Anonymous

Nuclear weapons: Difference between revisions

From dankwiki
No edit summary
 
(9 intermediate revisions by the same user not shown)
Line 14: Line 14:
<tt>(12:08:06 PM) elizabeth warren: that'll get you on a list or three</tt>
<tt>(12:08:06 PM) elizabeth warren: that'll get you on a list or three</tt>


Getting started in nuclear hobbyism is easier (and more fun!) than you likely think. ''WarGames'' taught us that computers and nuclear weapons are more interesting than dogs, parents, or Ally Sheedy (and more trustworthy than feelings). A computer program is simple interactions, tightly arranged, performed billions of times in the blink of an eye. A nuclear bomb is basically the same thing, but you can only run it once.
Getting started in nuclear hobbyism is easier (and more fun!) than you likely think. ''[[WarGames strategems|WarGames]]'' taught us that computers and nuclear weapons are more interesting than dogs, parents, or Ally Sheedy (and more trustworthy than feelings). A computer program is simple interactions, tightly arranged, performed billions of times in the blink of an eye. A nuclear bomb is basically the same thing, but you can only run it once.


It's true that your modern criticality fetishist has a rough time of things. Since 2001-09-11, great stocks of (unclassified) information have been purged from US government sites. Various fellow travelers (see [[Nuclear weapons#See Also|below]]) maintain partial archives. Relevant conference proceedings (high-density physics, etc) get snapped up on used book sites quickly. My recommendations are to follow ''The Making of the Atomic Bomb'' and ''The Los Alamos Primer'' (see [[Nuclear weapons#Books|"Books", below]]) with a few nuclear engineering and physics texts, at which point you'll be well-equipped to daydream about your own neutron initiator ideas and radical implosion symmetries. Don't be afraid to search through Russian papers; once you need to (you'll know when), they're sufficiently mathematically dense that you can follow along. The words are mainly just transitions anyway.
It's true that your modern criticality fetishist has a rough time of things. Since 2001-09-11, great stocks of (unclassified) information have been purged from US government sites. Various fellow travelers (see [[Nuclear weapons#See Also|below]]) maintain partial archives. Relevant conference proceedings (high-density physics, etc) get snapped up on used book sites quickly. My recommendations are to follow ''The Making of the Atomic Bomb'' and ''The Los Alamos Primer'' (see [[Nuclear weapons#Books|"Books", below]]) with a few nuclear engineering and physics texts, at which point you'll be well-equipped to daydream about your own neutron initiator ideas and radical implosion symmetries. Don't be afraid to search through Russian papers; once you need to (you'll know when), they're sufficiently mathematically dense that you can follow along. The words are mainly just transitions anyway.


All is not lost. The boys at [http://www.lanl.gov/ LANL] and [http://www.ornl.gov/ similar] [https://www.llnl.gov/ places] haven't been able to do criticality experiments since the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comprehensive_Nuclear-Test-Ban_Treaty CTBT's] signing, so it's a level ([[Nuclear weapons#Simulation|simulation]]-only) playing field. Today's supercomputer is tomorrow's slide rule; an HP48GX will certainly get you through spherically symmetric detonations, and a few [[CUDA|GPUs]] form a fine platform for running your own hydrocodes. Relevant shockwave theory, metallurgy and nuclear constants have long existed in the public domain. Neutron sources sufficient to grill <sup>233</sup>U from sheets of <sup>232</sup>Th in one's backyard are advertised in every issue of <i>Nuclear News</i> or <i>Physics Today</i>, while high-quality timing elements can practically be extracted from microwaves. The 2009 recession has left plenty of teenagers unemployed, and you can surely put them to work doing something.
All is not lost. The boys at [http://www.lanl.gov/ LANL] and [http://www.ornl.gov/ similar] [https://www.llnl.gov/ places] haven't been able to do criticality experiments since the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comprehensive_Nuclear-Test-Ban_Treaty CTBT's] signing, so it's a level ([[Nuclear weapons#Simulation|simulation]]-only) playing field. Today's supercomputer is tomorrow's slide rule; an HP48GX will certainly get you through spherically symmetric detonations, and a few [[CUDA|GPUs]] form a fine platform for running your own hydrocodes. Relevant shockwave theory, metallurgy and nuclear constants have long existed in the public domain. Neutron sources sufficient to grill <sup>233</sup>U from sheets of <sup>232</sup>Th in one's backyard are advertised in every issue of <i>Nuclear News</i> or <i>Physics Today</i> (though watch out for <sup>232</sup>U and attendant hard gammas!), while high-quality timing elements can practically be extracted from microwaves. The 2009 recession has left plenty of teenagers unemployed, and you can surely put them to work doing something.


When the going gets tough, just think to yourself: '''"If [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vela_Incident South Africa] can do it, well dammit, so can I!"'''
When the going gets tough, just think to yourself: '''"If [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vela_Incident South Africa] can do it, well dammit, so can I!"'''
Line 46: Line 46:
===Reactor Physics/Fuel Cycle===
===Reactor Physics/Fuel Cycle===
* Natural materials available:
* Natural materials available:
** Uranium. Terrestrial uranium ore of this epoch tends toward a 99.284%/0.711%/0.0058% <sup>238</sup>U/<sup>235</sup>U/<sup>234</sup>U split.
** Uranium. Terrestrial uranium ore of this epoch tends toward a 99.284% / 0.711% / 0.0058% <sup>238</sup>U/<sup>235</sup>U/<sup>234</sup>U split.
** Thorium. For all purposes, entirely <sup>232</sup>Th (look at the half-lives).
** Thorium. For all purposes, entirely <sup>232</sup>Th (look at the half-lives).
* No point in breeding up from lower Z's than <sup>232</sup>Th - No meaningful sources of other actinides
* No point in breeding up from lower Z's than <sup>232</sup>Th - No meaningful sources of other actinides
Line 57: Line 57:
* W. G. Sutcliffe and T.J. Trapp. eds. "Extraction and Utility of Reactor-Grade Plutonium for Weapons", Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. UCRL-LR-I 15542, 1994 (S/RD).  
* W. G. Sutcliffe and T.J. Trapp. eds. "Extraction and Utility of Reactor-Grade Plutonium for Weapons", Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. UCRL-LR-I 15542, 1994 (S/RD).  
* US DOE "Nonproliferation and Arms Control Assessment of Weapons-Usable Fissile Material Storage and Excess Plutonium Disposition Alternatives", 1997.
* US DOE "Nonproliferation and Arms Control Assessment of Weapons-Usable Fissile Material Storage and Excess Plutonium Disposition Alternatives", 1997.
==Fission Weapons==
==Fission Weapons==
* Criticality - subcritical - supercritical - prompt criticality - critical insertion time - insertion (gun-type) method - spontaneous fission
* Criticality - subcritical - supercritical - prompt criticality - critical insertion time - insertion (gun-type) method - spontaneous fission
Line 77: Line 78:
** Safety/reliability of materials/assemblies (Decay of Pu, tritium, polonium, neutron moderation by seawater, fire hazards)
** Safety/reliability of materials/assemblies (Decay of Pu, tritium, polonium, neutron moderation by seawater, fire hazards)
* Prompt neutrons - delayed neutrons - fast neutrons - slow neutrons - neutron reflectors
* Prompt neutrons - delayed neutrons - fast neutrons - slow neutrons - neutron reflectors
* Neutron sources / initator design - Monroe Effect - Beryllium/Polonium urchin - pulsed neutron tubes - shock initators - UD3/TiD2
* Neutron sources / initator design - Munroe Effect - Beryllium/Polonium urchin - pulsed neutron tubes - shock initators - UD3/TiD2
* High explosives - Taylor-Rayleigh instabilities - assembly geometry - neutron multiplications - Rankine-Hugeniot conditions
* High explosives - Taylor-Rayleigh instabilities - assembly geometry - neutron multiplications - Rankine-Hugeniot conditions
* Hydrides (see the <b>Ruth</b> section from [http://nuclearweaponarchive.org/Usa/Tests/Upshotk.html Upshot-Knothole])
* Hydrides (see the <b>Ruth</b> section from [http://nuclearweaponarchive.org/Usa/Tests/Upshotk.html Upshot-Knothole])
Line 83: Line 84:
** The additional interactions ('''not''' the reduced speed) take too long, though, and containment is lost
** The additional interactions ('''not''' the reduced speed) take too long, though, and containment is lost
* [http://arxiv.org/abs/physics/0510052 "The B61-based Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator: Clever retrofit or headway towards fourth-generation nuclear weapons?"]. Gsponer 2005-11-19.
* [http://arxiv.org/abs/physics/0510052 "The B61-based Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator: Clever retrofit or headway towards fourth-generation nuclear weapons?"]. Gsponer 2005-11-19.
==Fusion Weapons and Boosting==
==Fusion Weapons and Boosting==
* Hollow pit - DT infusion - dial-a-yield / FUFO ("full-fusing option") - lithium-deuteride - Li6 - Li7
* Hollow pit - DT infusion - dial-a-yield / FUFO ("full-fusing option") - lithium-deuteride - Li6 - Li7
Line 117: Line 119:
* Richard Piccard's [http://oak.cats.ohiou.edu/~piccard/radnotes/index.html Notes on Ionizing Radiation and Modern Physics]
* Richard Piccard's [http://oak.cats.ohiou.edu/~piccard/radnotes/index.html Notes on Ionizing Radiation and Modern Physics]
===Blogs===
===Blogs===
* [http://blog.nuclearsecrecy.com/ Restricted Data: The Nuclear Secrecy Blog] by Alex Wellerstein
* [http://www.armscontrolwonk.com Arms Control Wonk]
* [http://www.armscontrolwonk.com Arms Control Wonk]
* [http://totalwonkerr.com Total WonKerr]
* [http://totalwonkerr.com Total WonKerr]
* [http://glasstone.blogspot.com/ The Effects of Nuclear Weapons] (this one gets a little crazy)
* [http://glasstone.blogspot.com/ The Effects of Nuclear Weapons] (this one gets a little crazy)
* [http://roboteconomist.blogspot.com/ Arms Control Otaku] (no longer active)
* [http://roboteconomist.blogspot.com/ Arms Control Otaku] (no longer active)
===Books===
===Books===
The following textbooks range from introductory to advanced material, and all require some basic physics and associated mathematical sophistication. For obvious reasons, textbooks on actual weapon design, testing, engineering and maintenance are difficult to come across. There's a wide variety of excellent books on political theory of nuclear weapons, which I'm unqualified to rate (update: Kahn's ''[http://www.amazon.com/Thermonuclear-War-Herman-Kahn/dp/141280664X On Thermonuclear War]'' is absolutely required reading). Consult your local university's political science department for more information.
The following textbooks range from introductory to advanced material, and all require some basic physics and associated mathematical sophistication. For obvious reasons, textbooks on actual weapon design, testing, engineering and maintenance are difficult to come across. There's a wide variety of excellent books on political theory of nuclear weapons, which I'm unqualified to rate (update: Kahn's ''[http://www.amazon.com/Thermonuclear-War-Herman-Kahn/dp/141280664X On Thermonuclear War]'' is absolutely required reading). Consult your local university's political science department for more information.
* Dalton Borroso's ''[https://www.amazon.com/PHYSICS-NUCLEAR-EXPLOSIVES-DALTON-BARROSO/dp/B08VRN2ZM5 The Physics of Nuclear Explosives]'' almost makes things too easy.
* Zel'dovich's ''[https://www.amazon.com/Physics-Shock-High-Temperature-Hydrodynamic-Phenomena/dp/0486420027 Physics of Shockwaves and High-Temperature Hydrodynamic Phenomena]'' might be less direct, but covers more material than anything else.
* Hans Bethe's ''[http://www.amazon.com/Basic-Bethe-Seminal-Articles-Astronomy/dp/0883184958 Basic Bethe]'' ought be required reading for all people.
* Kenneth Krane's ''[http://www.amazon.com/Introductory-Nuclear-Physics-Kenneth-Krane/dp/047180553X Introductory Nuclear Physics]'' (assumes an undergraduate background in quantum mechanics)
* Kenneth Krane's ''[http://www.amazon.com/Introductory-Nuclear-Physics-Kenneth-Krane/dp/047180553X Introductory Nuclear Physics]'' (assumes an undergraduate background in quantum mechanics)
* Weston Stacey's ''[http://www.amazon.com/Fusion-Plasma-Physics-Textbook/dp/3527405860/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1240110013&sr=1-3 Fusion Plasma Physics]'' (assumes a strong background in electromagnetics)
* Weston Stacey's ''[http://www.amazon.com/Fusion-Plasma-Physics-Textbook/dp/3527405860/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1240110013&sr=1-3 Fusion Plasma Physics]'' (assumes a strong background in electromagnetics)