Re: No ACs Allowed
"The problem isn't achievening critical mass, but that of one retaining supercritical mass.
This is accomplished by-------, with _____________ with a secondary method of ************.
Do you *honestly* desire that blanked information being available for one and all?"
Yep. Absolutely. You see, nuclear weapons aren't a threat. Mostly because the number of people crazy enough to use them are vanishingly small and secondly because we (generally) take care to make sure that getting hold of fissionables (required for all current practical designs) are virtually impossible to get hold of*.
OTOH, if we know what materials are used for the various designs - and remember that even the stuff in the Teller-Ulam design is largely speculative - we can put the entire world's best and brightest towards finding ways to detect nuclear weapons in an inactive state, before they go off.
Let's look at the Teller-Ulam design for a second. It supposedly uses a small implosion device (U235 on the physically large ones, plutonium on more modern miniaturized ones), to turn the polystyrene into a plasma. That plasma is basically supposed to compress a secondary implosion device, but this one has fusion catalysts (Lithium 6, Deuterium, etc) which then make bada-big-boom.
Everyone knows to hide your fissionables, your tampers, and even your fusion materials (assuming you aren't making those in house). How many people know exactly what flavour of polystyrene foam actually produces enough plasma pressure to set the fusion device off?
Could we build a device that tracks the chemical signature of those compounds? What range would they have? How rare are they in industrial use and could we use Big Data techniques to look for odd accumulation of those materials where they shouldn't be? For that matter, what would happen if you threw Google at the problem of determining which other foams could be used to achieve the same results and started looking for ways to find those?
And Teller-Ulam is ancient! $deity knows what modern designs look like, or what innovative ways we could find to detect them, or the components used in their creation.
Any idiot can build a gun-type nuke. (Though why you would, as a terrorist, is beyond me. If you're that fucked up, just build a dirty bomb. It's way easier.) A good physicist could probably fill in the gaps on what's publicly available for a Teller-Ulam design and make a basic fusion bomb. I don't see us getting wiped out left right and center.
Eventually, the secrets for post Teller-Ulam designs will leak, and/or the final pieces required to build a Teller-Ulam weapon without requiring some brainpower will get out to the crazies. You can't keep secrets like that forever.
I, for one, would rather that we had all of humanity working on how to detect the damned things before they go off rather than praying that security through obscurity will save us until we die of old age.
And that's before we start facing reality on pure fusion weapons. Dear gods man, we're about 10 years away from being able to miniaturize superconductors enough that it would be possible to build a beam-target/inertial confinement hybrid device about the size of a semi truck that would make it through any radiation scanner you care to name.
Before you laugh and say neither beam-target or ICF has yet to produce a sustainable reaction, remember that they are trying to create very small reactions and sustain them over time. For bada-big-boom all you need is one large reaction that lasts nanoseconds. And Large reactions have never been the problem. (Give me a hohlraum large enough and I can blow up the world!)
And what about beam-beam fusion, hmm? Build a target with just enough containment to hold a few kilos of fusion-target plasma relatively loosely, build a couple of linear accelerators (or hybrids, if you have the space and the know-how), load them into semis, back them up and point them at the ball of semi-contained plasma...
Look, bada-big-boom is easy. Getting the materials is hard. Building the thing without being noticed is hard. Getting it from construction site to target - and remember, on the ground is nowhere near as useful as 300m in the air...you want that plasma shockwave, it's what does the damage - is not only hard, it's damned near impossible.
The knowledge is out there already, if you are willing to pay enough, or are smart enough. So let's not hide the "how". Let's make the "how" known and focus on detection and prevention. Yes, it's more costly than "security through obscurity". You actually have to give a bent fuck about things like "tracking fissionable". But it's a hell of a lot less likely to end in a horrible news report played out to a terrified world saying some city was wiped out because we thought our secrets were secure when they damned well weren't.
If the NSA can't keep Snowden out of the cookie jar then how the hell is it reasonable to assume that every nuclear country out there has managed to keep it all secret? North Korea got the bomb, so did China, Pakistan, India, Israel, Iran...and in the case of some of those places they've done more than simply re-use someone else's design. They've improved upon it.
So, I ask you, do you still want to keep everything secret? Really? And why do you trust those who guard those secrets - or try to detect the results of those secrets - more than the collective knowledge of all the white hats out there?
I'm legitimately curious as to your rationale, because if I can come up with a few feasible ways to make bada-big-boom - and I don't have an education to speak of - imagine what a proper nerd could do. That's really what it keeps coming back to, for me at least.
*Yes, I know about the US leaving nukes strapped to a plane unobserved on a military base, but you aren't going to waltz out of a military base with a nuke on the back of your truck, and if you tried to pull the core, you'd be dead in a matter of hours.