A month ago I made the case that an underground 5+ kT 3rd-generation nuke was responsible for the 2020 Beirut blast. Could an array of several such 3rd-generation nukes have been responsible for the utter destruction of the WTC on 9/11?
1/ https://twitter.com/drbairdonline/status/1292464143954350080
Besides 2020 Beirut, I’ve also made the case recently that 3rd-generation Minimum Residual Radiation SADMs w/yield 10-20 kT TNT equiv were used in 1983 US Marine barracks bombing, four mega-blasts in 1990s England & 2005 Beirut blast that killed former Lebanese PM Rafiq Hariri
This thread picks up from where I left off in another long thread examining where the immense energy needed to destroy the WTC on 9/11 & maintain hot spots in the ground for 99 days could have come from
3/ https://twitter.com/drbairdonline/status/1304390169051553792
Physicist Heinz Pommer in Apr 2017 presentation to London 9/11Keeptalking group, based on multiple criteria, certainly thought 3rd-generation nuclear weapons (Directed Energy/Minimum Residual Radiation) were "the prime suspect for being used on 9/11."
4/ https://twitter.com/drbairdonline/status/1307040714908459015
Yet, as promising as Pommer had made the case for 3rd-generation nukes seem, only a year later he completely abandoned the idea when he gave a follow-up presentation to the same London 9/11Keeptalking group (1 May 2018) in pursuit of some mysterious 0th-generation nuke!
So what are 3rd-generation nuclear weapons and what is it about them that makes someone as measured in his conclusions as physicist Heinz Pommer totally accept them as "the prime suspect for being used on 9/11" and then absolutely reject them the following year?
The idea of a "3rd-gen nuke" goes back to the late 1950s in arguments in support of developing the "neutron bomb". US scientists then were working on "clean" weapons that produced little or no radioactive fallout by minimizing % energy from fission & maxing % from fusion
Congress & Ike liked LLNL idea of "neutron bomb" as tactical weapon w/fusion energy tailored to produce burst of neutrons like "a kind of death ray, doing almost no physical damage & leaving no contamination, but immediately destroying all life in the target area"
Dec 1959 Thomas E Murray, former AEC member, told reporters the atomic test ban in effect at that time, was hurting US. Tests had helped develop A-bomb & H-bomb, "It the third generation of these weapons is the neutron bomb, it can't be proven until it, too, is tested."
In late 1950s, US had quite an array of “small” 1st-gen tactical nukes for use as atomic demolition munitions (ADMs), artillery shells & warheads. E.g, W-25 warhead (left) weighed only 218 lbs & W-30 warhead (right) had yield as low as 300 tons TNT
But, as noted by Andre Gsponer, “the major disadvantage of 1st-generation nuclear weapons is that they produce effects whose combination is never optimal from the military perspective” making them good for “strategic deterrence” but not for “limited nuclear war fighting”
But the “neutron bomb” would be designed to MINIMIZE mechanical, thermal & electromagnetic effects & MAXIMIZE radiological effects, while localizing radioactive fallout. It’s this ability to tailor effects that would define the "neutron bomb" as the first 3rd-generation nuke
The "enhanced radiation weapon" (official DOD name for the "neutron bomb") successfully tested in 1963 but Kennedy & Johnson admins resisted developing any "cleaner" nuke for fear they would be "considered more usable if war broke out" & lead to WWIII
Little did any of this "calm" discussion of "neutron bomb" anticipate the furor over the spin that a bomb had been designed to kill people but preserve bldgs when the WaPo reported that funds to start building it had been buried in 1977 ERDA budget.
With all the furor over an "enhanced radiation weapon," it's interesting there was NO public controversy over a parallel DOD effort to develop the neutron bomb's 3rd-generation counterpart - a "suppressed radiation weapon" - i.e., a nuclear "blast bomb" w/o the radiation
From beginning of Cold War, US had been looking for ways to reduce radioactive fallout. In 1967, AEC even announced work on "pure fusion weapons - that is, hydrogen bombs & missiles that would not require an A-bomb trigger and would therefore be free of radioactive fallout."
While AEC working on 4th-generation fissionless fusion weapons, Lawrence Livermore (LLNL) was quite active trying to find more immediate & practical ways to reduce radioactive fallout as part of Project Plowshare's efforts to promote the idea of "peaceful nuclear explosions"
Nuclear scientists designing a "suppressed radiation weapon" faced same kind of challenges they had overcome w/"neutron bomb". Although by 1970 LLNL had not achieved the goal of no radioactivity, they had made or suggested modifications to minimize it.
Early 1970s Nixon administration "without fuss or fanfare" was channeling $10-20 million a year "into research and development on a variety of smaller, 'cleaner' weapons, including suppressed radiation weapons"
1976 US Dept of Energy (DOE) launched three-year program to produce a "Reduced Residual Radioactivity (RRR) Tactical Bomb" "if you like, a very clean bomb" that was going to involve some nuclear testing.
In 1978 DOE budget hearings, Sen McIntyre ask Gen Bratton abt "several technologies designed to tailor nuclear output such as neutron, X-ray, gamma radiation, and blast & shock effects" suggesting DOE working on many more types of 3rd-gen nukes than "neutron bomb" & RRR bomb
Re "tailored effect," Gen Bratton, DOE Director of Military Applications, only wanted to talk abt enhanced radiation weapon & RRR ("achieving a weapon" w/less radiation contamination of area so friendly units could enter more quickly & limited collateral damage to civilians
1978 NYTimes reported US scientists had started work on RRR bomb aka "blast bomb" to be "detonated at ground level", "tactical mission...to dig huge craters, demolish buildings or bury mtn passes under debris” but "minimize residual radiation"
24/ https://www.nytimes.com/1978/05/01/archives/us-is-studying-lowfallout-bomb.html
WaPo reported "a blast bomb...is planned to explode ON or UNDER the ground, throwing enormous amounts of debris" & quoted govt nuclear weapons expert "This is the original idea of a 'clean bomb'...designed to create a minimum amt of fallout"
25/ https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1978/04/30/us-seeks-to-develop-blast-bomb/d36905a0-4cc0-41d8-a70c-bdb026079dcb/
AP 5/78 Am nuclear scientists "still years away fm producing a “clean” tactical nuclear bomb but...have gone a long way toward mastering the key process wch would result in total combustion of nuclear materials in an explosion", only “prompt radiation” wch disappears quickly
"Highlights of Laboratory achievements during 1979" reported “A three-year LLNL development pgm has culminated in a new kind of tactical nuclear explosive [RRR]" w/fallout & rainout fm surface burst more than order of magnitude less than all-fission explosive of same yld
As significant as that LLNL achievement was in producing the RRR, what is even more amazing is that (apart from this passing mention in NYTimes - in 1985!) #MSM never reported the achievement
Indeed, during the whole debate over Reagan's SDI (or later) when so many reporters were writing abt 3rd-generation nuclear weapons, nobody in MSM mentioned RRR (again w/exception of brief NYTimes ref) or MRR (Minimum Residual Radiation - name adopted by DOE at some point).
As to what actually happened to the RRR tactical nuke, that's still classified. But we get occasional clues like in 2003 Kathleen Bailey & Robert Barker recommended "reduced residual radiation warheads for low collateral damage" for Bush's Advanced Concepts Initiative (ACI)
Physicist Peter Zimmerman, SFRC consultant, replied: "RRR weapons would be similar to the 'neutron' bombs, made in the 1970s, w/very low fission yld. For classified reasons they cannot be readily made today w/o compromise to higher priority programs."
Although RRRs were forgotten, 1980s MSM was filled with stories of a "new generation" of young nuclear scientists - for whom the "neutron bomb" was only a "crude forerunner" - inventing all kinds of 3rd-generation nuclear devices
This optimism wasn't restricted to young scientists. Physicist Ted Taylor who had been at the center of a lot of the developments at Los Alamos in the early 50s, told journalist John McPhee in 1972 "If you want a bomb that spews out nothing but green paint, you can do that.”
Reagan admin officials in 1982 cited examples of contemplated weapons:
1) bombs to create large EMP to knock out enemy communications systems
2) nuke-powered X-ray lasers to destroy enemy missiles
3) DEWs tailored to destroy target w/few side effects
1985 NYTimes most thorough review of 3rd-gen nukes (the one article that mentioned RRRs!) including DEWs; X-ray & gamma-ray lasers; EMP, antimatter & brain bombs; microwave & particle beam weapons. DOE now testing X-ray lasers & other 3rd-gen weapons.
1986 LLNL physicists say dozens, maybe hundreds, varieties of "nuclear-powered directed-energy weapons, or NDEWS" could be developed in wch some type of energy produced in every nuclear explosion (e.g, X-rays) is stepped up & focused on distant target
May 1987 Time article revealed details of work on X-ray lasers (codenamed "Excalibur"), "a kind of nuclear shotgun with little pellets" ("Prometheus"), microwave weapons & NDEWs but says debate NOT whether CAN BE developed but whether SHOULD BE
37/ http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,964414,00.html
Congress started scaling back funding for NDEWs in research in 1989 & rhetoric also cooled, but research and underground nuclear tests on a number of these concepts continuing w/research shielded from Cong oversight b/c within the labs' core program
It is unclear what happened to any of these 3rd-gen nuke projects. Andre Gsponer wrote in 2008 most 3rd-gen weapons "never deployed on a large scale for a number of technical & political reasons" esp b/c required fission trigger so yield too high for battlefield, fallout, etc
All Carey Sublette has to say "in passing" at his detailed "The Nuclear Weapon Archive" website is 3rd-gen nukes (e.g., X-ray laser, neutron bomb) "were never procured in large numbers, and have been largely abandoned as of little military interest."
2008 article reports bomb-driven X-ray laser tested 1985 showed beam less bright than thought & efforts to focus the beam failed so SDI turned to other options although underground tests continued until test program stopped in 1992
But to so easily dismiss 3rd-gen nukes is to miss completely the very significant technological achievements of the “neutron bomb” & especially the reduced residual radiation (RRR) weapon whose achievements were either ignored or distorted by both MSM & nuclear scientists
One might understand MSM not picking up on LLNL report but even William Broad’s Star Warriors (1985) that was focused on LLNL's work on 3rd-gen weapons esp X-ray laser makes NO mention of LLNL’s successful RRR weapon project completed only a few years earlier!
Ted Taylor in his 1987 SciAm article writes residual radiation can “be controlled over very wide ranges” but adds “particulary for thermonuclear weapons with yields greater than a few hundred kilotons” ignoring fact 3rd-gen RRR weapon w/MUCH smaller yield already exists!
Altho we don't have exact details abt RRR weapons, based on what was told Congress & media (i.e., "blast bombs" detonated on or under the ground "to dig huge craters, demolish buildings or bury mtn passes") that they were designed as "clean" Atomic Demolition Munitions (ADM).
The US arsenal had two types of ADMs: Special ADMs (SADMs) and Medium ADMs (MADMs). The smaller SADMs used the Mk-54 warhead package w/variable yields (10 T–1 kT) weighed 59 lbs (Mk-54 only) or 150 lbs (complete) and were 16 in diameter by 24 in long.
MADMs used W-45 warhead w/variable yields (1 kT-15kT) weighed 150 lbs (W-45 only) or 350 lbs (complete), 11.5 in diameter & 27 in long. MADMs (top left) thus had a potential blast yield (15 kT) as powerful as the Little Boy bomb that destroyed Hiroshima (all other photos)!
In 1978 when RRR weapon being developed at LNLL, ADMs were in the news b/c W Germany didn't like that US "Zebra Package" had 141 ADMS ready to go in prepared shafts in Fulda Gap & Kinzigtal to stop the enemy at bottlenecks (bridges, highways, tunnels) if Warsaw Pact invaded
Despite criticisms, US Army said both SADMs & MADMs needed. But some officers complained “ADMs are supposed to be exploded in deep holes to dig the biggest possible crater & to minimize radioactive fallout.” They wanted an anti-personnel radiation weapon (aka "neutron bomb")!
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