Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Still Ages Like Sophia Loren

Now here is something from Arms Control Wonk:
In January and March 2006, I blogged about stories by James Sterngold in the San Francisco Chronicle suggesting plutonium, much like Sophia Loren, ages extremely well—remaining quite, um, fissile for at least 60 years.

A new study from Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore finds plutonium ages much better than Ms. Loren, remaining viable fissile material for at least 90 years.
Now this is important for the following reason: there is really only one way that our planet is going to avoid the unholy threat of mass extinction from nuclear weapons, and that is to have a moratorium on testing new weapons (i.e. the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.) This treaty, as many have pointed out, has been negotiated and signed by many nations including the U.S. Unfortunately, it has not been ratified by the U.S. Is there a hope that it will be with a new Senate? Don't hold your breath.

I have never thought through the import of what might happen if the CTBT was signed, ratified and implemented, even thought my brother has worked on this for the past 5 years. It is unlikely, at least in the short run, that countries like the U.S. or Israel would destroy their bombs. No, the military is much to fond of them. But the fact that the bombs would age and become obsolete (any bombs made in the 50's and 60's would now be very suspect, even with a 90 year tag). Why, that is just wonderful information.

Nature has provided us with unplanned obsolescence of nuclear weapons. If only we could implement it.

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