Booze, Baseball, and another "B"

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Nonproliferation: 1, Tactical Nukes: 0....

The Bush Administration announced today that plans to build nuclear bunker-busting weapons have been scrapped.

The AP article says that the funding for the project was going to the DoE, and that funding has been directed elsewhere.

While I think that it may be true that the project has been scrapped, I don't know if the DoE was the only people working on this project. It could be that development on the project is now going covert. Why do I think this? Because during most of the time that President Bush has been in office, bunker-busters have been of major importance. So it seems odd that the administration would scrap the project.

Of course, scrapping the project is probably a good idea. If you aren't familiar with the idea of a nuclear bunker-buster, it's a nuclear weapon that's designed to burrow into the ground then detonate with a delayed fuse/timer. The advantage to these weapons would have been that they could (probably) destroy bunkers placed in mountains and in extremely deep concrete or otherwise fortified areas. The problems with the weapons? Being a nuke, it would most likely have been impossible for the detonation to contain the dirt or concrete above the bunker; once the weapon went off, it would have thrown hundreds or thousands of cubic yards of irradiated material into the atmosphere and surrounding areas, creating a nuclear disaster. Other arguments against the development and use of tactical nukes: they lower the threshold for nuclear weapon deployment (no longer needed for all out war, would potentially erode the "Mutually Assured Destruction" ideal), and they would of course spur a security dilemma (which readers of this blog would know), and it's entirely possible that we would not be able to develop a weapon which could penetrate deep enough to be effective.

Overall, this is probably good news for just about everyone. It's unfortunate for people who advocate Nuclear Utilization Theory, and it's great for people who believe in Mutually Assured Destruction.


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