Category: NEW WORLD ORDER


Complete List of All U.S. Nuclear Weapons

Last changed 14 October 2006

If a weapon name is an active link, click on it to see a picture of the weapon, or a page on it (if one exists).

I14-06-abomb

il_nuke_core

Mk-I
mk01-graphic

Bomb
28
120
8,900
15 – 16 Kt
Airburst
Used in combat in 1945, never stockpiled; only 5 bomb assemblies completed, all retired by Nov 1950
Gun-assembly HEU bomb; "Little Boy" dropped on Hiroshima

012604-1

090799china-nuke.2

Mk-II
Bomb
Theoretical design, never produced
Low-efficiency plutonium implosion bomb

Mk-III
mk03-graphic

Bomb
60.25
128
10,300
18, 20-23, 37, 49 Kt
Airburst
Used in combat in 1945; mass production 4/47-4/49, 120 produced; all retired late 1950
Plutonium implosion bomb; "Fat Man", Model 1561; Mods 0, 1, 2

520131

Mk-4
mk04-graphic

Bomb
60
128
10,800 – 10,900
1, 3.5, 8, 14, 21, 22, 31 Kt
Airburst
Entered service 3/49; produced 3/49-5/51; 550 produced (all mods);
Retired 7/52-5/53
Implosion fission bomb; redesigned weapon based on Mk-III Mod 1; first IFI weapon; first assembly-line produced nuclear weapon; used type C and D pits, composite Pu-HEU cores; 3 mods

T-1 / TX-1
Atomic Demolition Munition
About 8
?
About 150
Low kiloton
Time delay
Entered service, withdrawn, late 1940s
Developed at Picatinny Arsenal for the U.S. Army. The only U.S. nuclear weapon ever developed outside of the nuclear laboratory system. Gun-assembly HEU weapon.

W-4
Warhead
60
90
6,500
Airburst
Canceled 1951
Planned warhead for the Snark SSM cruise missile; Mk-4 bomb derivative

Mk-5
mk05-graphic

Bomb
43.75
129 – 132
3,025 – 3,175
6, 16, 55, 60, 100, 120 Kt
Airburst or contact
Entered operational stockpile 5/52;
last retired 1/63;
140 bombs (all mods) produced
92 lens high efficiency implosion bomb; used type D pit, composite cores; first weapon with major size/weight reduction over Fat Man; used as primary (1st stage) in the first thermonuclear devices; 4 mods; first weapon to use auto IFI

W-5
Warhead
39; 44
76
2,405 – 2,650; 2,600 (XW-5-X1)
same as Mk-5
Airburst or surface
Start of manufacture 4/54 (Regulus), 7/54 (Matador);
retired 7/61 – 1/63;
35 (Regulus), 65 (Matador) produced
Warhead for the Matador (MGM-1) and Regulus 1 (SSM-N-8) SSM cruise missiles; application to the Rascal air-to-surface canceled; first missile warhead; produced by modifying stockpile Mk-5 bombs

Mk-6
mk06-graphic (1)

Bomb
61
128
7,600 – 8,500
8, 26, 80, 154, 160 Kt
Airburst or contact
Manufactured from 7/51 to early 1955; 1100 bombs (all mods) produced; last retired 1962
Improved high-yield lightweight Mk-4; 7 mods; some Mk-4Ds were converted Mk-6 Mod 0; early mods had 32 lens implosion system, Mod 2 and later had 60 lens system

Mk-7
mk07-graphic

Bomb
30.5
183
1,645 – 1,700
8, 19, 22, 30, 31, 61 Kt
Airburst or contact
Manufactured 7/52 – 2/63; in service July 1952-1967; 1700 – 1800 produced
Mk-7 "Thor"; multipurpose light weight tactical bomb; 92 lens implosion system; 6-7 yields; 10 mods, PAL A used on late mods

mark7nuclearbomb

W-7
Warhead
30 – 30.5
54.8 – 56
900 – 1,100;
970 (W-7-X1 / X2);
983 (Betty)
90 T; 2 – 40 Kt
Airburst, surface, hydrostatic
W-7 warhead manufacture begun 12/53;
BOAR: stockpiled 1956 – 1963, 225 produced;
Corporal: stockpiled 1955 – 1965, 300 produced;
Honest John: stockpiled 1954 – 1960, 300 produced;
ADM: stockpiled 1955-1963, 300 produced;
Betty: stockpiled 6/55 – 1960, 225 produced;
Nike Hercules: canceled 1956
Multipurpose warhead – BOAR air-surface rocket, the Corporal (M-2) and Honest John (M-3) ballistic missiles, ADM, Betty Mk 90 ASW depth bomb, Nike Hercules SAM missile warhead (W-7-X1/X2); 7 yields, 4 mods; Corporal yield 2-40 Kt (several options), ADM yield low (90 T?), Betty yield 32 Kt

Mk-8
mk08-graphic

Bomb
14.5
116 – 132
3,230 – 3,280
25 – 30 Kt
Pyrotechnic delay
Manufactured 11/51 – 5/53; in service 1/52 – 6/57; 40 produced (all mods)
Earth penetrating weapon, gun-assembly HEU bomb, nicknamed "Elsie" (for LC – light case), 2 mods; replaced by the Mk-11

W-8
Warhead
Canceled May 1955
Gun-assembly warhead, intended for use as a cratering warhead for the Regulus missile

W-9
Artillery Shell
11.02 (280 mm)
54.8
803; 850
15 Kt
Mechanical time delay airburst
Manufactured 4/52 – 11/53;
Retired 5/57; 80 produced
Used in T-124, the first U.S. nuclear artillery shell; gun-assembly HEU weapon, modified TX-8; replaced 1-for-1 by W-19; only 20 280mm cannons were ever made

Mk-9 / T-4
Atomic Demolition Munition
120 – 200
Time delay
Stockpiled 1957;
retired 1963
The T-4 was built from recycled W-9 warheads; gun-assembly HEU weapon; replaced by W-45

Mk-10
Bomb
12
1,750; 1,500
12 – 15 Kt
Airburst
Canceled May 1952
"Airburst Elsie", a reduced size/ weight derivative of the Mk-8; superseded by the Mk-12

Mk-11
mk11-graphic

Bomb
14
147
3,210 – 3,500
Pyrotechnic delay
Manufactured 1/56 – 1957; in service 1/56 – 1960; 40 produced
Improved Mk-8 gun-assembly weapon, replaced Mk-8 on 1-for-1 basis; stockpiled as the "Mk-91 penetration bomb"

Mk-12
mk12-graphic

Bomb
22
155
1,100 – 1,200
12, 14 Kt
Timer or contact
Manufactured 12/54 – 2/57;
Retired 7/58 – 7/62; 250 produced
High-speed fighter-bomber weapon; 92-point implosion weapon; nicknamed "Brok"; probably first weapon using beryllium tamper; 4 versions stockpiled – 2 prototypes, 2 mods

W-12
Warhead
22
900
Low Kt
Airburst
Canceled Nov 1955
Talos (Navy)/Talos-W (Army) surface-air missile warhead

MK-13
Bomb
61
128
7,400
32 Kt (Upshot – Knothole Harry shot)
Airburst or contact
Canceled Aug 1954
High-yield Mk-6 follow-on, 92-point implosion system; superseded by TN Mk-15/39

W-13
Warhead
58
100
6,000 – 6,500
Airburst or contact
Canceled Sept 1954
Early warhead intended for Snark cruise missile, Redstone ICBM; superseded by TN Mk/W-15/39

TX / MK-14
mk14-graphic

Bomb
61.4
222 – 223.5
28,954 – 29,851; 31,000
5-7 Mt; 6.9 Mt (Castle Union shot)
Airburst
Stockpiled 2/54 – 10/54;
5 produced
First deployed solid-fuel thermonuclear weapon; recycled into Mk-17 weapons by 9/56; used 95% enriched Li-6; 64 ft parachute

MK-15
mk15-graphic

Bomb
34.4 – 34.7; 35
136 – 140
7,600
1.69 Mt (Castle Nectar), 3.8 Mt (Redwing Cherokee)
Airburst, contact (F/F or rtd), laydown
Manufactured 4/55 – 2/57;
Retired 8/61 – 4/65; 1200 produced (all mods)
First "lightweight" U.S. TN bomb; used HEU secondary casing; 3 mods; 1×3 ft and 1×12 ft ribbon parachutes

W-15
Warhead
34.5
6,400 – 6,560
Canceled Feb 1957
Class "C" TN missile warhead derived from MK-15, canceled in favor of very closely related W-39

TX-16
mk16-graphic

Bomb
61.4
296.7
39,000 – 42,000
6 – 8 Mt
Airburst
Stockpiled 1/54 – 4/54;
5 produced
First deployed thermonuclear weapon; weaponized version of Ivy Mike device; only cryogenic TN weapon ever deployed

EC-17
Bomb
61.4
224.9
39,600
11 Mt (Castle Romeo shot)
Airburst
Stockpiled 4/54 – 10/54; 5 produced
"Emergency Capability" weapon (deployed prototype); used natural lithium; free fall bomb

MK-17
mk17-graphic

Bomb
61.4
296.7
41,400 – 42,000
10 – 15 Mt
Airburst or contact (Mod 2 only)
Manufactured 7/54 – 11/55;
Retired 11/56 – 8/57; 200 produced
Similar to MK-24, different secondary; heaviest U.S. nuclear weapon, 2nd highest yield of any U.S. weapon (along with similar Mk-24); 3 mods; Mod 2 contact fused; 1×64 ft. parachute; replaced by the Mk-36

MK-18
Bomb
60
128
8,600
500 Kt (Ivy King shot)
Airburst or contact
Manufactured 3/53 – 2/55;
Retired 1/56 – 3/56; 90 produced (all mods)
Very high-yield MK-6/Mk-13 follow-on; largest pure fission bomb ever deployed; nicknamed the SOB ("Super Oralloy Bomb"); 92-point implosion system, all HEU core; 2 mods;
Retired by conversion to lower yield Mk-6 Mod 6; superseded by TN Mk-15 and Mk-28

W-19
Artillery Shell
11.02 (280 mm)
54
600
15 – 20 Kt
Mechanical time delay airburst
Production began 7/55;
Retired 1963; 80 produced
Used in T-315 atomic projectile; improved W-9; gun-assembly HEU weapon

Mk-20
Bomb
60
128
6,400
Canceled Aug 1954
Improved high-yield MK-13; superseded by TN MK-15

Mk-21
Bomb
56.2; 58.5
149 – 150
15,000 – 17,700
4 – 5 Mt
Airburst, contact, laydown
Manufactured 12/55 – 7/56;
Retired 6/57 – 1//57; 275 produced (all mods)
Redesigned Shrimp TN device with 95% enriched Li-6 fuel; 3 mods, all "dirty"; "clean" version tested, never deployed; Mod 1 contact fused; Mod 2 also had w/boosted primary;
Retired by conversion to Mk-36-Y1 Mod 1

W-21
Warhead
52;
145
15,000 – 16,000
Canceled
For B-58, SM-64A 56 Navaho

Mk-22
Bomb
51
18,000
1 Mt
Canceled April 1954
UCRL design based on the Morgenstern/Ramrod devices; canceled following Morgenstern fizzle (Castle Koon)

W-23
Artillery Shell
16
64
1,500; 1,900
15 – 20 Kt
Mechanical time delay airburst
Production began 10/56;
Retired 10/62;
50 produced
US Navy "Katie" shell; W-19 (11 inch shell) internal components adapted to 16 inch shell body

EC 24
Bomb
61
225
39,600
13.5 Mt (Castle Yankee shot)
Airburst
Stockpiled 4/54 – 10/54;
10 produced
"Emergency Capability" weapon (deployed prototype); used enriched Li-6; free fall bomb

Mk-24
Bomb
61.4
296
41,400 – 42,000
10 – 15 Mt
Airburst
Manufactured 7/54 – 11/55;
Retired 9/56 – 10/56;
105 produced
Similar to MK-17, different secondary; heaviest U.S. nuclear weapon, 2nd highest yield of any U.S. weapon (along with similar Mk-17); 2 mods (Mod 2 with contact burst canceled); 1×64 ft parachute; replaced by the Mk-36

W-25
Warhead
17.35 – 17.4
25.7 – 26.6
218 – 221
1.7 Kt
Time delay
Manufactured 5/57 – 5/60;
Mod 0 retired 8/61 – 1965, all retired by 12/84;
3150 produced (all mods)
MB-1 Genie AAM warhead; unboosted composite implosion warhead; first "sealed pit" weapon; 2 mods, Mod 1 had environmental sensing device safeties

Mk-26
Bomb
56.2
150
15,000 – 17,700
Canceled 1956
Mk-21 sibling design

Mk-27
Bomb
30.2
125 – 142
3,150 – 3,300
Airburst or contact
Manufactured 11/58 – 6/59;
Retired 11/62 – 7/65; 700 (all mods) produced
Navy TN bomb; This UCRL design was a competitor with the LASL Mk-28 to satisfy the Class "D" light weight TN bomb requirement; 3 mods

W-27
Warhead
30.25 – 31
75
2,800
2 Mt
Airburst or contact
Manufactured 9/58 – 6/59;
retired 8/62 – 7/65;
20 produced
Regulus I (SSM-N-8) SSM cruise missile warhead; considered for several other systems all of which were were canceled: the F-101 and B-58 bomb pods, and the Rascal, Regulus II, and Matador cruise missiles

Mk-28
mk28-graphic

Bomb
20; 22
96 – 170
1,700 – 2,320
Y1: 1.1 Mt,
Y2: 350 Kt,
Y3: 70 Kt,
Y5: 1.45 Mt
FUFO: F/F or retarded, airburst or contact, laydown
Manufactured 1/58 – 3/58, 8/58 – 5/66; retirement of early mods began 1961, last one retired 9/91; 4500 produced (all mods)
Multipurpose TN tactical and strategic bomb; longest weapon design in U.S. (33 years); 2nd largest production run of any U.S. weapon design; Y4 was fission only; 20 mods and variants; PAL A (Y1), B (Y2), D (Y3, Y5); replaced by B-61 and B-83 bombs; 1-point safety problem with primary discovered after start of initial manufacture, halting production for 5 months

mark28nuclearbomb

W-28
Warhead
20
60
1,500 – 1,725
70 Kt – 1.45 Mt
Airburst or contact
Manufactured 8/58 – 5/66, entered service (Hound Dog) 1959 and (Mace) 1960;
Hound Dog retired 1/64 – 1976, Mace retired 1970;
production – 900 (Hound Dog), 100 (Mace)
Warhead for the Hound Dog (AGM-28) and Mace (MGM-13) cruise missiles; 5 mods; PAL A and B

W-29
Warhead
52; 35
145
3,500
Canceled Aug 1955
Canceled in favor of Mk-15

W-30
Warhead
22
48
438; 490; 450
300 T; 500 T (Talos and TADM); 4.7 Kt; 19 Kt
Airburst, contact, time delay
TADM: stockpiled 1961 – 1966, 300 produced;
Talos: manufactured 2/59 – 1/65, retired 1/62 – 3/79; 300 produced
Multipurpose warhead: Talos SAM/SSM, XW-30-X1 TADM (Tactical Atomic Demolition Munition) warhead; Talos – 1 yield, 3 mods; TADM – 2 yields stockpiled

W-31
Warhead
28 – 29; 30
39 – 39.3
900 – 945
1, 2, 12, 20, 40 Kt
Airburst, timer, surface
Honest John: manufactured 10/59 – 12/61, retired 7/67 – 1987, 1650 produced;
Nike Hercules: manufactured 10/58 – 12/61, retired 7/67 – 9/89, 2550 produced;
ADM: stockpiled 9/60 – 1965, 300 produced
Multipurpose boosted fission warhead: Honest John SSM, Nike Hercules SAM, ADM (Atomic Demolition Munition);
Versions used: Honest John: W-31 Mod 0, 3; Nike-Hercules: W-31 Mod 0, 2; ADM: Mk-31 Mod 1;
4 yields stockpiled: 2 for Nike-Hercules, 3 for Honest John (2, 20, and 40 Kt)

W-32
Artillery Shell
9.45 (240 mm)
400; 450
Canceled May 1955

W-33
Artillery Shell
8 (203 mm)
37
240 – 243
5 – 10 Kt, 40 Kt (Y2)
Mechanical time delay airburst
Manufactured 1/57 – 1/65;
Retired 9/92; 2000 produced
W-33 used in the T-317 atomic projectile; gun-assembly HEU weapon; used titanium to reduce weight and size; 4 yields (Y1 – Y4) using different internal HEU assemblies, high yield variant may be boosted; 2 mods

W-34
ASW warhead / Bomb
17
32
312; 320; 311
11 Kt
Hydrostatic, laydown, impact
ASW: Manufactured 8/58 – 12/62;
retired 7/64 – 1971 (Lulu), 7/64 – 1976 (Astor);
2000 Lulu, 600 Astor produced;
Hotpoint: Manufactured 6/58 – 9/62;
Retired by 1965;
600 produced
Multipurpose warhead for ASW (antisubmarine warfare) and tactical use; ASW: Mk-34 Lulu depth bomb, Mk-44 Astor torpedo; tactical: Mk-105 Hotpoint bomb, first parachute retarded laydown weapon; 2 mods; boosted fission implosion device identical to the Mk-28 primary

W-35
Warhead
20; 28
1,500 – 1,700
1.75 Mt
Canceled Aug 1958
Early LASL TN ballistic missile warhead, intended for Atlas, Titan ICBMs, Thor, Jupiter IRBMs; competitor with UCRL W-38; canceled in favor of W-49 (a modified Mk-28)

Mk-36
mk36-graphic

Bomb
56.2; 58; 59
150
17,500; 17,700
9 – 10 Mt
F/F or retarded airburst or contact
Manufactured 4/56 – 6/58;
Retired 8/61 – 1/62; 940 produced (all mods)
Two-stage TN strategic bomb; Y1 "dirty," Y2 "clean", each in two mods; parachutes 1×5 ft, 1×24 ft ribbon; all Mk-21s converted to Mk-36 in 1957;
Retired in favor of Mk-41; at retirement this weapon represented almost half of the megatonnage of the U.S. arsenal

W-37
Warhead
30
900; 940
Canceled Sept 1956
Intended to be a high-yield multipurpose companion to the W-31; XW-37 was redesignated XW-31Y2

W-38
Warhead
32
82.5
3,080
3.75 Mt
Airburst or contact
Manufactured 5/61 – 1/63; retired 1/65 – 5/65; Production: 110 (Atlas), 70 (Titan)
Warhead for Atlas E/F and Titan I ICBMs; used Avco Mk 4 RV; first UCRL designed TN ballistic missile warhead; competitor with LASL W-35/49

Mk-39
mk39-graphic

Bomb
35, 44 (tail section)
136 – 140
6,650 – 6,750
3-4 Mt (2 yields, Y1 and Y2)
Airburst, contact; mod w/low-level retarded laydown
Manufactured 2/57 – 3/59;
Retired 1/62 to 11/66; 700 produced (all mods)
Improved Mk-15, Mk-39 Mod 0 same as TX-15-X3; used gas-boosted primary to reduce weight; thermal batteries, improved safeties; 3 mods; parachutes: 1×6 ft, 1×28 ribbon, 1×100 ft

mark39nuclearbomb

W-39
Warhead
34.5 – 35
105.7
6,230 – 6,400
3.8 Mt (2 yields, Y1 and Y2)
Redstone: stockpiled 7/58 – 1963, 60 produced;
Snark: manufactured 4/58 – 7/58, retired 8/62 – 9/65, 30 produced
Warhead for Snark cruise missile, Redstone MRBM, B-58 weapon pod;
Versions: Redstone Mk-39Y1 Mod 1 and Mk-39Y2 Mod 1, Snark Mk-39Y1 Mod 1; W-39 identical to Mk-39 except for fuzing system

W-40
Warhead
17.9
31.64
350; 385 (Y1)
10 Kt (Y1)
Airburst or contact
Bomarc: manufactured 9/59 – 5/62, retired by 11/72, 350 produced;
Lacrosse: manufactured 9/59 – 5/62, retired 10/63 – 1964, 400 produced
Warhead for Bomarc SAM and Lacrosse SSM; boosted implosion system adapted from Mk-28 primary; initially deployed version (produced 6/59-8/59) not 1-point safe, Mod 2 retrofit required; 2 yields

Mk-41
Bomb
52
148
10,500 – 10,670
25 Mt
FUFU: F/F or retarded, airburst or contact, laydown
Manufactured 9/60 – 6/62;
Retired 11/63 – 7/76; 500 produced
Highest yield U.S. weapon ever deployed; only U.S. 3-stage TN weapon; Y1 "dirty," Y2 "clean"; parachutes 1×4 ft, 1×16.5 ft;
retired in favor of Mk-53

W-41
Warhead
50
9,300
Canceled July 1957

W-42
Warhead
13 – 14
18.5
75 – 92
Proximity
Canceled June 1961
Intended for air-to-air (e.g. GAR-8), surface-to-air (e.g. Hawk) applications

Mk-43
mk43-graphic

Bomb
18
150 – 164
2,060 – 2,125
70 Kt – 1 Mt;
Y1: 1 Mt,
Y5: 500 Kt
F/F or retarded, airburst or contact, laydown
Manufactured 4/61 – 10/65;
retirement (early mods) began 12/72, last retired 4/91;
1000 produced (all mods)
Laydown bomb for high-speed low-altitude delivery; 5 yields; Y4 is fission only; PAL B (mod 2); Parachutes: 1×4 ft, 1×23 ft ribbon; last version retired was MK-43Y2 Mod 2

W-44
ASW warhead
13.75
25.3
170
10 Kt
Hydrostatic
Manufactured 5/61 – 3/68;
retired 6/74 – 9/89;
575 produced
ASROC (RUR-5A) ASW warhead; plutonium implosion warhead, similar to primary for Mk-43

W-45
Warhead
11.5
27
150;
MADM: 350
500 T; 1, 5, 8, 10, 15 Kt
Airburst, surface, time delay, command
Terrier: manufactured 4/62 – 6/66, retired 7/67 – 9/88, 750 produced;
MADM: manufactured 1/62 – 6/66, retired 7/67 – 1984, 350 produced;
Bullpup: manufactured 1/62 – 1963, retired 7/67 – 1978, 100 produced;
Little John: manufactured 9/61 – 6/66, retired 7/67 – 1970, 500 produced
Multipurpose UCRL designed tactical warhead; small implosion design; Y1 (1 Kt): Little John SSM, Terrier SAM,MADM (Medium ADM); Y2: Little John, MADM; Y3 (unboosted): GAM-83B Bullpup ASM, MADM; Y4 (boosted, 1 Kt): Bullpup, Little John, Terrier, MADM

Mk-46
Bomb
37
6,400
Mt range
Canceled Oct 1958
"Clean" and "dirty" versions tested during Hardtack I; was to have replaced Mk-39; development of improved design continued as Mk-53

W-46
Warhead
35-40
Canceled April 1958
Warhead planned for Redstone, Snark, B-58 pod warhead; Redstone/W-46 canceled in favor of Titan II/W-53

W-47
Warhead
18
46.6
Y1: 717 – 720;
Y2: 733
Y1: 600 Kt;
Y2: 1.2 Mt
Airburst or contact
EC-47 manufactured 4/60 – 6/60, retired 6/60, 300 produced;
W-47 manufactured 6/60 – 7/64, retired 7/61 – 11/74, 1060 produced (Y1 and Y2) – only 300 in service at a time
Polaris SLBM TN warhead; breakthrough in compact, light high yield design; integral warhead/beryllium re-entry vehicle; 3 versions: EC-47, W-47Y1, W-47Y2; several severe reliability problems required repeated modification and remanufacture (in 1966 75% of the stockpiled Y2s were inoperable, correction took until 10/67)

W-48
Artillery Shell
6.1 (155 mm)
33.3
118 – 128
72 T
Mechanical time delay or proximity airburst, or contact
Manufactured 10/63 – 3/68; retirement (135 Mod 0s) 1/65 – 1969, all 925 Mod 1s retired 1992; 1060 produced (all mods)
Small diameter linear implosion plutonium weapon, 2 mods

W-49
Warhead
20
54.3 – 57.9
1,640 – 1,680
1.44 Mt
Airburst or contact
Manufactured 9/58 – 1964;
Thor retired 11/62 – 8/63 (a few to 4/75);
LASL developed ICBM/IRBM warhead; Used in Thor (Mod 0,1, 3), Atlas (Mod 0, 1), Titan, Jupiter (Mod 0, 1, 3, 5) warhead; 2 RVs used Mk-2 heat sink and Mk-3 ablative; 2 yields, 7 mods; Mk/W-28 adaptation with new arming/fuzing system; PAL A; successor to W-35

W-50
Warhead
15.4
44
409 – 410
Y1: 60 Kt;
Y2: 200 Kt;
Y3: 400 Kt
Airburst or contact
Manufactured 3/63 – 12/65;
retired 4/73 – 4/91;
280 produced
TN warhead for Pershing SSM (Mod 1, 2), Nike Zeus SAM (canceled 5/59); Mod 1 equipped with PAL A; 3 yields, 2 mods

W-51
Warhead
22 T
Became XW-54 Jan 1959
Very small spherical implosion warhead, initial development by LRL, development transferred to LASL and design redesignated W-54

W-52
Warhead
24
56.7
950
200 Kt
Airburst or contact
Manufactured 5/62 – 4/66;
retired 3/74 – 8/78;
300 produced
Sergeant SSM warhead; 2 yields, 3 mods; PAL A (Mod 2); warhead test in 1963 showed Mods 1 and 2 to be useless, Mod 3 was first to achieve rated yield

Mk-53
mk53-graphic

Bomb
50
148 – 150;
Y2 144
8,850 – 8,900
9 Mt
FUFO: F/F or retarded, airburst or contact, laydown
Manufactured 8/62 – 6/65; retirement (early mods) began 7/67, last 50 retired from active service (but retained in permanent stockpile) early 1997; 350 produced, 50 still in stockpile
Carried by B-47, B-52; B-58 used Mk-53BA (in BLU-2/B pod); 4 mods, Y1 "dirty" version, Y2 "clean" version; fissile material all HEU, no plutonium; parachutes: 1×4 ft, 1×16.5 ft ribbon, 3×48 ft ribbon; last 50 retired in favor of B-61 Mod 11; part of the U.S. "enduring stockpile"

mark53nuclearbomb

W-53
Warhead
37
103
6,200
9 Mt
Airburst or contact
Titan II warhead

W-54
Warhead
10.75
15.7
50 – 51
250 T
Contact or proximity
Manufactured 4/61 – 2/65; retired 7/67 – 4/72; 1000 – 2000 produced
GAR-11/AIM-26A Falcon AAM warhead; originally called "Wee Gnat"; adaptation of Mk-54

Mk-54
Warhead
10.75
17.6
50 – 55
10, 20 T
Time delay
Manufactured 4/61 – 2/65;
retired 7/67 – 1971;
400 produced
Warhead for Davy Crockett M-388 recoilless rifle projectile; 2 yields; 2 mods; very light, compact spherical implosion plutonium warhead

Mk-54 SADM
Atomic Demolition Munition (ADM)
16
24
150 (complete);
59 (W-54 only)
Variable, 10 T – 1 Kt
Time delay
Manufactured 8/64 – 6/66;
retired 1967 – 1989;
300 produced
SADM:
M-129/M-159 SADM (Special Atomic Demolition Munition) used a Mk-54 warhead package very similar to Davy Crockett; 2 mods; mechanical combination lock PAL

W-55
ASW
13
39.4
470
Mid Kiloton Range
Hydrostatic
Manufactured 1/64 – 3/68, 3/70 – 4/74;
retired 6/83 – 9/90;
285 produced
SUBROC (UUM-44A) ASW missile thermonuclear warhead; based on the 202 Kt Hardtack I Olive device

W-56
Warhead
17.4
47.3
600; 680
1.2 Mt
Airburst or surface
Manufactured 3/63 – 5/69;
retired 9/66 (early mods), Mod-4 retired 1991-93;
1000 produced (all mods), 455 Mod-4s produced
Minuteman I and II warhead, based on UCRL W-47, competitor with the W-59 for Minuteman; 4 mods, retrofit of early mods required to fix reliability problem, blast and radiation hardening added later

Mk-57
Bomb
14.75
118
490 – 510
5 – 20 Kt
Retarded airburst, retarded laydown, F/F contact, hydrostatic
Manufactured 1/63 – 5/67; retirement (early mods) started 6/75, last retired 6/93; 3,100 produced
Light weight multipurpose tactical strike/depth bomb; boosted implosion fission weapon; modular design, 6 mods; PAL B; 1×12.5 ft ribbon parachute;
Retired in favor of B-61

W-58
Warhead
15.6
40.3
257
200 Kt
Airburst or contact
Manufactured 3/64 – 6/67; retired 9/68-4/82; 1400 produced
Polaris A-3 warhead, each A-3 carried three multiple re-entry vehicles (MRVs), first MRV warhead in service

W-59
Warhead
16.3
47.8
550 – 553
1 Mt
Airburst or contact
Manufactured 6/62 – 7/63;
retired 12/64 – 6/69;
150 produced
Warhead for Minuteman I/Mk 5 RV and the canceled Skybolt; version of LASL "J-21" design;

W-60
Warhead
13
20
115 – 150
Very low
Proximity
Canceled Dec 1963
Typhon SAM warhead

MK/B 61
mk61-graphic

 

b61_b-2

Bomb
13.3
141.64
695 – 716
Variable (4 yields), 0.3 – 340 Kt;
Mod 3: 0.3 – 170 Kt;
Mod 4: 0.3 – 45 Kt;
Mod 7/11: 10 – 340 Kt;
Mod 10: 0.3 – 80 Kt
FUFO: retarded and F/F, contact or airburst, laydown
Manufactured 10/66 – early 90s; early mods retired 70s – 80s; 3150 produced, 1350 in service
Multipurpose tactical/strategic bomb; basic design adapted to many other weapon systems; 4 yields; 11 mods, 5 in service; PAL B, D, F; uses IHE in primary; parachute: 1×17 ft or 1×24 ft ribbon; longest production run of any U.S. nuclear weapon, oldest design in service; part of the U.S. "enduring stockpile"

060409-nuclear-strikes-iran_telegraph

W-62
Warhead
RV Body: 21 in;
Warhead: 19.7 in
RV Body: 72 in;
Warhead: 39.3 in
Warhead/RV: 700-800 lb;
Warhead: 253 lb
170 Kt
Airburst or contact
Manufactured 3/70 – 6/76;
early mods retired starting 4/80;
1725 produced, 610 in active service;
Minuteman III/Mk-12 RV warhead; remaining W-62s part of U.S. "enduring stockpile", but will be removed from active service under START II (to be replaced by W-88s)

W-63
Warhead
Canceled Nov 1966
LRL design for Lance SSM warhead; ER ("neutron bomb") design; (canceled in favor of W-70

W-64
Warhead
Canceled Sep 1964
LASL design for Lance SSM warhead; ER ("neutron bomb") design; canceled in favor of W-63

W-65
Warhead
Mt range
Canceled Jan 1968
Sprint ABM warhead, canceled in favor of W-66

W-66
Warhead
18
35
150
Kt range
Manufactured 6/74 – 3/75;
retired from service 8/75, ret. from stockpile 1985;
70 produced
Sprint ABM warhead, ER ("neutron bomb") warhead

W-67
Warhead
150 Kt
Canceled Dec 1967
LRL ICBM/SLBM multiple warhead, intended for Poseidon and Minuteman-III

W-68
Warhead
367
40 – 50 Kt
Airburst or contact
Manufactured 6/70 – 6/75; retired 9/77 – 1991; 5250 produced
Poseidon Mk-3 RV warhead, each missile carried 10 RVs; aging problems with explosive required complete rebuilding of stockpile 11/78-83 (3200 rebuilt, others retired); largest production run of any U.S. warhead

W-69
Warhead
15
30
275
170 – 200 Kt
Airburst or contact
Manufactured 10/71 – 8/76;
retired 10/91 – 9/94;
1500 produced
SRAM (short range attack missile, AGM 69A) air-surface missile warhead; derived from Mk-61; initially removed from active service 6/90 due to fire safety concerns

W-70
Warhead
18
41
270
Mods 0,1, 2: variable from 1-100 Kt;
Mod 3: 1 Kt
Airburst or contact
Manufactured 6/73 – 7/77 (Mods 0-2), 8/81 – 2/83 (Mod 3);
retired 7/79 – 9/92;
Mods 0-2: 900 produced, Mod 3: 380 built
Lance SSM warhead; LRL successor to W-63 design; 4 mods; Mods 0, 1, 2: TN warhead with 3 yield settings (1-100 Kt), Mod 1 had improved selection of yields; Mod 3: enhanced radiation ("neutron bomb") version, 2 yield options (slightly less than 1 Kt, and slightly more than 1 Kt), both 60% fusion and 40% fission; PAL D

W-71
Warhead
42
101
2,850
5 Mt
Airburst (command & delay timer)
Manufactured 7/74 – 7/75;
retired from service 1975, ret. from stockpile 9/92;
30 produced
Spartan ABM warhead, used thermal x-rays for exoatmospheric RV kill

W-72
Warhead
15
79
825
ca. 600 T
Contact
Manufactured 8/70 – 4/72;
retired 7/79 – 9/79;
300 produced
Walleye (AGM-62) guided glide bomb warhead; W-72 was a modified W-54, salvaged from retired AIM-26A Falcon AAM; yield was significantly enhanced over Falcon version

W-73
Warhead
<17
Canceled Sept 1970
Condor ASM warhead; derived from Mk-61; canceled in favor of a conventional HE warhead

W-74
Artillery Shell
6.1 (155 mm)
2 yields (both >100 T)
Canceled June 1973
Linear implosion pure fission plutonium warhead; intended to replace W-48

W-75
Artillery Shell
8 (203 mm)
>100 T
Canceled 1973
"Big brother" of W-74, similar design

W-76
Warhead
363
100 Kt
Airburst or contact
Manufactured 6/78 – 7/87;
active service;
approx. 3000 produced
Trident I and Trident II Mk-4 RV TN warhead, missiles can carry 8-14 RVs; developed by LANL; part of the U.S. "enduring stockpile"

B-77
Bomb
18
144
2,400
Variable, Kt to Mt range
FUFO
Canceled Dec 1977
High yield strategic TN bomb, intended to replace Mk-28 and Mk-43; PAL D; costly, heavy delivery system lead to cancellation, warhead design continued with B-83

W-78
Warhead
21.25
67.7
400 – 600
335 – 350 Kt
Airburst or contact
Manufactured 8/79 – 10/82;
active service;
1083 produced, 920 in service
Minuteman III/Mk-12A RV warhead; LANL design derived from W-50 with a new lighter primary; part of U.S. "enduring stockpile", but will be removed from active service under START II (to be replaced by W-88s)

W-79
Artillery Shell
8
44
200
Variable – 100 T to 1.1 Kt (Mod 0), 0.8 Kt (Mod 1)
Proximity airburst or contact
Manufactured 7/81 – 8/86; ER version retirement started mid-80s, all retired 9/92; 550 (325 ER, 225 fission) produced
Plutonium linear implosion weapon, used in XM-753 atomic projectile (AFAP); Mod 0: dual capable – pure fission or enhanced radiation (ER of "neutron bomb"), 3 yield options; Mod 1: fission only; PAL D

 

W-80-0
Warhead
11.8
31.4
290
Variable: 5 Kt and 170-200 Kt
Airburst or contact
Manufactured 12/83 – 9/90;
active service;
367 produced
SLCM warhead; uses supergrade plutonium; PAL D; LANL design derived from Mk/B-61 warhead; now stored ashore; part of the U.S. "enduring stockpile"

W-80-1
Warhead
11.8
31.4
290
Variable: 5 Kt and 150-170 Kt
Airburst or contact
Manufactured 1/81 – 9/90;
active service;
1750 produced, 1400 in service
Warhead for ALCM (1000 in service), ACM (400 in service); PAL D; LANL design derived from Mk/B-61 warhead; part of the U.S. "enduring stockpile"

W-81
Warhead
<13.5
2 – 4 Kt
Canceled 1986
USN Standard SM-2 SAM warhead; PAL F; variant of Mk/B-61 warhead, enhanced radiation version initially planned, later converted to fission only

W-82
Artillery Shell
6.1 (155 mm)
34
95
<2 Kt
Airburst
W-82-0 canceled in Oct 1983; W-82-1 canceled in Sept 1990
155 mm companion to the the W-79, for use in XM-785 atomic projectile (AFAP); original Mod 0: dual capable – pure fission or enhanced radiation; Mod 1: fission only; PAL D

B-83
mk83-graphic

Bomb
18
145
2,400
Variable, low Kt to 1.2 Mt
FUFO: F/F or retarded, airburst or contact, laydown
Manufactured 6/83 – 1991;
active service;
650 produced
Current high-yield strategic TN bomb; PAL D; uses IHE, fire resisitant pit; parachutes: 3×4 ft, 1×46 ft; 1×5 ft, 1×46 ft

W-83
Warhead
1,700 – 1,900
PAL D

2953522815_d400d0f041

W-84
Warhead
13
34
388
Variable: 0.2 – 150 Kt
Airburst or contact
Manufactured 9/83 – 1/88;
inactive stockpile;
300-350 produced
GLCM warhead, missile scrapped under INF Treaty; LLNL design derived from LANL Mk/B-61 Mod 3/4 warhead; uses IHE, PAL F; part of the U.S. "enduring stockpile"

W-85;
alternate image
Warhead
12.5
42
880
Variable: 5 – 80 Kt
Airburst or contact
Manufactured 2/83 – 7/86;
retired 1988 – 3/91;
120 produced
Pershing II SSM warhead; derived from LANL Mk/B-61 Mod 3/4 warhead; uses IHE, PAL F; upon retirement the W-85 was recycled into B-61 Mod 10 bombs

W-86
Warhead
Delayed
Canceled Sept 1980
Earth penetrating warhead for the Pershing II SSM, canceled due to change in mission from hard to soft targets

W-87
W87Schematic480

W87mx

w87-ref

Warhead
21.8
68.9
500 – 600; 440
300 Kt;
upgradeable to 475 Kt
Timer or proximity airburst, contact
Manufactured 7/86 – 12/88;
active service;
525 produced
Peacekeeper (MX) ICBM/Mk-21 RV TN warhead (missile carries 10); RV/warhead weighs 800 lb; LLNL design; primary uses IHE and fire resistant pit; yield upgradeable by adding HEU rings to secondary; part of the U.S. "enduring stockpile"; after MX retirement, will equip Minuteman III

W87

2953522651_4930d69845

W-88
Warhead
21.8
68.9
<800
475 Kt
Timer (w/path length correction) and proximity airburst; contact
Manufactured 9/88 – 11/89; active service;
400 produced
Trident II Mk-5 RV warhead; does not use IHE; uses HEU jacket with secondary stage; production terminated by FBI raid on Rocky Flats; part of the U.S. "enduring stockpile"

W-89
Warhead
13.3
40.8
324
200 Kt
Airburst or contact
Canceled Sept 1991
SRAM (short range attack missile) II warhead; LLNL design; safety features: PAL D, IHE, FRP; also considered for Sea Lance ASW missile

B 90
Bomb
13.3
118
780
200 Kt
retarded airburst, retarded contact, F/F airburst, F/F contact, hydrostatic
Canceled 1991
USN nuclear strike/depth bomb; intended to replace Mk-57; PAL D; 1×26 ft parachute

W-91
Warhead
310
10, 100 Kt
Canceled Sept 1991
SRAM-T (short range attack missile – tactical) warhead; SRAM-T was a SRAM II derivative for the F-15E Eagle fighter/bomber; LASL TN design orignally called "New Mexico 1"; safety features: FRP, IHE; 2 yields

1096310039_d8ccbe22f1


Abbreviations:
  • AAM Air-to-Air Missile
  • ABM Anti-Ballistic Missile
  • ACM Advanced Cruise Missile
  • ADM Atomic Demolition Munition
  • AFAP Artillery Fired Atomic Projectile
  • ALCM Air Launched Cruise Missile
  • ASM Air-Surface Missile
  • ASW Anti-Submarine Warfare
  • ER Enhanced Radiation ("neutron bomb")
  • EC Emergency Capability
  • F/F Freefall
  • FRP Fire Resistant Pit
  • FUFO Full-fuzing Options
  • HEU Highly Enriched Uranium
  • ICBM Intercontinental Ballistic Missile
  • IFI In-Flight Insertion
  • IHE Insensitive High Explosive
  • IRBM Intermediate-Range Ballistic Missile
  • Kt Kilotons
  • LANL Los Alamos National Laboratory (nee LASL)
  • LASL Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory
  • LLNL Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (nee LRL)
  • LRL Lawrence Radiation Laboratory (nee UCRL)
  • MK Mark
  • MRBM Medium-Range Ballistic Missile
  • Mt megatons
  • PAL Permissive Action Link
  • Pu Plutonium
  • RV Re-entry Vehicle
  • SAM Surface-to-Air Missile
  • Rtd Parachute-retarded
  • SLBM Sea-Launched Cruise Missile
  • SSM Surface-to-Surface Missile
  • T tons
  • TN Thermonuclear
  • UCRL University of California Radiation Laboratory
  • USN US Navy

031002.US.anti-missiles


Principal Sources:
Swords of Armageddon by Chuck Hansen, 1995
U.S. Nuclear Weapons: The Secret History by Chuck Hansen, 1988
Nuclear Weapons Databook: U.S. Nuclear Forces and Capabilities by Thomas B. Cochran, William M. Arkin, and Milton M. Hoenig, 1984
NRDC Nuclear Notebook prepared by Robert S. Norris and William Arkin of the Natural Resources Defense Council, published in The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.
Especially in issues:

  • July/August 1996
  • July/August 1995

Nuclear Weapons of the United States by James N. Gibson, 1996.

mohawk_350_KT_nuke (1)

 

U.S. Nuclear Weapon Enduring Stockpile

Last changed 31 August 2007

ScenicNuclearBombs_Mururoa

The U.S. nuclear arsenal is divided into three levels of stockpile readiness. These are:

  • Operationally Deployed: These are active stockpile (fully operational) weapons and mated with delivery systems such that they are ready to be used in combat. All warheads counted under arms limitation agreements belong to this category.
  • Active Stockpile: Fully operational weapons, available for immediate use, whether or not they are operationally deployed. Reasons for an active stockpile weapon to not be operationally deployed include:
    • Its assigned to a delivery system is not currently operational (in particular ballistic missile submarines spend one-third of their time not on patrol),
    • It is a spare for deployed warheads (should a deployed warhead require maintenance, for example), and
    • It is part of the responsive force — an inventory of warheads that are kept in operational condition (tritium reservoirs installed, etc.) to permit immediate deployment (for example to upload the number of wartheads on a ballistic missile, or reloads for bomber aircraft).
  • Inactive Reserve: Weapons that are kept intact, but are not maintained in operational condition. This means that limited life components are removed from the weapons and may not be available to immediately return them to service. "Limited life components" principally mean tritium-containing components such as tritium reservoirs and neutron generator tubes. Some weapons currently in this category (e.g. the W84) will be dismantled.

At the beginning of 2007 the U.S. nuclear arsenal was composed of eight types of nuclear warheads (in thirteen variant mods) that are operationally deployed, with an estiamted count of 5,736 active stockpile warheads. For the first time the 2007 Annual Report on Implementation of the Moscow Treaty listed the aggregate number of U.S. operationally deployed strategic nuclear warheads which as of 31 December 2006 stood at 3,696. No official breakdown of this number is available, however if one assumes that ICBMs have 95% availability, 66% of SLBMs are on patrol, and 90% of bombers are on-duty with their full combat load, then this tally exactly matches the offical operational count.

One of the active warheads (the W87) is currently being redeployed (replacing the W62) after having been taken off of operational duty in the 1990s.

sp07_nuke_weapons_lg

There are also 589 warheads of two types that are inactive, these are not kept in operational condition and one of these warheads (the W84) is slated to be completely dismantled.

The total number of warheads of all levels of readiness stands at 9,962 warheads. It should be pointed out that although precise numbers are cited here to keep tallies consistent and avoid cumulative rounding errors, they are in fact approximations. Even if exact numbers were available for one specific moment in time, continuing stockpile changes as a result of deployment shifts and inspection and maintenance actions causes actual numbers to fluctuate.

The total megatonnage of the deployed nuclear arsenal is about 1,430 Mt (but this is influenced by the choice of deployed weapons for bombers); for the entire active arsenal it is 2,330 Mt. The all-time high point in explosive yield was in 1960 when the U.S. held 20,491 Mt in its stockpile. The size of nuclear arsenals are often evaluated using "equivalent megatonnage" a scaling procedure that compensates for the fact that smaller explosions cause relatively more blast destructive for the amount of explosive energy released. An EMt value of one indicates the destructive effect of one 1 megaton bomb. Since most warheads in the U.S. arsenal are much less than one megaton this measure results in a larger value than the raw megatonnage. Using this measure the destructiveness of the deployed arsenal becomes 2,090 EMt, and the total active arsenal 3,405 EMt.

The United States has produced about 70,000 nuclear weapons of 72 major types since their invention. At the end of the Cold War in 1991 the United States had an active arsenal of some 23,000 weapons of 26 major types. Since that time actual nuclear warhead production has been completely shut down in the U.S., although warhead modification, retrofit, and maintenance activities continue. Much of the original nuclear weapons manufacturing infrastructure has been dismantled, and the focus of the remaining nuclear infrastructure has shifted to maintaining and extending the life of the remaining weapons, as well as dismantling surplus weapons.

The only strategic arms treaties still in force between the U.S. and the Russian Federation is the Moscow Treaty on Strategic Offensive Reductions (also called "the Moscow Treaty," the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty, or SORT) and the START I treaty, which will expire in December 2009. The Moscow Treaty was signed by Presidents George W. Bush and Vladimir Putin on 24 May 2002 and ratified by the U.S. Senate on 6 March 2003, and by the Russian Duma on 14 May 2003. The Moscow Treaty sets lower warhead limits than the effective limits of START I and requires both sides to reduce their deployed strategic nuclear warheads to between 1,700 and 2,200 warheads by midnight 31 December 2012. Strangely, the deadline for compliance is the same moment as the expiration of the treaty so it is questionable whether the warhead limit ever legally takes effect.

nuclear_bombs

 

The Moscow Treaty does not require the destruction of any of the warheads taken out of deployment. Given the lengthy period the Moscow Treaty gives for reductions (more than a decade) and the debatable effect of its limit, the actual effect it will have on U.S. and Russian arsenals remains to be seen. U.S plans appear to take into account reduction to the SORT upper limit of 2,200 however.

Current plans are to completely retire and dismantle the oldest warhead in the U.S. arsenal, the W62 carried by the Minuteman III missile. Retirement of the W62 began in October 2006, and is being replaced by W87 warheads that have been in storage since they were removed from Peacekeeper (MX) missile upon its retirement. Five other deployed warheads (the B61-3, B61-4, W76, W78 and W80-1) will be reduced in number to bring the count down to 2,200. This will required removing 3,759 of these five warheads from deployment (given that 553 W87s are being returned to duty); together they number 4,302 of the currently deployed force. Partial dismantlement of these warheads is expected, but former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has indicated that most the warheads removed from deployment will be kept in the U.S. stockpile.

Actual production of new warheads halted in 1989. In January 1997, the first new weapon modification since the production shutdown entered service – the B61 Mod 11 (B61-11) ground penetrating ("bunker busting") bomb. This was a modification of B61 Mod 7s that were already in the stockpile. Remanufacture and updating of subsystems of existing weapons is on-going as part of a stockpile Life-Extension Program (LEP).

In the FY2005 budget congress authorized $36.6 million for two new nuclear weapons programs – the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator (RNEP), and the Advanced Concepts Initiative (ACI). The RNEP was intended to explore the design of a new "bunker busting" warhead, while the ACI explored other weapons concepts. Poor reviews of the RNEP concept led to the deletion of funding from the FY2006 budget. The ACI on the other hand was replaced by the Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW) program, to which its funds were transferred. The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) requested funding of $9.351 million for RRW in the FY2006 budget.

According to the NNSA budget request the RRW:

nuclear_bomb_test

"Is to demonstrate the feasibility of developing reliable replacement components that are producible and certifiable for the existing stockpile. The initial focus will be to provide cost and schedule efficient replacement pits that can be certified without underground tests.

This program justification is similar to the pre-existing stockpile LEP which also develops reliable replacement components, though not for warhead pits (the hollow plutonium core found in each warhead) or other non-replaceable "physics package" (nuclear explosive) components. A key motivation for interest in replacement pits is long standing concern about how long pits manufactured decades ago would remain reliable against corrosion and other forms of deterioration. In general the original formulation of RRW seems to have been a more thorough going and ambitious version of LEP. The latter program was conservative – it attempted to minimize changes to the warhead – while RRW sought to remanufacture the entire weapon.

In November 2006 the JASONs, a select panel of scientific advisors, issued a report reviewing seven years of research on plutonium pit deterioration and found that they would remain reliable for up to 100 years. This finding seemingly undercut the NNSAs FY2006 budget justification for the RRW program.

On 7 January 2007 The New York Times reported that the interagency Nuclear Weapons Council would announce the following week a major decision for RRW. The two nuclear weapon labs, it was revealed, had developed competing proposals for RRW – neither of which was in the mold of "LEP-plus". Instead both labs proposed replacing the entire existing arsenal of warheads with new designs. The Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) proposal drew on aspects of many weapons from the stockpile and pulled them together in a novel design that has never undergone testing. he Livermore National Laboratory in California, approached the problem with very different philosophies, nuclear officials and experts said. The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) proposal was based on a robust warhead design that had been tested in the 1980s, prior to the nuclear testing moratorium. This weapon (which might possibly be either the CALMENDRO or MUNSTER warhead designs previously considered for deployment in the 1980s) has never entered the nation’s nuclear stockpile.

Reportedly the new decision on RRW however would not select between the two proposals, but would instead combine them, yielding yet another novel warhead.

The tables below give a summary breakdown of the U.S. stockpile. Clicking on the last column of the table will bring up a detailed description of the correspondng weapon.

United States Nuclear Weapon Stockpile

Designation
Warhead Type
Yield (Kilotons)
Active
Stockpile
Inactive
Total
First Produced
Click For More Info

B61
  Mod-3
  Mod-4
  Mod-7
  Mod-10
  Mod-11
Bomb
  Tactical
  Tactical
  Tactical
  Strategic
  Tactical/Strategic
0.3 / 1.5 / 60 / 170
0.3 / 1.5 / 10 / 45
10 / ? / 340
0.3 / 5 / 10 / 80
0.3? / ? / 340
200
200
215
0
20
186
204
224
206
21
386
404
439
206
41
10/1979*
8/1979*
9/1985
1990
1/1997

W62/Mk-12
Ballistic Missile
Warhead/RV
170
330
250
580
3/1970
Start of retirement 10/2006, completion in 2009
To be dismantled

W76/Mk-4
Ballistic Missile
Warhead/RV
100
1712
1318
3030
6/1978*

W76-1/Mk-4A
Ballistic Missile
Warhead/RV
100
0
0
0
Life extension mod; first delivery 9/2007

W78/Mk-12a
Ballistic Missile
Warhead/RV
335
785
20
805
8/1979*

W80
  Mod 0
  Mod 1
  Mod 2
  Mod 3
Cruise Missile Warhead
  Sea Launched
  Air Launched
  Sea Launched
  Air Launched
5 / 150
100
1450
0
0
194
361
0
0
294
1811
0
0
12/1981
12/1981*
Life extension mod: 2006
Life extension mod: 2008

B83-0/B83-1
Bomb-Strategic
low to 1200
320
306
626
6/1983

W84
Cruise Missile Warhead
0.3 / ? / 150
0
383
383
6/1983
to be dismantled

W87/Mk-21
ICBM_design

Ballistic Missile
Warhead/RV
300
10
543
553
4/1986
Began replacing W62 10/2006
Current deployment rate one per week
330 to be deployed by 2009

W88/Mk-5
Ballistic Missile
Warhead/RV
475
404
0
404
9/1988
No Graphic Available

* To be partly dismantled as part of Moscow Treaty arsenal reduction.

Principal Sources:
Chuck Hansen. Swords of Armageddon 1996, VI-439 to VI-442.
Chuck Hansen. U.S. Nuclear Weapons: The Secret History 1988
Thomas B. Cochran, William M. Arkin, and Milton M. Hoenig. Nuclear Weapons Databook: U.S. Nuclear Forces and Capabilities 1984
Robert S. Norris and Hans M. Kristensen. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Vol. 59, No. 1 (Jan./Feb. 2003), p. 74-76.
The B61 Family of Bombs, Robert S. Norris, Hans M. Kristensen, Joshua Handler in The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Vol. 62, No. 1 (Jan./Feb. 2006), p. 68-71.
James N. Gibson. Nuclear Weapons of the United States 1996.
Jonathan Medalia. Nuclear Weapons: The Reliable Replacement Warhead Program, CRS-RL32929, Congressional Research Service, The Library of Congress, 9 March 2006.

 

United States Nuclear Weapon Stockpile 1

United States Nuclear Weapon Stockpile 2

 

Current U.S. Nuclear Forces

nevada_testing_fallout_map

339291829_59679da6f8

0-missile-home

014-1

icbm_1

nwd008

Poster_Historic_Rockets

Poster_Military_Missiles

Principles of Nuclear Weapons Security and Safety

Last changed 1 October 1997

Due to their extreme destructiveness, nuclear weapons require stringent measures to ensure that they are never detonated, either intentionally or by accident, except under properly authorized circumstances. In addition, since most nuclear weapons contain strongly radiotoxic materials (plutonium and tritium) it is important to prevent accidental release of these materials in an accident.

The first line of defense against accident is to design into the weapon an "exclusion zone" that encloses the detonation system and physically prevents electrical energy from reaching it. Access from the firing system is provided by a "strong link". This is a mechanism (a motorized switch for example) that maintains physical isolation unless it is closed by the arming system. The strong link is thus the ‘draw bridge’ across the exclusion zone ‘moat’.

Now it is possible for an accident of some kind (a crash, fire, munition explosion, lightning strike, etc.) to destroy the integrity of the exclusion zone or the strong link and theoretically open the possibility of the detonation system being activated. To prevent this, there is one or more "weak links" is inserted into the detonation system inside the exclusion zone. These weak links will fail, rendering the weapon inoperable, when exposed to abnormal stresses (heat, acceleration forces, etc.) that are below the level that could possibly disrupt exclusion zone integrity.

Result – any accident that could circumvent the exclusion zone/strong link protections will disable the weapon by breaking the weak links first.

The first line of defense against unauthorized activation is a lock on the weapon. The earliest locks were mechanical combination locks, but since the early 1960s a more sophisticated system called a "permissive action link" (PAL) has been increasingly employed. A PAL is an electronic (originally electro-mechanical) device that prevents arming the weapon unless the correct codes are inserted into it. Two different codes must be inserted, simultaneously or close together. This is the "two man rule" principle – which requires it to be impossible to arm any nuclear weapon through the actions of a single individual. The codes are usually changed on a regular schedule. PALs have been developed in several versions of increasing sophistication, designated A through F.

Once the PAL has been enabled, it now possible to arm and fire the weapon. The "unique signal generator" is a technique for making the weapon extremely discriminating about the arming signal so that spoofing signals, noise, or other interference will not cause arming. There is a signal recognition system in the weapon that responds only to a single, very specific, complex signal. This signal is produced by the unique signal generator (which is actually outside the weapon). A more recent approach has been to replace the unique (analog) signal approach with digital communinications and codes.

Once the weapon is armed, "environmental sensing devices" (ESDs) prevent detonation of the weapon unless it is properly delivered to the target. These devices detect external effects that should occur during the delivery process, things like – free fall period, acceleration curves, temperature, pressures, etc. Unless these effects are detected in the proper sequence, and fall within specified parameters, the weapon will not detonate.

There are other safety measures that have been included in some or all modern weapons:

  • "Fire resistant pits" (FRPs) that prevent molten plutonium from escaping in a fire (probably by containing it within the high melting point beryllium reflector shell);
  • "Insensitive high explosives" (IHE), these use the explosive TATB which is highly resistant to "cooking off" in a fire, or being detonated by mechanical shock;
  • Insulating containers may be used to reduce the influx of heat from a fire,
  • "Limited retry" may be used in a PAL. This disables the PAL if the wrong combination is entered too many times, requiring factory service to restore (the same way ATMs will eat a ATM card if the wrong PIN number is entered repeatedly).
  • Weapons can also use active self-damaging mechanisms that break bomb components, requiring factory repair before the weapon can be fired, if tampering (including excessive retrys) is detected. Recent weapons have "noviolent" (non-explosive) disablement systems. These systems can also be activated by remote command in some weapons.

Sources
  • The Swords of Armageddon, by Chuck Hansen, Chuckelea Pub., 1995.
  • Nuclear Weapons Databook Volume I: U.S. Nuclear Forces and Capabilities, by Thomas B. Cochran, William M. Arkin, and Milton M. Hoenig; NRDC, 1984.
  • Managing Nuclear Operations, Ashton B. Carter, John D. Steinbruner, Charles A. Zraket ed.; Brookings Institute, 1987.

PAL
Category
Description

(none)
Mechanical combination lock

A
Four-digit, 10-position electromechanical coded switch (most retired or replaced by 1987)

B
Ground & airplane-operable 4-digit coded switch (later version with limited try followed by lockout until reset)

C
Single-code 6-digit switch, limited try followed by lockout

D
Multiple-code 6-digit switch, limited try followed by lockout

F
Multiple-code 12-digit switch, limited try followed by lockout

Risks to civilization, humans and planet Earth

 

Risks to civilization, humans, and planet Earth are existential risks that could threaten humankind as a whole, have adverse consequences for the course of human civilization, or even cause the end of planet Earth.[1] The concept is expressed in various phrases such as "End of the World", "Doomsday", "Ragnarök", "Judgement Day", "Armageddon", "the Apocalypse" and others.

Types of risks

Various risks exist for humanity, but not all are equal. Risks can be roughly categorized into six types based on the scope (personal, regional, global) and the intensity (endurable or terminal). The following chart provides some examples:

Typology of risk [1]

Endurable
Terminal

Global
Plate tectonics
Nearby Gamma-ray burst

Regional
Flash flooding
Permanent submersion

Personal
Assault
Death

The risks discussed in this article are at least Global and Terminal in intensity. These types of risks are ones where an adverse outcome would either annihilate intelligent life on Earth, or permanently and drastically reduce its potential. Jamais Cascio made an alternative classification system.

Future scenarios

Many scenarios have been suggested. Some that will almost certainly end life on Earth are certain to occur, but on a very long timescale. Others are likely to happen on a shorter timescale, but will probably not completely destroy civilization. Still others are extremely unlikely, and may even be impossible. For example, Nick Bostrom writes:

Some foreseen hazards (hence not members of the current category) which have been excluded from the list on grounds that they seem too unlikely to cause a global terminal disaster are: solar flares, supernovae, black hole explosions or mergers, gamma-ray bursts, galactic center outbursts, buildup of air pollution, gradual loss of human fertility, and various religious doomsday scenarios.[2]

The distant future

There are a number of cosmological theories as to the universe’s ultimate fate that exclude the indefinite continuation of life. Most involve time periods and distant futures much greater than the current 13.7 billion year age of the universe. A long established and widely accepted theory is the eventual heat death of the universe.

The theory of stellar evolution predicts that our Sun will exhaust its hydrogen core and become a red giant in about 5 billion years[3][4][5], becoming thousands of times more luminous and losing roughly 30% of its current mass[6]. Ignoring tidal effects, the Earth would then orbit 1.7 AU (250,000,000 km) from the Sun at its maximum radius. This would allow the Earth to escape being enveloped by the Sun’s now expanded and thin outer atmosphere, though most life, if not all, would perish due to the Sun’s proximity.[3] However, a more recent study suggests that the Earth’s orbit will decay due to the effects of tidal drag, causing it to enter the Sun’s expanded atmosphere and be destroyed[4][7][8] in 7.6 billion years[9]. Before being swallowed by the Sun, the Earth’s oceans would evaporate, and the Earth would finally be destroyed by tidal forces.

Meteorite impact

Main article: Impact event

Earth has collided with several large asteroids in recent geological history. The Cretaceous-Tertiary asteroid, for example, is theorized to have caused the extinction of the dinosaurs 65-million years ago. If such an object struck Earth it could have a serious impact on civilization. It is even possible that humanity would be completely destroyed; for this to occur the asteroid would need to be at least 1 km (0.62 miles) in diameter, but probably between 3–10 km (2–6 miles).[10] Asteroids with a 1 km diameter have impacted the Earth on average once every 500,000 years[10]. Larger asteroids are less common. So-called Near-Earth asteroids are regularly being observed.

1.4 million years from now the star Gliese 710 is expected to cause an increase in the number of meteoroids in the vicinity of Earth by passing within 1.1 light years of the Sun. Some models predict that this will cause a large number of comets from theOort cloud to impact Earth[11], whereas other models predict only a 5% increase in the rate of impact.

Other cosmic threats

A number of other scenarios have been suggested. Massive objects, e.g., a star, large planet or black hole, could be catastrophic if a close encounter occurred in the solar system. (Gravity from the wandering objects might disrupt orbits and/or fling bodies into other objects, thus resulting in meteorite impacts or climate change. Also, heat from the wandering objects might cause extinctions; tidal forces could cause erosion along our coastlines.) Another threat might come from gamma ray bursts.[12] Both are very unlikely.[2]

Still others see extraterrestrial life as a possible threat to humankind;[13] although alien life has never been found, scientists such as Carl Sagan have postulated that the existence of extraterrestrial life is very likely. In 1969, the "Extra-Terrestrial Exposure Law" was added to the Code of Federal Regulations (Title 14, Section 1211) in response to the possibility of biological contamination resulting from the US Apollo Space Program. It was removed in 1991.[14] Scientists consider such a scenario technically possible, but unlikely.[15]

In April 2008, it was announced that two simulations of long-term planetary movement, one at Paris Observatory and the other at University of California, Santa Cruz indicate a 1% chance that Mercury‘s orbit could be made unstable by Jupiter‘s gravitational pull sometime during the lifespan of the sun. Were this to happen, the simulations suggest a collision with Earth could be one of four possible outcomes (the others being Mercury colliding with the Sun, colliding with Venus, or being ejected from the solar system altogether). If Mercury were to collide with the Earth, all life on Earth would be obliterated and the impact may displace enough matter into orbit to form another moon. Note that an asteroid just 15 km wide is said to have destroyed the dinosaurs;Mercury is some 5,000 km in diameter.[16]

Earth
Global pandemic

Main article: Pandemic

A less predictable scenario is a global pandemic. For example, if HIV were to mutate and become as transmissible as the common cold, the consequences would be disastrous.[17] It has been hypothesised that such an extremely virulent pathogen might not evolve.[18] This is because a pathogen that quickly kills its hosts might not have enough time to spread to new ones, while one that kills its hosts more slowly or not at all will allow carriers more time to spread the infection, and thus likely out-compete a more lethal species or strain.[19] This simple model predicts that if virulence and transmission are not linked in any way, pathogens will evolve towards low virulence and rapid transmission. However, this assumption is not always valid and in more complex models, where the level of virulence and the rate of transmission are related, high levels of virulence can evolve.[20] The level of virulence that is possible is instead limited by the existence of complex populations of hosts, with different susceptibilities to infection, or by some hosts being geographically-isolated.[18] The size of the host population and competition between different strains of pathogens can also alter virulence.[21] Interestingly, a pathogen that only infects humans as a secondary host and usually infects another species (a zoonosis) may have little constraint on its virulence in people, since infection here is an accidental event and its evolution is driven by events in another species.[22]

Megatsunami

Main article: Megatsunami

Another possibility is a megatsunami. A megatsunami could, for example, destroy the entire East Coast of the United States. The coastal areas of the entire world could also be flooded in case of the collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.[23] While none of these scenarios are likely to destroy humanity completely, they could regionally threaten civilization. There has been one recent high-fatality tsunami, although it was not large enough to be considered a megatsunami.

Climate change and global warming

Main article: Global warming

Climate change is any long-term significant change in the expected patterns of average weather of a specific region (or, more relevantly to contemporary socio-political concerns, of the Earth as a whole) over an appropriately significant period of time. Climate change reflects abnormal variations to the expected climate within the Earth’s atmosphere and subsequent effects on other parts of the Earth, such as in the ice caps over durations ranging from decades to millions of years. According to the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), climate disasters are on the rise. Around 70 percent of disasters are now climate related – up from around 50 percent from two decades ago.[24] These disasters take a heavier human toll and come with a higher price tag.[25] In the last decade, 2.4 billion people were affected by climate related disasters, compared to 1.7 billion in the previous decade and the cost of responding to disasters has risen tenfold between 1992 and 2008.[24]Destructive sudden heavy rains, intense tropical storms, repeated flooding and droughts are likely to increase, as will the vulnerability of local communities in the absence of strong concerted action.[25] Sea level rise may completely inundate certain areas.

Ice age

Main article: Ice age

In the history of the Earth, twelve ice ages have occurred. More ice ages will be possible at an interval of 40,000–100,000 years. This would have a serious impact on civilization, because vast areas of land (mainly in North America, Europe, and Asia) could become uninhabitable. It would still be possible to live in the tropical regions, but with possible loss of humidity/water. Currently, the world is existing in an interglacial period within a much older glacial event. The last glacial expansion ended about 10,000 years ago, and all civilizations evolved later.

Ecological disaster

Main article: Ecological disaster

An ecological disaster, such as world crop failure and collapse of ecosystem services, could be induced by the present trends of overpopulation, economic development,[26] and non-sustainable agriculture. Most of these scenarios involve one or more of the following: Holocene extinction event, scarcity of water that could lead to approximately one half of the Earth’s population being without safe drinking water, pollinator decline, overfishing, massive deforestation, desertification, climate change, or massivewater pollution episodes. A very recent threat in this direction is colony collapse disorder, a phenomenon that might foreshadow the imminent extinction[27] of the Western honeybee. As the bee plays a vital role in pollination, its extinction would severely disrupt the food chain.

World population and agricultural crisis

The 20th century saw a rapid increase in human population due to medical advances and massive increase in agricultural productivity[28] made by the Green Revolution.[29] Between 1950 and 1984, as the Green Revolution transformed agriculture around the globe, world grain production increased by 250%. The Green Revolution in agriculture helped food production to keep pace with worldwide population growth or actually enabled population growth. The energy for the Green Revolution was provided by fossil fuels in the form of fertilizers (natural gas), pesticides (oil), and hydrocarbon fueled irrigation.[30] David Pimentel, professor of ecology and agriculture at Cornell University, and Mario Giampietro, senior researcher at the National Research Institute on Food and Nutrition (INRAN), place in their study Food, Land, Population and the U.S. Economy the maximum U.S. population for a sustainable economy at 200 million. To achieve a sustainable economy and avert disaster, the United States must reduce its population by at least one-third, and world population will have to be reduced by two-thirds, says the study.[31]

The authors of this study believe that the mentioned agricultural crisis will only begin to impact us after 2020, and will not become critical until 2050. Geologist Dale Allen Pfeiffer claims that coming decades could see spiraling food prices without relief and massive starvation on a global level such as never experienced before.[32][33]

Supervolcano

Main article: Supervolcano

When the supervolcano at Yellowstone last erupted 640,000 years ago, the magma and ash ejected from the caldera covered most of the United States west of the Mississippi river and part of northeastern Mexico.[34] Another such eruption could threaten civilization. Such an eruption could also release large amounts of gases that could alter the balance of the planet’s carbon dioxide and cause a runaway greenhouse effect, or enough pyroclastic debris and other material may be thrown into the atmosphere to partially block out the sun and cause a volcanic winter, as happened in 1816, the so-called Year Without a Summer. Such an eruption may cause the immediate deaths of millions of people several hundred miles from the eruption, and perhaps billions of deaths[35] worldwide due to the failure of the monsoon[citation needed], as well as destruction of the "American breadbasket", causing starvation on a massive scale.[35]

Humanity

Some threats for humanity come from humanity itself.

Warfare and mass destruction

The scenarios that have been explored most frequently are nuclear warfare and a Doomsday device. It is difficult to predict whether it would exterminate humanity, but very certainly could alter civilization in the event of a nuclear winter.[36]

Artificial intelligence

Another category of disasters are unforeseen consequences of technology.

It has been suggested that learning computers that rapidly become superintelligent may take unforeseen actions or that robots would out-compete humanity.[37] Because of its exceptional scheduling and organisational capability and the range of novel technologies it could develop, it is possible that the first Earth superintelligence to emerge could rapidly become very, very powerful. Quite possibly, it would be matchless and unrivaled: conceivably it would be able to bring about almost any possible outcome, and be able to foil virtually any attempt that threatened to prevent it achieving its desires.[38] It could eliminate, wiping out if it chose, any other challenging rival intellects; alternatively it might manipulate or persuade them to change their behavior towards its own interests, or it may merely obstruct their attempts at interference.[38]

Vernor Vinge has suggested that a moment may come when computers and robots are smarter than humans. He calls this "the Singularity."[39] He suggests that it may be somewhat or possibly very dangerous for humans.[40] This is discussed by a philosophy called Singularitarianism.

In 2009, experts attended a conference hosted by the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) to discuss whether computers and robots might be able to acquire any sort of autonomy, and how much these abilities might pose a threat or hazard. They noted that some robots have acquired various forms of semi-autonomy, including being able to find power sources on their own and being able to independently choose targets to attack with weapons. They also noted that some computer viruses can evade elimination and have achieved "cockroach intelligence." They noted that self-awareness as depicted in science-fiction is probably unlikely, but that there were other potential hazards and pitfalls.[39] Various media sources and scientific groups have noted separate trends in differing areas which might together result in greater robotic functionalities and autonomy, and which pose some inherent concerns.[41][42][43]

Some experts and academics have questioned the use of robots for military combat, especially when such robots are given some degree of autonomous functions.[44] There are also concerns about technology which might allow some armed robots to be controlled mainly by other robots.[45] The US Navy has funded a report which indicates that as military robots become more complex, there should be greater attention to implications of their ability to make autonomous decisions.[46][47] One researcher states that autonomous robots might be more humane, as they could make decisions more effectively. However, other experts question this.[48]

Biotechnology could lead to the creation of a pandemic, Nanotechnology could lead to grey goo in which out-of-control self-replicating robots consume all living matter on Earth while building more of themselves – in both cases, either deliberately or by accident.[49] It has also been suggested that physical scientists might accidentally create a device that could destroy the earth and the solar system.[50]

Climate change and ecology

It has been suggested that runaway global warming might cause the climate on Earth to become like Venus, which would make it uninhabitable. In less extreme scenarios it could cause the end of civilization.[51] According to a UN climate report, theHimalayan glaciers that are the sources of Asia‘s biggest rivers – Ganges, Indus, Brahmaputra, Yangtze, Mekong, Salween and Yellow – could disappear by 2350 as temperatures rise, although an initial announcement of that report erroneously stated the date as 2035.[52][53] Approximately 3 billion people live in the drainage basin of the Himalayan rivers, which is almost half of the current human population.[54] The Himalayan system, which includes outlying subranges, stretches across: Afghanistan,Bangladesh, Bhutan, People’s Republic of China, India, Nepal, Burma, Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia and Pakistan. Some of the world’s major rivers, Ganges, Indus, Brahmaputra, Yangtze, Mekong, Salween and Yellow River, rise in the Himalayas, and their combined drainage basin in India, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Myanmar could experience floods followed by droughts in coming decades. In India alone, the Ganges provides water for drinking and farming for more than 500 million people.[55][56][57] The west coast of North America, which gets much of its water from glaciers in mountain ranges such as the Rocky Mountains, Cascade Mountains and Sierra Nevada, also would be affected.[58][59] According to the California Department of Water Resources, if more water supplies are not found by 2020, California residents will face a water shortfall nearly as great as the amount consumed today.[60] Directly linked to observed increases in the intensity and frequency of natural disasters, global warming and climate change are now considered key drivers behind rising global humanitarian and emergency relief needs.[25] According to the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), climate disasters are on the rise. Around 70 percent of disasters are now climate related – up from around 50 percent from two decades ago.[24] These disasters take a heavier human toll and come with a higher price tag.[25] In the last decade, 2.4 billion people were affected by climate related disasters, compared to 1.7 billion in the previous decade and the cost of responding to disasters has risen tenfold between 1992 and 2008.[24] Destructive sudden heavy rains, intense tropical storms, repeated flooding and droughts are likely to increase, as will the vulnerability of local communities in the absence of strong concerted action.[25]

Approximately 40% of the world’s agricultural land is seriously degraded.[61] In Africa, if current trends of soil degradation continue, the continent might be able to feed just 25% of its population by 2025, according to UNU‘s Ghana-based Institute for Natural Resources in Africa.[62]

James Lovelock, creator of the Gaia hypothesis, in his book The Revenge of Gaia (2006), has suggested that the elimination of rain forests, and the falling planetary biodiversity is removing the homeostatic negative feedback mechanisms that maintain climate stability by reducing the effects of greenhouse gas emissions (particularly carbon dioxide). With the heating of the oceans, the extension of the thermocline layer into Arctic and Antarctic waters is preventing the overturning and nutrient enrichment necessary for algal blooms of phytoplankton on which the ecosystems of these areas depend. With the loss of phytoplankton and tropical rain forests, two of the main carbon dioxide sinks for reducing global warming, he suggests a runaway positive feedback effect could cause tropical deserts to cover most of the world’s tropical regions, and the disappearance of polar ice caps, posing a serious challenge to global civilization.

Using scenario analysis, the Global Scenario Group (GSG), a coalition of international scientists convened by Paul Raskin, developed a series of possible futures for the world as it enters a Planetary Phase of Civilization. One scenario involves the complete breakdown of civilization as the effects of climate change become more pronounced, competition for scarce resources increases, and the rift between the poor and the wealthy widens. The GSG’s other scenarios, such as Policy Reform, Eco-Communalism, and Great Transition avoid this societal collapse and eventually result in environmental and social sustainability. They claim the outcome is dependent on human choice[63] and the possible formation of a global citizens movement which could influence the trajectory of global development.[64]

Other scenarios
  • Peak oil: Fossil Fuels attain a level of scarcity before an economically viable replacement is devised, leading firstly to economic strain, followed by the collapse of modern agriculture, then to mass-starvation.[65]
  • Antibiotic resistance: Natural selection would create super bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics, devastating the world population and causing a global collapse of civilization.[66]
  • Gulf Stream shutdown: There is some speculation that global warming could, via a shutdown or slowdown of the thermohaline circulation, trigger localized cooling in the North Atlantic and lead to cooling in that region. This would affect in particular areas like Ireland, the Nordic countries, and Britain that are warmed by the North Atlantic drift.[67][68]
  • Mutual assured destruction: A full scale nuclear war could kill billions, and the resulting nuclear winter would effectively crush any form of civilization.
  • Overpopulation: Some scenarios of simultaneous ecological (food & water production) and economical (see f.e. below) collapses with overpopulation are presumed to lead to a global civil war, where the remaining habitable areas are destroyed by competing humans (so called ‘Mad Max‘-scenario).[69]
  • Famine: As of late 2007, increased farming for use in biofuels, along with world oil prices spiking to more than $140 per barrel,[70] had pushed up the price of grain used to feed poultry and dairy cows and other cattle, causing higher prices of wheat (up 58%), soybean (up 32%), and maize (up 11%) over the year.[71][72] Food riots have recently taken place in many countries across the world.[73][74][75] An epidemic of stem rust on wheat caused by race Ug99 is currently spreading across Africa and intoAsia and is causing major concern. Scientists say millions of people face starvation.[76][77][78]
  • Experimental accident: Investigations in nuclear and high energy physics, such as the Trinity test and more recently with the Large Hadron Collider, theoretical chain-reaction global disasters triggered by these unusual conditions were worried about by some but have not yet occurred.[79][80][81][82]
  • Dysgenics Widespread occurrence of defective or disadvantageous human genes could cause a catastrophic decline in the quality of human life, or its total cessation.
  • Hypercane
  • Economic collapse
  • Mass extinction
  • Overconsumption

Historical fictional scenarios

Sir Isaac Newton (1642–1727) studied old texts and surmised that the end of the world would happen no earlier than 2060, although he was reluctant to put an exact date on it.[83]

The belief that the Mayan civilization‘s Long Count calendar ends abruptly on December 21, 2012, is a misconception due to the Mayan practice of using only five places in Long Count Calendar inscriptions. On some monuments the Mayan calculated dates far into the past and future but there is no end of the world date. There will be a Piktun ending (a cycle of 13 144,000 day Bak’tuns) on December 21, 2012. A Piktun marks the end of a 1,872,000 day or approximately 5125 year period and is a significant event in the Mayan calendar. However, there is no historical or scientific evidence that the Mayas believed it would be a doomsday. Some believe it will just be the beginning of another Piktun.[84]

The cataclysmic pole shift hypothesis was formulated in 1872. Revisited repeatedly in the second half of the 20th century, it proposes that the axis of the Earth with respect to the crust could change extremely rapidly, causing massive earthquakes, tsunamis, and damaging local climate changes. The hypothesis is contradicted by the mainstream scientific interpretation of geological data, which indicates that true polar wander does occur, but very slowly over millions of years.

BP Tells Cleanup Workers They’ll Be Fired If They Wear Respirators

Washington’s Blog
June 18, 2010

As I noted on May 19th, BP has been telling cleanup workers that they don’t need to wear respirators or other protective gear.

As Jerrold Nadler, the New York congressman whose district includes the World Trade Center,said today:

We’re repeating the same catastrophe in the Gulf. You see pictures of people wearing regular clothes who are wading in and scooping oil off the water. Hundreds, maybe thousands of people, are going to get sick unnecessarily.

More egregious still, sources on the ground say that BP is telling cleanup workers that they will be fired if they wear respirators:

Why?

Because – as part of their PR campaign – BP is doing everything it can to prevent dramatic pictures or headlines regarding the oil spill.

For example, BP has been keeping reporters out of areas hardest hit by the oil (and seethis, this, this and this) and threatening to arrest them if they try to take pictures, hiding dead birds and other sealife, and using dispersants to break up the thick plumes of oil. Indeed, attorney and environmental advocate Monique Harden says that BP is “running the Gulf region like a prison warden”.

Russia Will Lead Effort to Found `New World Economic Order,’ Medvedev Says

By Lyubov Pronina and Lucian Kim – Jun 18, 2010

Russia to help found 'New World Economic Order', Medvedev

Russia’s president Dmitry Medvedev. Photographer: Michele Tantussi/Bloomberg

Russia will help lead efforts to recast the global economic hierarchy as the world emerges from the financial crisis, President Dmitry Medvedev said.

“We really live at a unique time, and we should use it to build a modern, prosperous and strong Russia, a Russia that will be a co-founder of the new world economic order,” Medvedev said at the annual St. Petersburg International Economic Forumtoday.

Russia will use tax incentives and other free-market economic policies to turn the country into a destination for innovators from around the world, Medvedev told an audience including Citigroup Inc. Chief Executive Officer Vikram Pandit and French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde.

Medvedev, in the third year of his presidency, is promoting modernization to transform Russia from an oil-and-gas economy into a magnet for high technology. Its reliance on natural resources exacerbated the steepest contraction among major emerging markets last year, when the economy shrank a record 7.9 percent.

The government will abolish taxes on capital gains from long-term direct investments starting next year, seeking to lure funds to reduce the economy’s energy dependence and subdue speculative capital, Medvedev said.

‘Critical’

“Such investments are critically important for modernizing the national economy and we are ready to create institutions to facilitate such investments,” he said. The government will create an investment fund within a year to help draw “strategic investors” by raising 3 rubles of private capital for each 1 ruble of state money.

“We understand that international competition is the decisive stimulus for our modernization,” the president said. “Russia should become an attractive country to which people from the whole world will come in search of their dreams.”

Medvedev in March asked billionaire Viktor Vekselberg, owner of holding company Renova Group, to oversee efforts to create a Russian version of Silicon Valley in the Moscow suburb of Skolkovo, where tax breaks and other incentives will be offered to lure investment to spur innovation and production of high-technology products. Cisco Systems Inc. and Nokia Oyj plan to join the project.

Citigroup’s Pandit backed Medvedev’s plans announced last year to create a financial center in the capital.

“It’s a real opportunity to turn Moscow into a hub,” Pandit said in St. Petersburg today.

Recovery Road

The nation is on the road to recovery after the decline, Medvedev said. Sovereign debt is “minimal,” foreign reserves are growing again and inflation is at its lowest level in 20 years, according to the president. The country boasts government debt of about 10 percent of gross domestic product.

“Flexibility and adaptability are words that have become much more popular than stability and predictability,” Medvedev said.

Medvedev said he will continue to seek economic integration on a regional level with former Soviet republics such as Kazakhstan and Belarus, a development he said doesn’t conflict with Russia’s aspirations to join the World Trade Organization.

In areas where it lags behind, Russia will adopt foreign practices, such as the European Union’s technical standards, according to the president.

To contact the reporters on this story: Lyubov Pronina in St. Petersburg atlpronina@bloomberg.net; Lucian Kim in St. Petersburg at lkim3@bloomberg.net

Smuggled video shows Israeli snipers aiming, firing at Gaza Flotilla activists

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Smuggled raw footage of the Israeli commandos’ assault on Gaza Freedom Flotilla, taken by an eyewitness, has been published online. Activist Iara Lee has kept the recordings despite the Israeli government’s efforts to confiscate all footage of the attack. This is an excerpt from the full one-hour long video.

FDA reverses position on BPA in plastics, now admits concern over the chemical

E. Huff
Natural News
June 17, 2010

Following its 2008 declaration that the chemical bisphenol-A (BPA) is a safe additive in food and beverage plastics, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) received criticism from consumer advocacy groups and others for neglecting scientific evidence that indicated the contrary. The agency reluctantly agreed to review its position and recently reversed its position, declaring that it now has concerns about the safety of BPA.

Several scientific studies have verified that BPA is a highly toxic endocrine disruptor that can impede proper reproductive function and lead to cardiovascular disease, liver problems, and diabetes. It is especially harmful during the early developmental stages because it hinders the proper development of organ tissues and glands and inhibits proper sexual maturity.

A 2009 Harvard University study found that people who drank from polycarbonate bottles containing BPA for just one week experienced a two-thirds increase of BPA in their urine. Published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, the study verified that the BPA used in containers leaches very easily into food and beverages, especially when heated.

Manufacturers of plastic containers have been using BPA since the 1960s because it helps to harden plastic and make it more durable. It is also used in food can linings and other packaging materials where it leaches into food. According to many studies, nearly everyone is exposed to BPA, including unborn babies still in the womb.

Despite mounting evidence concerning its dangers, FDA officials, in conjunction with chemical industry spokesmen, have long denied that BPA is dangerous. After giving the chemical a thumb’s up in 2008, the FDA submitted its report to an independent panel of scientific advisors which lambasted the agency for failing to properly evaluate important evidence that indicated the dangers associated with BPA. Recognizing that scrutiny of its failure was only intensifying, the FDA finally conceded that BPA is dangerous and that further research is needed to verify just how dangerous it really is.

Many manufacturers have already begun to voluntarily remove BPA from their products, particularly those that produce products for babies and young children. Chicago, Suffolk County, New York, and Canada have all outlawed BPA from being used children’s products.

The FDA officially recognizes BPA as a food additive, a difficult category for which to make regulatory changes. FDA officials have expressed support for reclassifying BPA as a “food contact substance” which would allow the agency more control over how it is regulated.

Sources for this story include:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/16/h…

http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/pr…

Who Died And Made BP King Of The Gulf Of Mexico?

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The Economic Collapse
June 18, 2010

There is one question that I would really like an answer to.  Who died and made BP king of the Gulf of Mexico?  In recent weeks, BP has almost seemed more interested in keeping the American people away from the oil spill than in actually cleaning it up.  Journalists are being pushed around and denied access, disaster workers are being intimidated and abused and now BP has even go so far as to hire an army of private mercenaries to enforce their will along the Gulf coast.  Are we suddenly living in occupied Iraq?  How in the world did a foreign oil company get the right to start pointing guns at the American people?  The last time I checked, BP did not own the Gulf of Mexico and did not have the right to tell the American people where they can and cannot go.  The truth is that BP could have avoided all of this by running an open, honest and transparent operation from the start.  They could have welcomed help from all sources, they could have tried to be open with the media, and they could have tried to be fair with the volunteers and rescue workers.  But instead BP has been conducting this whole thing as if we are living in a totalitarian dictatorship and they are the dictators.

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Over the last several weeks, members of the mainstream media attempting to cover the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico have been yelled at, harassed, kicked off public beaches and threatened with arrest.  The Obama administration keeps promising ”to improve media access”, but so far their promises haven’t seemed to make much difference.  In fact, a recent AP reportdetailed several recent highly disturbing incidents of journalist intimidation….  

  • On June 5, sheriff’s deputies in Grand Isle threatened an AP photographer with arrest for criminal trespassing after he spoke to BP employees and took pictures of cleanup workers on a public beach.
  • On June 6, an AP reporter was in a boat near an island in Barataria Bay when a man in another boat identifying himself as a U.S. Fish and Wildlife employee ordered the reporter to leave the area. When the reporter asked to see identification, the man refused, saying “My name doesn’t matter, you need to go.”
  • According to a June 10 CNN video, one of the network’s news crews was told by a bird rescue worker that he signed a contract with BP stating that he would not talk to the media. The crew was also turned away by BP contractors working at a bird triage area — despite having permission from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to enter the facility.
  • On June 11 and 12, private security guards patrolling in the Grand Isle area attempted repeatedly to prevent a crew from New Orleans television station WDSU from walking on a public beach and speaking with cleanup workers.But it is not just the media that are being pushed around.  The Louisiana Environmental Action Network is reporting that BP is actually threatening to fire fishermen hired to help with the oil spill cleanup for using respirators and other safety equipment that wasn’t provided by the company.Seriously.

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    The workers say that they are only using their own safety equipment because BP has not provided what they need.  It is a fact that a large number of rescue workers have already gotten sick enough to be admitted to the hospital, so it certainly makes sense that those working to clean up the oil would want to do whatever they can to stay safe.

    But no, BP has to be a bunch of jerks about the whole thing.

    Even the EPA says that workers need to be careful.  Hugh Kaufman, a senior policy analyst at the EPA’s office of solid waste and emergency response, made the following statement during an interview on Thursday….  

    “There’s no way you can be working in that toxic soup without getting exposures.”

    It’s not just the oil that is the problem.  The chemical dispersants that BP is using in the Gulf are even more toxic than the oil.  In fact, because it is so extremely toxic, the UK’s Marine Management Organization has completely banned Corexit 9500, so if there was a major oil spill in the North Sea, BP would not be able to use it.

    But the Obama administration has allowed BP to dump over a million gallons of Corexit 9500, Corexit 9527 and other highly toxic dispersants into the Gulf of Mexico.

    Apparently the truth is that BP would rather disperse the oil so that the spill doesn’t look so bad even if it means creating an ecological disaster of nightmarish proportions.

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  • You see, these days BP does what it wants, and anyone who doesn’t like it gets pushed out of the way.

  • Monique Harden, the co-director and attorney at the New Orleans-based Advocates for Environmental Human Rights, is so outraged over BP’s behavior that she recently made the following statement….

    “BP should not be running the Gulf region like a prison warden, and we’ve got to stop that.”

    But rather than becoming more open and taking responsibility for their actions, BP has now hired private security contractors to keep the American people away from the oil cleanup sites.

    In other words, BP has brought in a horde of private mercenaries (just like the U.S. uses in Iraq and Afghanistan) to muscle the American people around.

    Yeah, we are really going to appreciate that.

    Doesn’t BP understand that the American people do not respond well to this kind of nonsense?

    In fact, it is being alleged that BP has actually attempted to manipulate the search results on sites like Google and Yahoo.

    They seem absolutely obsessed with controlling what we see and think.

    Perhaps what BP should be obsessed with is stopping the oil from shooting out of the ground.

    Meanwhile, BP execs are busy testifying in front of Congress and making half-hearted apologies.

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  • Carl-Henric Svanberg, the BP chairman, has even apologized for referring to those affected by the Gulf of Mexico oil spill as “small people”.

    Isn’t that nice of him?

    While all of this is going on, BP is already trying to ensure that things go their way legally.  Back in May, BP requested that one particular judge be assigned to preside over all lawsuits related to the spill.  Well, it turns out that this particular judge gets tens of thousands of dollars a year in oil royalties and is paid travel expenses to attend oil industry conferences.

    Isn’t that convenient?

    But that is how the game is played these days.

    Meanwhile, the “oil volcano” on the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico continues to pump out a nightmarish amount of oil every single day.  BP is even admitting that oil is escaping from the leak at such high pressure that if they try to cap it the entire well may blow.

    So this crisis may keep getting worse for months.

    By the time this is over, will anything in the Gulf be left alive?

    Even now, hordes of dolphins, fish, sharks, crabs, rays and other sea creatures find themselves trapped between the rapidly advancing oil and the shore.  Unprecedented numbers are showing up just off the Gulf coast in an attempt to escape certain death, but once the oil reaches shore there will be nowhere else for them to go.  The tragedy will be unspeakable.

    Things did not have to turn out this way.  BP and the Obama administration could have done things much differently.  But they didn’t.

    Now we all have to live with the results.

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  • Obama To Use BP Oil Spill As An Opportunity To Push His Economy Killing Climate Change Bill

    Never one to to allow a "good crisis" to go to waste, Barack Obama is pledging to use the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico as an opportunity to push the U.S. Congress to pass his controversial climate bill.  In fact, during a recent interview Obama directly compared the current crisis in the Gulf to 9/11, and indicated that he believed that it would fundamentally change the way that we all look at energy issues from now on.  But the truth is that Obama’s climate bill is the same economy killing legislation that it was before the BP oil spill.  It would still drive gas and electricity prices through the roof, it would still cause large numbers of U.S. businesses to flee overseas, it would still be one of the biggest tax increases in U.S. history and it would still usher in an unprecedented era of climate fascism.  But now thanks to the BP oil spill there is suddenly a lot more momentum in Congress for doing something about energy and about "climate change".

    Of course the truth is that carbon dioxide is not causing climate changeand high levels of carbon dioxide are actually very good for the environment, but reducing carbon emissions has almost become a religion for radical environmentalists, and Barack Obama is absolutely determined to push through his "cap and trade" carbon trading scheme.  In fact, just as 9/11 completely changed the war that Americans viewed the fight against terrorism, Barack Obama sees the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico fundamentally changing the way that Americans see energy issues.  During a recent interview, Obama told Politico columnist Roger Simon the following….

    "In the same way that our view of our vulnerabilities and our foreign policy was shaped profoundly by 9/11, I think this disaster is going to shape how we think about the environment and energy for many years to come."

    Not only that, but Obama considers it one of his greatest "leadership challenges" to make sure that we all "draw the right lessons" from the BP oil spill….

    "One of the biggest leadership challenges for me going forward is going to be to make sure that we draw the right lessons from this disaster."

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    So what are those "right lessons"?

    Well, apparently what we are all supposed to get out of this disaster are the lessons that Obama has been trying to "teach" us all along – that carbon taxes and cap and trade schemes are good for us.

    But Barack Obama is not the only one urging us to learn the "right lessons" from the BP oil spill.

    In a recent interview with ABC News, Microsoft’s Bill Gates also linked the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico with "climate change".  Gates warned that if we don’t make the necessary changes soon that we will suffer severe consequences….

    "We’ll have more crises like the oil spill and we’ll have the supply disruption. We’ll start to see more and more effects of the climate problem."

    But would the climate bill that Obama is pushing really save us from "climate change"?

    Of course not.

    But Barack Obama’s climate change bill would do the following things….

    *It would drive gas and electricity prices through the roof.

    *It would crush the already fragile U.S. economy by piling a bunch of new taxes and regulations on U.S. businesses.  Needless to say, large numbers of them would begin looking for greener pastures.

    *It would increase worldwide pollution by forcing companies out of the U.S. and into nations that have no restrictions on pollution whatsoever.

    *When you add up all of the overt and hidden taxes in the bill, it would represent one of the biggest tax increases in U.S. history.

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    *Since every action we take involves the production of carbon emissions (including every breath that we take), it would open the door for an era of tyrannical climate fascism where the U.S. government literally monitors every aspect of our lives to make sure that we are being "eco-friendly".

    But Barack Obama makes this climate bill sound like it is the greatest thing since sliced bread.  In fact, he continues to promise that the number of "green jobs" gained by this bill will far outweigh the number of other jobs lost.

    But is this true?

    Of course not.

    In fact, other countries that have tried a "cap and trade" scheme have experienced disastrous results.  For example, a leaked internal assessment produced by the government of Spain reveals that the "green economy" therehas been an absolute economic nightmare for that nation.  Energy prices have skyrocketed in Spain and the new "green economy" in that nation has actually lost more than two jobs for every job that it has created.

    The unemployment rate in Spain is now hovering around 20 percent and the economy there is on the verge of complete and total collapse.  In fact, if the government of Spain does end up defaulting on their debts, it could make the financial crisis that has been unfolding in Greece look like a Sunday picnic.  

    It should be obvious to anyone with a brain that a climate bill like the one Spain implemented will devastate the U.S. economy.  But facts haven’t gotten in the way of Barack Obama pushing his agenda before, so why should they now?

    However, it is not just Barack Obama that is pushing an agenda of trying to radically reduce carbon emissions.  All over the world, many of the global elite have joined forces with the radical environmentalists in an effort to "save the world" from the growing "threat" of carbon dioxide.

    And since each person on this planet is a source of constant carbon emissions,  many of those who truly believe in this radical environmental agenda consider the rapidly growing population of the earth to be the number one cause of climate change.

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    You see, to those obsessed with "climate change", just getting corporations around the globe to radically cut carbon emissions is not nearly going to be good enough.  The truth is that they know that in order to get carbon emissions down to where they want them to be, they are going to have to do something about the growing world population.

    To them, in the "war against climate change" anyone who breathes is the enemy.  In fact, according to an official UN report, no human can ever truly be "carbon neutral".

    So please understand that for those obsessed with climate change, "carbon taxes" and "cap and trade" are just the beginning.  To truly achieve their goals, "one child policies" and "forced abortions" will also be necessary.

    So if Barack Obama does get his climate bill pushed through Congress and it does kill the U.S. economy, that would only be a "first step" for those truly dedicated to the radical environmental agenda.  What they have planned down the road is a whole lot more horrific.

    Cutting Through The BS Of The Afghanistan Resource “Bonanza”

    Louis James
    Casey’s International Speculator
    Friday, June 18th, 2010

    Geological anomalies are like opinions: Everybody has one

    There’s a great deal of chatter in the press and online about the tremendous US$1-trillion-dollar mineral “discovery” in Afghanistan headlined by The New York Times recently. Most of the discussion seems to centre on whether or not this is really news and whether or not the NYT was played by the powers that be for purposes of their own. Few, if any, people seem to be questioning the value of the so-called discovery itself. The US$1-trillion-dollar figure, at best, cannot be anything more than the wildest of hopeful guesses.

    One does not have to be a geologist or an engineer to understand why. When geologists find outcropping mineralization, or other signs that an economic deposit of minerals may be present, that is not called a discovery. Even if the signs come from the latest scientific equipment flown over the country, as the U.S. government appears to have used, the result is still just an anomaly: a hopeful indication of where to look. And anomalies are like opinions: Everybody has one.

    Once an anomaly is identified, it takes extensive and very expensive field work to determine the best locations for drilling holes in the ground, which you have to do to calculate a volume of mineralized rock, from which you can estimate the metal contained. It usually takes at least a year, and often several, to identify targets for drilling. And drilling off a deposit of any significant size takes several more years, usually after many false starts and setbacks, because you can’t see through rock to know where the goods are.

    But even after you drill off a deposit, and know how big it is, how deep it is, and roughly what’s in it, you still don’t know what it’s worth. For that, you have to conduct extensive testing on the mineralized material, not just to quantify the metals or other desirable minerals within but also to see if there are contaminants, or other elements present that can complicate, or even make impossible the economic recovery of the valuable mineral.

    In short, until you know how much it would cost to mine and process any sort of mineralized material into a saleable product, like gold bars, copper concentrate, etc., you cannot say what it’s worth. Even a huge deposit of gold may be completely worthless if the grade is low and there’s lots of carbon that would mess up the gold recovery.

    Now, back to Afghanistan. A “small team of Pentagon officials and American geologists” cannot possibly have drilled off these deposits, let alone done the engineering required to value them. At very best, they’ve spotted some outcrops and taken some samples. This is not a discovery — no serious exploration geologist would call anything a discovery until enough holes have been drilled into it to outline a significant volume of potentially economic material.

    What we have here is a regional survey that may or may not lead to significant discoveries.

    Where do they get the trillion-dollar figure? We can only guess but given their own description, they cannot have done the work necessary to generate any reasonable estimate. It’s worth pointing out that the vast majority of mineral outcroppings and other anomalies never lead to economic discoveries, much less mines. Even a very rich vein sticking right out on surface can turn out to be the last dregs of a system that has been eroded away, leaving nothing but a tease behind. For gold, the odds of an anomaly leading to an economic discovery are often cited as being on the order of 300 to one, against.

    No responsible geologist would circulate a valuation figure at this stage of the process in Afghanistan. In fact, if a public company put out a press release like this story in the NYT, the exchange would likely reprimand it severely and require a retraction.

    Now, the soldier quoted admits that “There are a lot of ifs,” but that does not excuse putting out the US$1-trillion figure, a number that cannot be reasonably supported at this point.

    Note that this doesn’t mean the minerals are not there — Afghanistan has, for obvious reasons, not seen any modern exploration, or even antiquated exploration, for decades. It is, in all likelihood, a terrific place to look for minerals. But the government’s story sounds like the sort of PR stunt put out by Pink Sheet scammers.

    It will take time for any real discoveries to be made, especially given the time required to draft a workable mining law and for physical security to be established in the country. It would be a great benefit to the people of Afghanistan, and of the world, if this would happen.

     

    Afghan mineral deposits worth up to $3 trillion

    KABUL: Initial discoveries of untapped mineral deposits in poverty-stricken Afghanistan are "worth up to three trillion dollars", the country’s mines minister said Thursday.
    The government tally came three days after US officials put their estimate of the value of the country’s reserves of iron, copper, cobalt and gold at at least one trillion dollars.
    Mines Minister Wahidullah Shahrani said the US value of the Afghan resource wealth was a "very conservative estimate" and the Afghan evaluation was substantially more than that.
    "Although it has not been confirmed yet and is subject to more exploration and drilling, the idea is that it could be up to three trillion (dollars)," Shahrani said.
    "The scientists always use a very conservative approach to make sure that information will not be biased," he said.
    Shahrani said it had been known for decades that the country has vast mineral wealth but the details of the deposits were only revealed in a survey recently conducted by the US Geological Survey.
    "Our key mineral deposits are huge," he said, adding that there are vast reserves of the metal lithium, used to make batteries for electronics and produce medicines.
    Some of the minerals are located in areas where the Taliban have a strong presence, a factor that could make the mines less attractive to foreign investors.
    The mineral discoveries are also seen as potentially stoking the insurgency rather than bringing peace because the Taliban could fight more fiercely to regain control of the country and its newfound wealth.
    The minister admitted that "still there are some challenges in terms of security in certain parts of the country" but expressed confidence that it was a short-term threat.
    More than 120,000 foreign troops have been deployed in Afghanistan to battle an insurgency waged by the Taliban, which was ousted in a US-led invasion in late 2001.
    Economic analysts said that with the country’s current poor infrastructure, it would need years to develop its mining industry while also worrying that the newfound wealth could be lost to graft as Afghanistan is ranked among the two most corrupt states in the world.
    "Our focus will be mainly to enhance our capacities to make sure that we will get the maximum economic benefit from this opportunity in the most efficient and transparent manner," Shahrani insisted.
    He said he hoped his country would attract foreign investment at a road show that his ministry would organise June 25 in London, to which more than 200 global organisations were invited.

    American was on solo mission to kill Bin Laden, Pakistani police say

    Gary Brooks Faulkner, a construction worker, was arrested in a mountainous region of Pakistan, armed with a pistol, dagger, night-vision goggles and a belief that he could kill the terrorist on his own, Pakistani police say.

     

     

     

    By Alex Rodriguez and Zulfiqar Ali

    June 16, 2010

    Reporting from Islamabad, Pakistan —

    The U.S. has spent nine years and billions of dollars trying to hunt down Osama bin Laden amid the rugged, lawless badlands along Pakistani-Afghan border.
    But according to Pakistani officials, Gary Brooks Faulkner thought he could get the job done himself, with a pistol, a dagger and a pair of night-vision goggles.
    The construction worker, whose age was variously reported as 52 and 40, was arrested early Monday in Pakistan’s Chitral region, a mountainous, forested expanse along the Afghan border. When questioned, he told authorities that he was "on a mission to decapitate Bin Laden," Pakistani police officers quoted Faulkner as saying.


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    Faulkner didn’t get very far, they said. He had been staying at a hotel in the town of Bumburate in Chitral since June 3. Local police were providing security for him, not uncommon in regions along the border where kidnappings and killings of foreigners have occurred. But on Sunday, he sneaked out of the hotel without telling the officer who was assigned to him.
    After a 10-hour manhunt, he was picked up on a mountain path as he was trying to make his way across the border and into Nuristan, an eastern Afghanistan province that abuts Chitral, according to Pakistani officials. He was moved to the northwest city of Peshawar for further questioning, they said.
    Faulkner was not made immediately available to speak with the media about the Pakistani statements.
    Police said Faulkner told them he was intent on scouring caves and remote villages in eastern Afghanistan for Bin Laden because he regarded the leader of the Al Qaeda terrorist network as a "constant threat to America."
    The area is one of many where Bin Laden has long been rumored to be holed up. Bin Laden has been the subject of an intensive search by U.S. officials, who have offered a reward of $25 million for information leading to his capture.
    According to the Associated Press, Faulkner told police that he had visited Pakistan seven times and that this was his third trip to Chitral, which is a mountainous region that attracts Western tourists and hikers. The news service reported that local police quoted Faulkner as saying, "God is with me, and I am confident I will be successful in killing him."
    U.S. Embassy spokesman Richard Snelsire said the embassy had been notified of the arrest of a U.S. citizen, and was working on arranging a consular visit with that individual. Snelsire declined further comment.
    alex.rodriguez@latimes.com
    Times staff writer Rodriguez reported from Islamabad and special correspondent Ali from Peshawar.

    Copyright © 2010, The Los Angeles Times

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