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posted by hubie on Tuesday August 02, @08:20PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the where's-the-kaboom? dept.

Arthur T Knackerbracket has processed the following story:

A multi-institutional team of researchers and collaborators successfully executed an integrated vessel confinement system (VCS) experiment at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), as part of an experimental campaign to study how nuclear materials react to high explosives without conducting a traditional nuclear test.

The experiment—dubbed Miramar—was an extensive collaboration across LLNL, Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), the United Kingdom's Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) and the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS). It is a major milestone in an upcoming subcritical experiment series, named "Nimble." The Nimble series is designed to remain below the threshold of nuclear criticality in accordance with the U.S. commitment not to return to nuclear explosive testing. The Nimble series will play a key role in assessing the safety, security and effectiveness of the U.S. nuclear stockpile, as well as providing data crucial to certifying that modernized warheads will perform as expected.

Miramar is the penultimate dress rehearsal experiment leading up to the Nimble series at NNSS's underground U1a facility in Nevada. The experiment will help ensure that there will not be vessel confinement or data-return surprises when the Nimble experiments are conducted in U1a. This was a fully integrated test, meaning that all components of the vessel and confinement system were in place, as well as diagnostic and experimental components, using relevant materials.

[...] "Completion of this experiment provides the information and confidence necessary to move forward with upcoming activities and experiments in the Nimble series," Najjar said. "Overall, Miramar was a very successful experiment with excellent data return and allowed the team to evaluate and verify procedures in preparation for fielding and execution of the subcritical experiments at U1a."

It isn't necessarily easy testing the stability of things designed to blow up without blowing them up.


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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 02, @08:34PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 02, @08:34PM (#1264666)

    I wonder why this press release went out just now... /s

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 02, @08:48PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 02, @08:48PM (#1264673)

    Oopsie! My bad. We didn't mean to conduct a nuclear test. Somebody forgot to carry the two.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 02, @10:08PM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 02, @10:08PM (#1264683)

    I've heard an argument that the US needs tactical nukes to allow a proportional response to Russia using tactical nukes in Ukraine.

    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 03, @12:32AM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 03, @12:32AM (#1264705)

      https://www.ucsusa.org/resources/tactical-nuclear-weapons [ucsusa.org]

      > While long- and medium-range nuclear systems have been constrained or eliminated by arms control treaties, tactical nuclear weapons have never had verified limits. During the Cold War, the US and Soviet Union built up massive numbers of these weapons in their arsenals, many deployed in Europe. Today’s stockpiles are smaller but still capable of incomparable destruction.

      Looks like a bad idea. We might even agree with Putin on this topic(??)

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 03, @11:38PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 03, @11:38PM (#1264855)

        Your link says that Russia has 10x the tactical yield weapons. I thought the US had phased them out, guess not.

  • (Score: 2) by legont on Wednesday August 03, @12:44AM

    by legont (4179) on Wednesday August 03, @12:44AM (#1264707)

    Is "integrated vessel confinement system" an "African American" of nuke explosions now?

    --
    "Wealth is the relentless enemy of understanding" - John Kenneth Galbraith.
  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by oumuamua on Wednesday August 03, @12:44AM (2 children)

    by oumuamua (8401) on Wednesday August 03, @12:44AM (#1264708)

    So you want to find what happens if a regular explosive hits your tactical nuke.
    The thing is, any nuclear exchange quickly escalates into all out war.
    Furthermore, any nuclear exchange will be worldwide. If the US and Russia exchange missiles, the US must also strike China otherwise a completely unscathed China might invade an injured US. There is a reason it is called MAD.

    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 03, @02:36AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 03, @02:36AM (#1264724)

      No, it isn't about that. Nuclear explosions are set off by chemical explosives that compress nuclear material and initiate the "critical" conditions that sets off the explosion. This is about doing sub-critical testing on nuclear material for a variety of reasons [nnss.gov]. They set off chemical explosives that aren't strong enough to kick off criticality and they look at what comes out of the nuclear material (numbers of neutrons or xrays or whatever they're measuring).

    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 03, @11:39PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 03, @11:39PM (#1264856)

      If the US and Russia exchange missiles, the US must also strike China otherwise a completely unscathed China might invade an injured US.

      Is this a scenario you've created in your head or an official policy of the US military?

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