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US W76-2 mini-nuke in production, violating all treaties

 
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TonyGosling
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 09, 2019 11:48 am    Post subject: US W76-2 mini-nuke in production, violating all treaties Reply with quote

Production of W76-2 warhead in US increases risk of nuclear conflict, warns Lavrov
http://tass.com/politics/1042436

Russian Politics & Diplomacy January 30, 14:11 UTC+3
Russia’s proposal to resume strategic stability dialogue with the US remains on the table, the top diplomat stressed

MOSCOW, January 30. /TASS/. Production of the W76-2 warhead in the United States lowers the threshold of using nuclear weapons and increases the risk of a nuclear conflict, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told a news conference in Moscow on Wednesday.
"This issue was already included in last year’s review of Washington’s policies in the nuclear sphere. Already then we expressed serious concern the development of such low-yield warheads lowers the threshold of using nuclear weapons and increases the risk of a nuclear conflict," he said.
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"As far as we can see, that provision has now been translated into the language of practical action. Certainly, this by no means promotes security in the modern world," Lavrov said.
He pointed out that Russia was expecting a response from the European countries to the production of the nuclear warhead in the United States.
"Europe intentionally or unintentionally supported or connived with previous unilateral actions by the United States. What I have in mind is the United States’ unilateral pullout from the anti-ballistic missile treaty and the beginning of the deployment of a global US missile defense, including its NATO component in Europe. The same applies to the United States’ destruction of the INF Treaty, which happened with actual support from the North Atlantic Alliance," Lavrov said.
He recalled that Russia’s proposal for resuming the dialogue with the United States over strategic stability "remains on the table, but regrettably the negotiations have not begun yet."
Earlier, Defense News magazine quoted officials at the National Nuclear Security Administration under the US Department of Energy as saying the United States had launched the production of low-yield nuclear warheads W76-2. The first batch of the warheads will be delivered to the Navy by the end of the Fiscal Year 2019, Defense News said. According to US experts, the new warhead has a yield of 5-6 kilotonnes, in contrast to the 100-kilotonne warhead W76-1, created back in the 1970s.


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TonyGosling
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 09, 2019 11:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

US nuclear weapons: first low-yield warheads roll off the production line
New type of weapon, ordered by Trump’s nuclear posture review, could make conflict more likely, say experts
Julian Borger in Washington
Mon 28 Jan 2019 08.31 GMT Last modified on Tue 29 Jan 2019 00.45 GMT
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jan/28/us-nuclear-weapons-first -low-yield-warheads-roll-off-the-production-line

The US has begun making a new, low-yield nuclear warhead for its Trident missiles that arms control advocates warn could lower the threshold for a nuclear conflict.

The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) announced in an email it had started manufacturing the weapon at its Pantex nuclear weapons plant in Texas, as ordered by Donald Trump’s nuclear posture review (NPR) last year.

The NNSA said the first of the new warheads had come off the production line and that it was on schedule to deliver the first batch – an unspecified number referred to as “initial operational capability” – before the end of September, according to the email, first sent in response to an enquiry from Exchange Monitor, which covers the nuclear weapons complex.


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The new weapon, the W76-2, is a modification of the existing Trident warhead. Stephen Young, a senior Washington representative of the Union of Concerned Scientists, said its yield had most likely been cut by taking away one stage from the original two-stage, W76 thermonuclear device.

“As best we can tell, the only requirement is to replace the existing secondary, or second stage, with a dummy version, which is what they do every time they test fly a missile,” Young said, adding that the amount of tritium, a hydrogen isotope, may also be adjusted. The result would be to reduce its explosive power from 100 kilotons of TNT, to about five – approximately a third of the force of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

The Trump administration has argued the development of a low-yield weapon would make nuclear war less likely, by giving the US a more flexible deterrent. It would counter any enemy (particularly Russian) perception that the US would balk at using its own fearsome arsenal in response to a limited nuclear attack because its missiles were all in the hundreds of kilotons range and “too big to use”, because they would cause untold civilian casualties.

Low-yield weapons “help ensure that potential adversaries perceive no possible advantage in limited nuclear escalation, making nuclear employment less likely”, the 2018 nuclear posture review said.

To what extent does this signal a new willingness on the part of the US to start using strategic nuclear weapons?
Hans Kristensen, Federation of American Scientists
Many critics say that is an optimistic scenario that assumes there will be no miscalculation on the US side.

“There are many other scenarios, especially with a president who takes pride in his unpredictability and has literally asked: ‘Why can’t we use our nuclear weapons?’”, Young said.

Melissa Hanham of the One Earth Future foundation pointed out that adversaries would have no way of knowing if a full-force Trident was being fired at them, or its low-yield cousin.

“Hey all you nuclear powers out there. We’re just going to trust that you recognize this is “just a little nuclear weapon” and won’t retaliate with all you’ve got,” Hanham wrote in a tweet. “Remember! The US only intends to nuke you “a little bit.””


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Hans Kristensen, the director of the nuclear information project at the Federation of American Scientists said the new warhead marked a sharp break from the Obama administration policy of making no new weapons or capabilities. He said it risked starting an arms race with Russia involving smaller nuclear weapons.

“To what extent does this signal a new willingness on the part of the US to start using strategic nuclear weapons in a tactical and very limited way early in a potential conflict?” Kristensen asked. “Frankly, mission creep is my greatest worry about this.”

There has been a spate of developments signalling that a new arms race is gathering pace. Vladimir Putin has unveiled a new generation of Russian weapons, and Russia’s suspected development of an cruise missile banned under the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty.

Trump has declared he will take the US out of the treaty, and the administration is expected to suspend compliance and serve six months’ notice of withdrawal on Saturday.

The Trump nuclear weapons review expanded an ambitious modernisation plan already underway. It ordered work to start on a new sea-launched cruise missile and blurred the line between the use of conventional and nuclear weapons.

The NPR said the US could respond with nuclear weapons against “significant non-nuclear strategic attacks,” including attacks on “civilian population or infrastructure”. It also said the US would “strengthen the integration of nuclear and non-nuclear military planning”.

It is not inevitable that all of Trump’s nuclear weapons plans will be pursued. Since the funds for the initial batch of warheads was approved, Democrats have taken over Congress, and are sceptical about their cost and purposes.

Last week, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office issued a report projecting the nuclear weapons costs over the next decade as nearly a half trillion dollars, up 23% from the last estimate two years ago.

“I don’t think we need as many as they’re talking about,” Adam Smith, the new head of the House armed services committee, said in a C-Span interview. “I just don’t think we can afford what the NPR is calling for and I don’t think it is necessary.”

The nuclear weapons budget is likely to be an important battlefield in the struggle between Trump and congressional Democrats. The president is increasingly surrounding himself with Reagan-era nuclear hawks, including John Bolton, his national security adviser and who pushed for the INF to be jettisoned. Bolton’s new deputy, Charles Kupperman, once argued a nuclear war could be won “in the classical sense” if one side emerged the stronger, even if there were tens of millions of casualties.

Speaking to reporters last week, former defence secretary William Perry, an arms control advocate, said he was less worried about the number of nuclear warheads left in the world than by the return of cold war talk about such weapons being “usable”.

“The belief that there might be tactical advantage using nuclear weapons – which I haven’t heard that being openly discussed in the United States or in Russia for a good many years – is happening now in those countries which I think is extremely distressing,” Perry said.

“That’s a very dangerous belief.”

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TonyGosling
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 09, 2019 11:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

USA makes new low-yield nuclear warhead. new nuke

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7el1cQQW4k
The United States started producing new low yield nuclear weapons that were designed for a possible armed conflict with Russia.

The new warhead W76-2 is a submarine-launched weapon with a capacity of about five kilotons. The production of the new weapon was arranged in Texas; the first batch is to be ready later this year.

The development of low-yield nuclear warheads was launched at the direction of the Donald Trump administration. At the same time, however, US authorities believe that Russia has similar weapons that may give Russia an advantage in case of a conflict. Washington hopes that the new warheads will even out the chances.

According to experts' estimates, low-yield nuclear weapons can limit the zone of conflict and forecast civilian casualties more accurately. However, experts fear that such developments may only increase the probability of a nuclear war, as they will lift the restriction on the use of nuclear weapons because of their low yield, let alone the fact that new warheads may trigger a new arms race.


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