Anonymous
Anonymous asked in Politics & GovernmentPolitics · 1 decade ago

why does the us government continue testing nuclear weapons? do we plan to use it?

why does governments around the world keep testing nuclear weapons? shouldn't the government spend our tax money on something that won't kill us all?

note: nuclear power is more or less just a short term solution because of the build up of nuclear waste.

Update:

if technology can eventually deal with the waste, shouldn't we be putting more money into that?

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  • 1 decade ago
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    The short answer is called the theory of MAD. Mutual Assured Destruction. It basically means that that having these weapons, and letting other countries know that we will use them if they are used on us...keeps the other nuclear powers in check. What would be the benefit of blowing away your neighbor, if they would in turn wipe you out as well?

    The only problem with this theory is that it came into being before the real advent of the terrorists we now have. Today, we have groups of people who willingly blow themselves up to become a Martyr. They will have no problem using a dirty bomb on innocent civilians.

    The good news? It is much easier to detect a nuclear device being smuggled into this country because of the radiation it will emit. The bad news? Most intelligence analysts believe the next 9/11 type attack done in this country will be from chemical - or most probably - biological means.

    So invest in one of those bio hazard suits, dust off that gas mask, and buy lots of duct tape to seal off those doors and windows. Sometime during the next four years...you're gonna need it!

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  • 1 decade ago

    The US government no longer tests nuclear weapons by detonating them. They run complicated computer simulations to confirm the weapons will continue to do what we expect them to do. The reason they must do this is that the components that make up nuclear weapons suffer from the same aging process as anything else. The chemical high explosives begin to break down, the computer chips can fail, the circuit boards and the guidance computers all suffer age related degradation. You wouldn't expect to put your car in a garage for 30 years and then just come back and expect it to start right up, would you?

    However, the single most important reason that nuclear weapons must be tested over time is because nuclear materials have a half life. Over time, the amount of nuclear materials in the weapons gets less and less and other chemicals are created in their place. This is called radioactive decay and it allows one element to change into another spontaneously... and there is nothing anyone can do to slow it down or stop it. So, if you put 5 pounds of plutonium in your bomb 30 years ago, there might only be 4.9999 pounds now and the missing 0.0001 pounds is now lead. Maybe that will make a difference, maybe it won't. The only way to be sure is to test one occasionally. Since we aren't allowed to actually detonate one, we must use fancy computer calculations to make a very educated guess.

    Source(s): I am a nuclear engineer.
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  • 1 decade ago

    Nuclear weapons are seen by many as a deterrent.In other words, if your enemies know you have nuclear weapons, they are less likely to attack you.

    This worked well in as much as there was no direct war between the U.S and the Soviet Union during the cold war.

    As we have seen though, having nuclear weapons may stop nations from attacking you, but they do not stop individuals from carrying out terrorist attacks.

    As far as nuclear power goes, the waste can be reduced and concentrated and then stored safely. It is a very viable long-term energy source.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    With respect to your additional details on nuclear waste:

    Nuclear waste is a problem that was created artificially to make it difficult if not impossible to operate nuclear power plants.

    During the Carter Administration it was made illegal to reprocess the spent fuel rods from nuclear power plants.

    If the spent fuel rods are reprocessed, the spent nuclear fuel is reprocessed into more nuclear fuel.

    that eliminates the nuclear waste.

    Also nuclear power plants can be designed to produce more fuel than they consume. That gives you a virtually unlimited fuel supply.

    France gets over 80% of it's electricity from nuclear power plants and has virtually no nuclear waste because France reprocesses the fuel rods instead of treating them as waste.

    Apparently you are not old enough to have to pay your own electrical bills.

    Nuclear power plants are the cheapest, safest and cleanest source of electricity that we have in The United States of America.

    When you start paying your own electricity bills rather than your parents paying for the electricity that you use, you will have more appreciation for nuclear power.

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  • Mike W
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    According to the Department of Energy, the U.S. hasn't conducted a nuclear weapons test since September 23, 1992 ("Divider")

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  • 1 decade ago

    As far as I know, the last US nuclear test was in the early 90s. Saudia Arabia is developing nukes because they are afraid of Iran's program, and afraid the US is no longer willing to police the world.

    Iran hopes to develop nukes to sell to it's proxies. Terrorists hope to get their hands on Iranian nukes to blackmail the world.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    There is no more atmospheric nuclear testing. All tests are conducted so that no radiation escapes the confined area (Generally a bunker designed specifically for it).

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  • 1 decade ago

    like in baseball a pitcher has to work on his pitches or he loses his job. And its the same thing in the nuclear game. Just think if the Germans of WWII perfected the bomb first...

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I don't think they are. They're not detonating them anyway.

    Regarding your note, that's working under the principle that technology will not find a way to manage the waste.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    The testing is by computers today-no underground/above ground tests anymore. They check the quality of the material to see what ton-age a blast would be.

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