In the modern U.S. Other efforts include developing lasers and computers to simulate aspects of nuclear tests.
Nuclear Stockpiles: President Bush has agreed to dramatic reductions in the number of nuclear weapons in the U.S. Others contend that making more bombs is a bad idea if the U.S. Last May, he and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to slash their active arsenals by nearly two-thirds, to 1700 to 2200 warheads each, within 10 years. — did not prohibit designing a testing device with a yield below five kilotons, modifying an existing weapon for safety reasons or conducting research and development necessary “to address proliferation concerns.”
CBSNews.com’s Jarrett Murphy takes a look at the prospects for the U.S. has signed but not ratified — the administration says it has no plans to conduct a test. Duncan Hunter, R.-Calif., last May.
However, the administration is paying increasing attention to the possibility that it might at some point have to resume testing if there were a question about the reliability of the nation’s stockpile. spent more in real terms on atomic defense activities than since 1962.
Strategy — In its Nuclear Posture Review last year, the administration identified Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, North Korea as countries where “contingencies” could arise that U.S. arsenal, the submarine-launched Mk-5 holds eight W88 warheads of 475 kilotons each.. policy on nuclear weapons, which has included:
Bunker busters — For the second year in a row, the Energy Department is requesting $15 million to study the need for a Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator (RNEP).
Supporters say these weapons might be necessary to deal with so-called “hard and deeply buried targets” in rogue states and terrorist camps, of which there might be 10,000 in the world.
A kiloton is equal to the explosive force of one thousand tons of TNT. conducted its last nuclear test in 1992, and while the White House opposes the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty — which the U.S. Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat, asked recently.
By Jarrett Murphy
The Little Boy bomb dropped on Hiroshima delivered around 15 kilotons. wants to stop proliferation.
The ban — named after sponsors Elizabeth Furse, D-Ore., retired, and John Spratt, D-S.C. According to Sen.
“One way you ensure that there are no safe havens is to be able to go deep,” said Armed Services Committee chairman Rep. Crouch, the assistant secretary of Defense for International Security Policy, said in a briefing last year.
“Nuclear weapons have a unique ability to destroy both agent containers and (Chemical and Biological Weapons),” reads a 2001 Pentagon study.
But some members of Congress believe conventional weapons could do the same job, and worry that mini-nukes would blur the line between conventional and nuclear weapons. Two had been recovered and three were still missing as of 5 p.m. Nelson.
The Foster Panel, which studied the testing issue last year, recommended improvements that would allow a test within three months to a year of deciding to do so. Edward Kennedy, the administration has budgeted $700 million for studying how testing might resume. “If you were to have a problem with a weapon system that you needed to rectify using a test, you would want to be able to do that faster,” J. arsenal. “nuclear strike capabilities” must be geared towards, according to a leaked copy of the report.
The 1993 low-yield ban that the current defense bill would delete stated that “it shall be the policy of the United States not to conduct research and development which could lead to the production by the United States of a new low-yield nuclear weapon, including a precision low-yield warhead.”
CAROUSEL – People watch as water breaches a rock wall at Lawrencetown, Nova Scotia, Canada, Sunday, August 23, 2009. ET Sunday.
AP Photo/Canadian Press/Tim Krochak
But the administration says smaller nuclear arms may eventually be needed to deal with the emerging threat of rogue states hoarding weapons of mass destruction.
Announcing its approval of the bill Friday, the Senate Armed Services committee stressed that nothing in the repeal means it has authorized “the testing, acquisition, or deployment of a low-yield nuclear weapon.”
Copyright 2003 CBS. Five people watching the surf from Hurricane Bill were swept out to sea at Acadia National Park in Maine. But some experts contend that no bomb of any size could go very deep, because the heavier the bomb, the harder the impact — and the harder the impact, the more likely the bomb would explode before it reached sufficient depth.
Testing — The U.S.
At the same time, however, last month the United States produced a plutonium pit — the core of a fission bomb — for the first time in 14 years. According to the Los Alamos National Laboratory, the move “restores the nation’s ability to make nuclear weapons,” and was needed so the Energy Department could replace pits found unsafe or destroyed through regular check-ups.
Last year, the U.S. development of low-yield nuclear weapons.
The Bush administration may get permission to create kinder, gentler or at least smaller nuclear weapons if Congress overturns a ban on doing so.
The defense appropriations bill now winding its way through the Hill contains a clause revoking the 1993 Spratt-Furse amendment, which prohibits the development of so-called “low-yield” nuclear weapons – bombs that pack a punch of less than five kilotons.
The move to clear the legal hurdles on manufacturing mini-nukes is part of a broad review of U.S. “Unless we do a lot more research and development and we find some quantum breakthrough in conventional systems, to go deep is going to require a nuclear capability.”
Defense officials said in 2002 that at present, the U.S could go from the decision to test to a trial run in two to three years. A bomb of just one kiloton, detonated 30 meters below the earth, can open a crater wider than a football field, according to Princeton physicist Robert W. D. All rights reserved.
A memo obtained by a British newspaper indicates that at a conference this summer, Defense and Energy department officials will consider questions like: “What is the uncertainty in confidence and potential risk threshold for a test recommendation–what would demand a test?”
“How can we effectively seek to dissuade others from developing nuclear weapons while we are going forward with the development of new nuclear weapons ourselves?” Sen