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Shelf life of a Nuclear bomb ?

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posted on May, 17 2009 @ 07:41 PM
I am hoping that one of our knowable ATS'ers out there might be able to shed some light on Nuclear weapons for us .

I was wondering , is it enough to simply have a Nuclear warhead or does it require constant maintenance ?

What is the shelf life of an unmaintained Nuclear warhead ?

How easy would it be for an untrained person to detonate an acquired warhead ?

How different would a suitcase nuke be from the warhead version ? Would such a weapon require more attention to maintain ?

How far up the tech. level would a country have to climb from creating a nuclear weapon to creating a nuclear suitcase ?

Any light that you might be able to shed on any of these questions would be much appreciated , thanks .

posted on May, 17 2009 @ 07:45 PM
I think the most limiting factor of a nuclear bomb having too long of a shelf life is the tritium trigger. Let me check into it further.

posted on May, 17 2009 @ 07:47 PM
There certainly is a shelf life to nuclear warheads. There is a good website on the government program at shelf life extension that may answer some of your questions here.

The nation's nuclear weapons were originally designed to last for 20 to 25 years. Each year, the directors of the Department of Energy's three nuclear weapons labs must certify that the stockpile weapons will perform as designed. If the performance of an older weapon becomes questionable, lab scientists must decide how to replace its aging parts in order to restore its peak performance.

posted on May, 17 2009 @ 07:58 PM
Thanks for your post guys , hope to see more

So the answer to the question of a nuclear warhead requiring some level of maintenance is yes , but just how much ?

The motivation behind my questions in the OP are based on the scenario of a warhead falling into the " wrong hands " , such as the hands of a terrorist .

If this were to ever happen just what level of danger would there be , as per the questions asked in the OP ?

We also , from time to time , hear of the dreaded suitcase nuke . Would I be correct in the assumption that a country have to go a long way from developing nuclear weapons to something as advanced as a suitcase nuke ?

I would also make the assumption that a suitcase nuke would require a great deal of maintenance to keep it in working order , no ?

Once again thanks to those that have posted , you have provided some great info

posted on May, 17 2009 @ 08:17 PM
Tritium has a half life of 12.5 years. The tritium is the first stage of a few reactions that lead to the big boom. Depending on the type of warhead, there are a series of explosions. Each explosion makes enough heat/neutrons to start the next stage. Without the tritium to start the chain reaction, the bomb will not have fission/fusion reactions.

Even if a thermonuclear explosion is not produced, there is still a great dirty bomb threat.

posted on May, 17 2009 @ 08:59 PM
reply to post by Max_TO

Alrighty, here we go:

Question 1) With every weapon system you need constant maintenance. Its like having a gun, it needs to be cleaned even if it hasnt been used in a while and it needs to be tested to be sure its still safe and can be used, and handled, it does have radioactive parts.

Question 2) As far as shelf life, I would say it all depends on where its being kept and the level of "Elements" its being exposed to, and I mean moisture and so fourth. They cause corrosion and can make things go boom when they arent supposed to.

Question 3) As for an untrained person setting it off, well good luck. Its almost impossible with out some training or knowledge of the weapon system. It has so many fail safes on it, it would make you go nuts. But for the explosive filler, yea, you can make that go boom without much training, you just have to know where it is and looks like. It would pretty much be a dirty bomb if it went off. Like I said if you can get the nuclear reaction to take place without training, well damn.

Question 4) For the suitcase one, going from somthing so big to somthing little, would be pretty hard but not possible. I think it can be done and would require more maintenance because of the smaller more intrick(sp?) parts. I bet we (USA) could do it. I mean we have the M65, which shoots a 0.01 kiloton warhead, which is like nothing but still will mess stuff up. So why not put it in a box. Just a little more work to do that.

Question 5) Going form a huge @$$ nuke to a suitcase would require a "Superpower" countries help. Either that or someone with a ton of money who can get people who have extensive knowledge of nukes. I wouldnt say impossible, but unlikey they would get it without the help of a pretty powerful country. If the tailban get this I would quesiton the superpowers not the small countries, I doubt they could tie their own shoes without our help.

Hope that helps, and this is from my knowledge dealing with AMMO.
and just in case you didnt know I.Y.A.A.Y.A.S.

posted on May, 17 2009 @ 09:18 PM
So based on the info offered so far I am lead to believe a couple of things here ...

If a nuclear bomb was ever " acquired " by an undesirable , they would have an a time limit of sorts to deal with in there equation of utilizing the warhead .

They would also require a trained person to assist in the handling and using of the weapon

A suitcase nuclear weapon would require a higher lever of training and maintenance .

At this time there are only a select few tech. capable countries than can produce something like a suitcase nuke .

I am also guessing that the people / scientist that are capable of creating or working on a nuclear weapon are on some list and are known of by different branches of various governments ?

If any of you have anymore info please share , if I am missing something of importance regarding this topic please feel free to add to the conversation .

posted on May, 17 2009 @ 11:28 PM
There has to be a list, why would you not have a list of all the poeple capable of using/ sharing info abou it. I know the military has a list of certified people within the military that works on them, also there are set procecdues in moving/ handling these things. I mean with the AF for instance, moving a nuke you usually have E-8 or higher, or O-5 or higher handling and actually moving with them. Anything below that is odd. Its a pretty serious deal.

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