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Will nuclear weapons completely disappear in the future ?

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  • Will nuclear weapons completely disappear in the future ?

    I was wondering about the future of nuclear weapons. US and Russia are now signing treaties to reduce their nuclear arsenals, I read once that US had 30,000 warheads at its peak and now they reduced them to only 5,000 and they are reducing them even more. So now, would that anyhow mean that nuclear weapons will disappear from the world one day ?

  • #2
    In the time it has taken the US and USSR/Russia to reduce their arsenals, about half a dozen additional nations have acquired nuclear weapons. I don't see these weapons going away anytime soon.
    Any metaphor will tear if stretched over too much reality.

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    • #3
      Thermonuclear weapons, those warheads that use hydrogen fission to produce a fusion reaction are the peak of human designed weaponry. Until we develop a pure fusion weapon, antimatter weapon, charged and neutral particle beam, free-electron lasers, electromagnetic bomb, electrolaser, plasma weapon, gamma weapon, or a sun gun, the hydrogen bomb still reigns supreme. If we were to create a weapon capable of the same destructive force but without the radiation, then it makes non-proliferation a lot harder as non-proliferation focuses on controlling the refinement of radioactive uranium or plutonium for use in a nuclear warhead. Nuclear weapons are said to degrade over time, so it might be that old Cold War weapons won't have the same force as they were calculated to. They still will be destructive but just not as much.

      Some day nuclear weapons will be obsolete by such advances in high energy speed of light lasers capable of blowing up anything it can target. There could be infrared homing magnetized weapons that could literally home in on the heat source and then simply smash the missile, allowing the warhead to fall off. Another could be the use of electromagnetics (without the need to air burst a nuclear bomb), to take out enemy electronics, provided they aren't hardened against such an attack or have a back up system in place, or you could do this against the missiles guidance system too. I like the idea of using smart bullets, rounds that are fired out of gun, say from 2 0mm to 30 mm. Something like a conventional 25 mm guided round or gas powered gatling cannon rounds that go for inertia impact or auto-explode when it knows its close enough to the target. I want a weapon that is old school enough so that it isn't dependent on electricity and can still be able to guide itself to target even if the plane's, ship's or tank's power systems are down.
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      • #4
        Will nuclear weapons disappear completely in the future? Unlikely. Until India and Pakistan are the best of friends, and Russia and China get into bed together, and until the Arabs and Israelis settle their differences peacefully and permanently.

        That still leaves France and Great Britain: France won't give hers up because they make her feel important, and we won't give ours up because then we wouldn't be Great any longer - knowing you can blow up the Northern Hemisphere at the flick of a switch is a big fillip to our post-imperial ego, you know ...

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        • #5
          In several more million years they will for sure when all of the material they are made from has decaded away....

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Frtigern View Post
            Some day nuclear weapons will be obsolete
            Nuclear weapons are already obsolete as weapons of war, with the way conventional weapons and war-fighting has evolved. Though they are not obsolete as weapons of terror, instruments of political leverage, and tools of deterrence. The possession of such weapons will never be obsolete so I doubt they will ever truly disappear.
            Кто там?
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            • #7
              Not in our lifetime. Nukes are the ultimate trump card. Even if the other guy has them. And with the proliferation, nobody who already has them, will want to get rid of theirs, just in case.

              At one point the US did have 30,000, or whatever the number was. But most of those were not deployed. By deployed I mean on a missile or bomber somewhere. At peak we only had like 8,000, IIRC, deployed. The rest were old obsolete warheads that were being stored, just in case, or awaiting deactivation.

              If anything had ever actually happened, all those in storage would never have been used. There wouldn't have been anything left to use them on.

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              • #8
                The nukes well be with use until the first exchange of nukes in war. When large parts of Earth are laid waste and we realize the folly of war at this level. Then and only then they might be given up. Even then it is doubtful.
                "Ask not what your country can do for you"

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                • #9
                  Nuclear weapons are here to stay until mankind invents something far worse.

                  If we live that long.
                  God Save The Republic.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Frtigern View Post
                    Thermonuclear weapons, those warheads that use hydrogen fission to produce a fusion reaction are the peak of human designed weaponry. Until we develop a pure fusion weapon, antimatter weapon, charged and neutral particle beam, free-electron lasers, electromagnetic bomb, electrolaser, plasma weapon, gamma weapon, or a sun gun, the hydrogen bomb still reigns supreme. If we were to create a weapon capable of the same destructive force but without the radiation, then it makes non-proliferation a lot harder as non-proliferation focuses on controlling the refinement of radioactive uranium or plutonium for use in a nuclear warhead. Nuclear weapons are said to degrade over time, so it might be that old Cold War weapons won't have the same force as they were calculated to. They still will be destructive but just not as much.
                    Great, but have you got any idea about how much is that degradation ?
                    Like how much would a 300 kt warhead from old cold war be now ?

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Hurricane93 View Post
                      Great, but have you got any idea about how much is that degradation ?
                      Like how much would a 300 kt warhead from old cold war be now ?
                      IIRC it is the neutron source used in the trigger that degrades fastest. If that is correct then the weapon will still yield about 300 kt if it goes off. The problem becomes whether or not it will in fact go off.

                      I'd check FAS.org first as they have a lot technical docs online and they were still free last I checked. Be prepared to do some reading.
                      Any metaphor will tear if stretched over too much reality.

                      Questions about our site? See the FAQ.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Hurricane93 View Post
                        I was wondering about the future of nuclear weapons. US and Russia are now signing treaties to reduce their nuclear arsenals, I read once that US had 30,000 warheads at its peak and now they reduced them to only 5,000 and they are reducing them even more. So now, would that anyhow mean that nuclear weapons will disappear from the world one day ?
                        Has gunpowder completely disappeared? lcm1
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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Hurricane93 View Post
                          Great, but have you got any idea about how much is that degradation ?
                          Like how much would a 300 kt warhead from old cold war be now ?
                          If all other systems can be maintained (this may not be the case for the electronics, propellents, etc.) then the only factor is the decay rate of the radioactive isotopes used to make the bomb. Most bombs use Plutonium 239 which is semi-stable and fissionable. P-239 has a half life of ~24,000 years so this is not going away any time soon. It will remain dangerous for 1000's of years.

                          The long term viability of the other systems are hard to say. Solid fuel rockets can remain stable for decades. Electronics can be replaced.

                          New weapons can be produce with relative ease. I would say that Nukes will not go away ever. Humans don't just throw away destructive technologies and forget about them without some compelling reason.
                          Battles are dangerous affairs... Wang Hsi

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Pirate-Drakk View Post
                            If all other systems can be maintained (this may not be the case for the electronics, propellents, etc.) then the only factor is the decay rate of the radioactive isotopes used to make the bomb. Most bombs use Plutonium 239 which is semi-stable and fissionable. P-239 has a half life of ~24,000 years so this is not going away any time soon. It will remain dangerous for 1000's of years.

                            The long term viability of the other systems are hard to say. Solid fuel rockets can remain stable for decades. Electronics can be replaced.

                            New weapons can be produce with relative ease. I would say that Nukes will not go away ever. Humans don't just throw away destructive technologies and forget about them without some compelling reason.
                            exactly and that was the point of this thread in the first place,not do they have to be replaced but will they disappear completely. lcm1
                            'By Horse by Tram'.


                            I was in when they needed 'em,not feeded 'em.
                            " Youuu 'Orrible Lot!"

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by GCoyote View Post
                              IIRC it is the neutron source used in the trigger that degrades fastest. If that is correct then the weapon will still yield about 300 kt if it goes off. The problem becomes whether or not it will in fact go off.

                              I'd check FAS.org first as they have a lot technical docs online and they were still free last I checked. Be prepared to do some reading.
                              Can't these neutron sources be replaced ?
                              I mean, since the Plutonium or the Uranium hasn't degraded, then the weapon can still be made to work with some maintenance, correct ?

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