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NNN0LHI Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 09:43 AM
Original message
Museum replaces A-bomb model, citing security concerns
http://www.suntimes.com/output/news/cst-nws-atom20.html

LOS ALAMOS, N.M. -- A model of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima that had been on display at a museum for more than a decade has been removed and replaced for security reasons.

Los Alamos National Laboratory officials in charge of safeguarding national security now view the technology that ended the war against Japan 60 years ago as a potential target for theft.

Won't say what's classified

''The basic issue was that changes in the world created changes in classification that we had to respond to,'' said John Rhoades, director of the Bradbury Science Museum.

Rhoades said he was not able to comment on what aspects of the ''Little Boy'' bomb model may be classified. ''Little Boy'' was dropped on Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945. ''Fat Man'' was dropped on Nagasaki three days later.

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benburch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 09:45 AM
Response to Original message
1. This is fucking weird.
Gun-type assembly U-235 bombs are dead simple, and all of the facts have been out there for YEARS.
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punpirate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 09:49 AM
Response to Reply #1
5. And there's another replica eighty miles down the road...
... at the atomic weapons museum (open to the public) in Albuquerque at Kirtland AFB.

Yeah, this has a tinge of the paranoic to it.
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Enraged_Ape Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 11:25 AM
Response to Reply #5
13. It's not at Kirtland anymore
They moved the Atomic Museum to Old Town after 9-11, citing "security reasons". The trouble is, they couldn't move all the missiles and the B-52, and those things were awesome. It was also fun to drive onto the base with your family and friends and have the fully decked-out MPs wave you through.

Alas, no more. Republicans are all about spoiling our fun.

Have I said today how much I hate these people?
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punpirate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 07:08 PM
Response to Reply #13
19. Hmm. I hadn't been to the museum for about...
... fifteen years. Not a surprise they might do something like that after 9/11.

Cheers.
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Enraged_Ape Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 08:47 PM
Response to Reply #19
20. Gotta come on back down to Albuquerque, punpirate
Still lots of fun stuff to do down here!! And you can have it in red OR green!

:toast:
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susanna Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 09:49 PM
Response to Reply #5
23. More to the point...
If we think terrorist-minded individuals in the world haven't already visited these sites, well...just one more instance of some people not understanding or appreciating threats inherent in the world we inhabit.

It's also semi-strange that they've taken it off display what - four years after the attacks on the WTC and the Pentagon? Yeah, whatever. Smell test NOT passed, at least for me.
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hunter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-21-05 01:51 PM
Response to Reply #23
24. It's a good thing I'm not one of those "terrorist-minded individuals."
I been everywhere.
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Tesha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 10:11 AM
Response to Reply #1
10. There! You just gave away the fact they most want to classify!
> Gun-type assembly U-235 bombs are dead simple

There! You just gave away the fact they most want to classify!
Any idiot with enough HEU could build one and it *WOULD WORK*!

Tesha
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Javaman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 11:04 AM
Response to Reply #1
12. Just read Richard Rhodes, Dark Sun and you can make your own...
What I find amazing is: it's not like you can go to your local radio shack and get the parts for one.

Yes, in principal, they are simple in terms of physics but the reality is, they are very difficult to build, let alone amass the materials and parts.

This is why every nation on the earth was and still is spying on U.S. nuclear technology. They want a step up.

Removing the Atomic bomb model is just ridiculous.

Colossal failure*
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htuttle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 09:46 AM
Response to Original message
2. Didn't the 'Little Boy' bomb use the 'uranium bullet' design?
I think that's the design that any decent machinist could build -- no tricky timing issues, IIRC. Seems like the cow is already out of the barn on that one, though. The design is already widely published.



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jayfish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 09:50 AM
Response to Reply #2
7. Yes It Did.
Fat Man used an implosion design. All a person had to do was watch "Trinity and Beyond" last week and basic designs were laid right out. Crap I shouldn't have said that, now they'll want to ban that too.

Jay
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northzax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 09:54 AM
Response to Reply #2
8. it's a lot harder than you think
but yes, the general concept is in the public domain. Anyone who can get their hands on enough fissile uranium can get at least a mid-size nuke that will do a hell of a lot of damage.
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Xithras Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 10:47 AM
Response to Reply #8
11. Actually, it IS that easy
The designs for a Little Boy type bomb are all over the Internet (Google it and you can find a diagram in under two minutes), but this style of weapon isn't likely to be used by any terrorist with a brain.

The Little Boy design was abandoned because it was grossly inefficient...something less than 20% of its fissionable material actually detonated (it may have been less, but I studied this a long time ago). It's hard to believe that a terrorist group would go through the trouble of creating that much fissionable uranium just to turn around and waste 80% of it on such a primitive weapon. Implosion-type nuclear bombs deliver an equally big bang at a fraction of the fissile material cost.
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slackmaster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 02:34 PM
Response to Reply #11
18. Also, plutonium won't detonate reliably with that design
Plutonium is a lot cheaper to obtain but much more difficult to set off than U-235.
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Thor_MN Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 09:41 PM
Response to Reply #11
22. Then again, that 80% not fissioned get spread around nice and dirty like
A squibbed fission bomb may only take out a block or two in direct damage, but the fallout would be an effective terror weapon.

The key point in all of this is that obtaining the fissionable material is the hard part. If you can get it, you can make a critical mass. And then you would have another run on duct tape, plastic sheeting and Depends.
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Enraged_Ape Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 09:00 PM
Response to Reply #8
21. And therein lies the rub: fissile uranium
It takes an enormous amount of heavy machinery, time, and manpower to gather together enough weapons-grade fissile material to achieve critical mass--enough so that SOMEONE would spot what was going on and would blow the whistle on it.

Well, on second thought, maybe NOT--since Valerie Plame's intelligence operation was solely devoted to monitoring this kind of activity, and since the traitor Karl Rove BLEW HER COVER and destroyed her network, blinding us to what is really happening out there.

So never mind. We're doomed now. Thanks a lot, Karl.
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meegbear Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 09:47 AM
Response to Original message
3. Was it a working model?
:shrug:
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punpirate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 09:50 AM
Response to Reply #3
6. Nope. n/t
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The Night Owl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 09:47 AM
Response to Original message
4. Feel-good measures.
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MindPilot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 09:56 AM
Response to Original message
9. I don't get that at all
The new one is more "historically accurate" but the old one was apparently accurate to the point of being dangerous?

And someone is just going to wander out of the museum with a half ton atomic bomb? Riiiight.
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hunter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 01:01 PM
Response to Reply #9
15. You nailed it with "historically accurate."
Official U.S. history has never been constrained by any laws of physics. Some "official" U.S. history isn't even true. Building a working atomic bomb is not the same as building an official U.S. history of the atomic bomb...

I suspect the model was replaced because it didn't match some aspect of the official U.S. history.

From the museum's web page:

Welcome to the National Atomic Museum
Soon to be renamed the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History


http://www.atomicmuseum.com

I visited this museum very recently. It is a fascinating place. A lot of the stuff comes from the old museum at Kirtland AFB. (As a tourist with a history of anti-nuclear activism, signing in at the gates of Kirtland AFB to visit the museum always made me nervous...)
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DS1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 11:41 AM
Response to Original message
14. Bush wanted to autograph it before it was dropped somewhere in Syria
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mbperrin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 01:06 PM
Response to Original message
16. Quick! Pull all the airplane models off hobby store shelves
before someone figures out how to make something fly into something else!

:crazy:

Meanwhile, most refineries are "protected" by unmonitored chain link fences."

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KansDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-21-05 02:21 PM
Response to Reply #16
25. I was going to suggest that very same thing. Yank all the B-29s!
If they can figure out how to build an atomic bomb like the ones dropped on Japan, then they should be able to figure out how to build a B-29 to drop it with!

And remember: "Enola Gays" can't marry!
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Kolesar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 02:19 PM
Response to Original message
17. The USAF Museum account of the Vietnam War is bogus, too
I read the placards there a decade ago. Not a hint of how profoundly corrupt the South Vietnamese government was. All the aggression was on the part of the Communists.
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