Archive for December 8th, 2012|Daily archive page
On December 6, the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) posted on their website that a day earlier it had conducted ‘Pollux,’ the U.S.’s 27th subcritical nuclear experiment since signing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). Pollux was a first-of-its-kind subcritical test involving a scale model nuclear warhead primary (this fact wasn’t mentioned in their press release).
The CTBT allows these underground explosive experiments on plutonium as long as they don’t sustain a chain reaction, however the U.S. has not allowed international inspectors access to its test site since the late 1990s, so the veracity of its claims that it didn’t conduct a very small nuclear explosion – cannot be established. Since the formation of the CTBT, subcritical experiments have been under attack because of their proliferation risks. Andrew Kishner, founder of NuclearCrimes.org, said ‘Any nuclear experiment that’s conceivably helpful for advancing nuclear weapons designs and, worse, conducted in an underground area of a nuclear test site, is a recipe for global destabilization.’ In 1997, Indonesia’s Foreign Minister Ali Alatas remarked at a United Nations meeting “Unless the nuclear powers desisted from subcritical tests and computer simulations to design new weapons, there could be a resumption of the nuclear arms race and a revival risk of global disaster.”
The NNSA is a semi-autonomous agency of the U.S. Department of Energy, which, through 1992, conducted hundreds of nuclear tests at the former Nevada Test Site. That site, a ‘proving grounds’ for nuclear weapons testing, was renamed in recent years to the Nevada National Security Site, which maintains a ‘readiness’ for treaty breakout and resumption of nuclear testing.
Andrew Kishner said ‘As an American, the thing that angers me about subcritical tests is that the DOE is an un-rehabilitated nuclear criminal. They’re back at the scene of the crime. Their test site is still open for blowing up nuclear bombs. Today, those bombs entail subcritical explosions. But I fear the DOE has on its wish list to do critical ones, and won’t care again who is living downwind.’