled Fission Device:  Supercritical mass Subcritical masses Explosive propellant A Gun-Assembled Fission Device Hiroshima/Little Boy untested before use August 6, 1945 ~15 kilotons Fuel: U-235 Atomic Bomb Weight ~10,000 lbs Relatively slow Can’t use plutonium Hiroshima:  Hiroshima Implosion-Assembled Fission Device:  Trinity Test/Alamogordo Bombing Range, White Sands NM July 16, 1945 ~15 kilotons Nagasaki/Fat Man August 9,1945 ~15 kilotons Fuel: Pu-239 Weight ~10000 lbs Atomic bomb Before firing Just after firing Implosion-Assembled Fission Device Trinity blast - 10 seconds after firing:  Trinity blast - 10 seconds after firing A “Boosted” Fission Device:  A “Boosted” Fission Device Fission/fusion hybrid Fission bomb modified to include fusion fuel Deuterium (H-2) Tritium (H-3) George Shot May 8, 1951 Enewatak atoll Multi-stage Thermonuclear Fusion Device:  Multi-stage Thermonuclear Fusion Device Fission bomb acts as driver (primary) Fusion fuel region (secondary) implodes through radiation coupling Fusion fuel: H-2 & H-3 Mike shot November 1, 1952 Eneuwatak atoll 10.4 Megatons Weight Hundreds of lbs. Hydrogen bomb Mike shot:  Mike shot What was left of the island chain...:  What was left of the island chain... Nuclear Testing:  Nuclear Testing Why test nuclear weapons?:  Why test nuclear weapons? Engineering reasons Will a design work? How close are our predictions Political reasons Look, we have the bomb! Our bombs are bigger than your bombs…. Deterrence only works if the other guy believes that you can destroy him. Are “old” bombs still a deterrent? Global nuclear weapons tests (1998):  Global nuclear weapons tests (1998) How much did nuclear testing cost?:  How much did nuclear testing cost? Overall cost: 5821 billion dollars (1996 dollars) Components of U.S. nuclear weapons complex...:  Components of U.S. nuclear weapons complex... Design Los Alamos Livermore Sandia Fabrication, Assembly and Fuel Production Pantex Y-12 Rocky Flats (Inoperative) Hanford Reservation (Inoperative) Mound (Inoperative) Testing Nevada Test Site Stockpile Stewardship: What does it mean?:  Stockpile Stewardship: What does it mean? Long term DOE plan to meet DOD requirements in tough fiscal times Adjust to the new way in which business will be done fewer weapons fewer types of weapons no new weapon production aging stockpile no nuclear testing Three major elements Enhanced surveillance to understand and predict effects of aging Small efficient manufacturing capability Revalidation process to support assessment and certification Enhanced Surveillance:  Enhanced Surveillance Computational techniques to analyze material databases Advanced methods of examining corrosion scanning tunneling microscopes atomic force microscopes Sensors and non-destructive techniques endoscopic surgical tools fiber optic visualization Many opportunities for partnership with industry. Manufacturing and Refurbishment:  Manufacturing and Refurbishment Goal: Extend the life of current weapons systems replace important components remanufacture weapons cheaply and in an environmentally friendly manner Recycling of components Plutonium pit reuse Uranium parts rebuilding Computer modeling for better prediction of metal casting and extrusion High explosives? Science-Based Assessment and Certification:  Without testing, how do we ensure that a refurbished weapon will perform as well as the original? We must infer the safety of a weapon from related physics calculations and experiments. Science-Based Assessment and Certification National Ignition Facility (NIF) Accelerated Strategic Computing Initiative (ASCI) Above-Ground Hydrodynamic Experiments (AGEX) Hydronuclear tests National Ignition Facility:  National Ignition Facility 192 Laser beams deliver 1.8 million Joules of energy to ignite small fusion targets World’s largest optical instrument Advance U.S. technology industries Optics Lasers Materials High-speed instrumentation Semiconductors Precision manufacturing Likely to be built at LLNL as follow-on to NOVA laser ASCI - Advanced Strategic Computing Initiative:  ASCI - Advanced Strategic Computing Initiative Improve computational physics modeling capabilities 3-D methods Massively parallel computers New physics Sandia, LLNL and LANL all getting new machines ($50 million dollars) $45 million in code development AGEX - Above Ground Experiments:  AGEX - Above Ground Experiments Non-nuclear tests to investigate the behavior of implosion phase of detonation $16 million for new facility at LANL Dual-Axis Radiographic Hydrodynamic Test Facility Contained Firing Facility at LLNL - upgrades costing $6.6 million Improvements in imaging Uses only conventional high explosives Hydronuclear Experiments:  Hydronuclear Experiments Proposed, but not likely to happen Some nuclear material used, but only to better understand true behavior Negligible nuclear yield (< 1 kt) Poses philosophical problems: Is this a nuclear test or not? These tests performed during previous test moratorium in 1958-1961 Where to go for more information...:  Where to go for more information... DOE Stockpile Stewardship position paper High energy weapons archive LLNL, LANL web sites Sante Fe New Mexican Special Edition Bureau of Atomic Tourism Todd’s Atomic Homepage (not mine) So, what do you think?:  So, what do you think? Should the U.S. rely on stockpile stewardship to ensure a reliable nuclear arsenal? Are nuclear weapons needed in a post cold war world? Can you ever put the nuclear genie back in the bottle?

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