Posted on | September 20, 2011 | 1 Comment
The use of automobile metaphors in descriptions of nuclear weapon technology is somewhere between comedy and cliche.
Here’s my latest entry (sub/ad req):
You could think of the B61 as the Volkswagen bug of the U.S. nuclear arsenal — reliable, adaptable and very, very old.
I also said some other, more substantive things:
The risk, according to the report from the Senate Appropriations Energy and Water Subcommittee, is that the labs and NNSA are going too far in their effort to bring the aging B61s into the 21st century. In an effort to improve the bombs’ safety and security, the weaponeers may actually be jeopardizing its long-term reliability, the Senate report suggests.
“NNSA plans to incorporate untried technologies and design features to improve the safety and security of the nuclear stockpile,” the report says. “The committee supports enhanced surety of weapon systems to avoid accidents and unauthorized use, but it should not come at the expense of long-term weapon reliability. New safety and security features should be incorporated in weapon systems when feasible, but the primary goal … should be to increase confidence in warhead performance without underground nuclear testing.”