Thursday, November 24, 2011

Fourth generation nuclear weapons

"The fourth chapter is devoted to fourth generation nuclear weapons. These new fission or fusion explosives could have yields in the range of 1 to 100 ton equivalents of TNT, i.e., in the gap which today separates conventional weapons from nuclear weapons. These relatively low-yield nuclear explosives would not qualify as weapons of \emph{mass} destruction. Seven physical processes which could be used to make such low-yield nuclear weapons, or to make compact non-fission triggers for large scale thermonuclear explosions, are investigated in detail: subcritical fission-burn, magnetic compression, superheavy elements, antimatter, nuclear isomers, metallic hydrogen and superlasers (i.e., ultrapowerful lasers with intensities higher than 1019 W/cm2).

The conclusion stresses that considerable research is underway in all five nuclear-weapon States (as well as in several other major industrialized States such as Germany and Japan) on ICF and on many physical processes that provide the scientific basis necessary to develop fourth generation nuclear weapons. Substantial progress has been made in the past few years on all these processes, and the construction of large ICF microexplosion facilities in both nuclear-weapon and non-nuclear-weapon States is giving the arms race a fresh boost. The world runs the risk that certain countries will equip themselves directly with fourth generation nuclear weapons, bypassing the acquisition of previous generations of nuclear weapons."

Nuclear Weapon Archive

And if you can read with a heavy grain of salt, here is some extreme speculation on what various future nuclear technologies may bring including nuclear shaped charges:

Physics Forum Keep in mind that several posts here fall into the realm of pseudo-science.

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