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US's Most Powerful Nuclear Bomb Being Dismantled

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the swords-to-nuclear-plowshares dept.

The Military 299

SpuriousLogic sends this excerpt from an AP report: "The last of the nation's most powerful nuclear bombs — a weapon hundreds of times stronger than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima — is being disassembled nearly half a century after it was put into service at the height of the Cold War. The final components of the B53 bomb will be broken down Tuesday at the Pantex Plant near Amarillo, the nation's only nuclear weapons assembly and disassembly facility. ... The weapon is considered dismantled when the roughly 300 pounds of high explosives inside are separated from the special nuclear material, known as the pit. The uranium pits from bombs dismantled at Pantex will be stored on an interim basis at the plant, Cunningham said. The material and components are then processed, which includes sanitizing, recycling and disposal, the National Nuclear Security Administration said last fall when it announced the Texas plant's role in the B53 dismantling."

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299 comments

Oops (5, Funny)

Tenek (738297) | more than 2 years ago | (#37833898)

The final components will be accidentally dropped Tuesday at the Amarillo Crater...

Re:Oops (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#37833994)

The final components will be accidentally dropped Tuesday at the Amarillo Crater...

I read an article about the disassembly plant a few years ago; AFAIR they're dismantled inside sealed bunkers underground, so if the HE goes off everyone dies, the bunker collapses and the radioactive materials are safely buried until they can dig them up.

Of course if it did trigger a nuclear explosion that wouldn't help much :).

Re:Oops (5, Informative)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 2 years ago | (#37834290)

It's pretty unlikely to trigger a nuclear explosion considering the requirements to reach criticality in a bomb. In most cases, you'll have explosives go off by accident on such a bomb, they don't do enough compression to cause criticality and end up being essentially a dirty bomb scattering highly enriched uranium or plutonium around.

Which is what bunker is designed to protect against.

What a dumb idea (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37833930)

Can't we just drop it on the Middle East instead?

Re:What a dumb idea (-1, Troll)

SlippyToad (240532) | more than 2 years ago | (#37834010)

Your thirst for blood is powerful, young Teabagger.

I suggest you try eating your own.

Re:What a dumb idea (-1, Troll)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#37834096)

Your thirst for blood is powerful, young Teabagger.

Sounds more like Hilary Clinton to me.

Re:What a dumb idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37834156)

Can't we just drop it on the Middle East instead?

Your thirst for blood is powerful, young Teabagger.

Sounds more like Hilary Clinton to me.

Whoa, WHOA there cowboy!

What Hillary does in her private time is no concern of ours. Let's keep it classy here.

Re:What a dumb idea (0)

UziBeatle (695886) | more than 2 years ago | (#37834680)

Waste of a good bomb.

  Better bang for the buck and investment would be:
Drop it on Los Angeles or San Francisco.

  Middle East is mostly sand.

 

9 Megatons (5, Informative)

csshelton (949006) | more than 2 years ago | (#37833932)

Since it wasn't included in the synopsis...

Re:9 Megatons (2)

pnot (96038) | more than 2 years ago | (#37833976)

Thank you, you beat me to it. I know that Hiroshimas are the standard unit of explosive force, but it's nice to state TNT equivalent just in case there happen to be any nerds reading this site.

Re:9 Megatons (3, Funny)

MachDelta (704883) | more than 2 years ago | (#37834226)

Wait, I thought our standard unit of measurement around here was the LOC?
So, just how much damage does a LOC, when dropped from a great height, do to an urban area? Anyone know? This is Slashdot... someone knows.

Re:9 Megatons (3, Insightful)

egamma (572162) | more than 2 years ago | (#37834468)

Wait, I thought our standard unit of measurement around here was the LOC? So, just how much damage does a LOC, when dropped from a great height, do to an urban area? Anyone know? This is Slashdot... someone knows.

p. Depends on how high the swallows were when they dropped it. And if they were African or European swallows. Also, are you including the bricks and stone, or just the books?

Re:9 Megatons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37834528)

Google doesn't know, so no one knows.

You must not shoot in that room! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37833940)

Setting the stage for Metal Gear Solid!

9 megatons (2)

WebManWalking (1225366) | more than 2 years ago | (#37833944)

What I wanted to know most wasn't in the summary. The Fine Article tells me that the B53 is 9 megatons.

Re:9 megatons (1)

anom (809433) | more than 2 years ago | (#37834036)

Any projections of the casualties in megadeaths based on potential drop locations? You know, for the binder.

Re:9 megatons (2)

neoform (551705) | more than 2 years ago | (#37834204)

According to wikipedia, this bomb causes a fireball 5km wide with a lethal heat-blast of 29km wide...

The number of people killed depends entirely on where you drop it...

Re:9 megatons (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 2 years ago | (#37834348)

The biggest portion causing fatalities would probably be heat emission and kinetic shockwave following it. Rather hard to say which one would demand more casualties, as it will depend on where it is dropped. Steel frame buildings will most likely protect from the heat of the blast outside epicenter at the very least though.

And of course, at epicenter you're going to be fucked even if you're in a bunker. That caliber of a bomb is the type that can change the maps.

Re:9 megatons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37834414)

wikipedia also suggests the intended target for this type was a bunker located near moscow with the sovjet leadership.

Re:9 megatons (3, Interesting)

Lev13than (581686) | more than 2 years ago | (#37834316)

Interesting that it pales in comparison to the largest nuclear bomb ever detonated, the 50 megaton Tsar Bomba [wikipedia.org]. However, the Soviets only made one of those while the Americans has 50 B53s, so what they lacked in tonnage they made up for in volume.

Good (3, Interesting)

afidel (530433) | more than 2 years ago | (#37833950)

This is a good thing, the B53 was a last ditch weapon intended to take out the hardened bunkers of the Soviet leadership, except it was air burst which is a highly, highly ineffective was to take out a bunker. The replacement is a much smaller, much less dirty penetrator weapon, the B61 Mod 11.

Re:Good (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37833984)

Yes. Muslims require much smaller and more numerous bombs to eradicate.

Re:Good (-1, Offtopic)

SlippyToad (240532) | more than 2 years ago | (#37834060)

Yes. Muslims require much smaller and more numerous bombs to eradicate.

I wish you'd post under at least a real account, my murderous young fiend.

At least then we could shower your karma with the downmods it so richly deserves.

But at any rate you are probably nothing more than a garden-variety Teabagger. Maybe you are visiting this site from Stormfront. Or maybe from the depths of a prison cell.

One can only hope.

Re:Good (0)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37834758)

Possibly Chrisq, [slashdot.org] he's posted that kind of stuff in the open before.

If he's European I hope their FBI-equivalent is keeping tabs on him...if you're subscribed to Wired's RSS you'd know that the actual FBI is more likely to hire him to provide training.

Re:Good (3, Insightful)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 2 years ago | (#37833988)

While the logical part of me is glad this is gone, the engineering part of my brain is sad. :)

Re:Good (2)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#37834032)

While the logical part of me is glad this is gone, the engineering part of my brain is sad. :)

They should have detonated them and charged for tickets; there's lots of space for grandstands at the Nevada Test Site.

Re:Good (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37834146)

>> They should have detonated them and charged for tickets; there's lots of space for grandstands at the Nevada Test Site.

They'll sell more tickets if they keep the show in Texas.

Re:Good (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#37834224)

Should detonate it on Mars, to uncover some fresh soil.you know, for science...you monster.

Ar the moon, because it would be coll to watch if the did it while the moon was in the Earth's shadow.

Re:Good (2)

pspahn (1175617) | more than 2 years ago | (#37834334)

I prefer the tides, thank you.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37834732)

We need to remove the moon to debunk O'Reily.

I want future generations to ask what tides are.

Re:Good (2)

internerdj (1319281) | more than 2 years ago | (#37834554)

And so it should be, there was an article the year before last I think talking about how that a key component to some of our submarine launched nuclear weaponry was lost to us because it was so secret no one wrote it down. We need to be careful that we don't lose the engineering knowledge of these systems in case we have a critical, but more civil use for the devices.

Re:Good (1)

xMrFishx (1956084) | more than 2 years ago | (#37834078)

A bunker buster, providing your bunker is within a few hundred miles or so. It was a city leveller. This is the bomb you drop to lose, not win. Noone should have that much destructive power at the touch of a button. The idea of it being used is beyond scary.

Re:Good (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#37834268)

Which is why we didn't have it at a touch of a button.

And there are perfectly valid scenarios for this weapon. Reduce navel forces, remove coastal facilities, and so on.

Of course you would never use it anyplace you wanted to use again for 100 years.

We don't seem to be living in the large countries at war world anymore. And that always causes me to be a little giddy.

Re:Good (1)

xMrFishx (1956084) | more than 2 years ago | (#37834536)

I wasn't quite being as literal with the touch of a button statement, just the idea that it can be used is terrifying enough. You could probably drop it in the sea and create a tidal wave so big it would cover a medium sized country. It wouldn't just reduce navies near by, it would eradicate anything near the entire ocean.

I for one am glad I have only existed (for all intents and purposes) post cold war, which does make me a young-ling compared to some of you lot, but everyone should know about what could have happened. I always believe history is there to be told, known and learned from. I certainly appreciate not living in a radioactive mud pit. In fact I certainly appreciate existing.

Re:Good (2)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 2 years ago | (#37834408)

You're correct, these are the part of strategic rather then tactical arsenal, and are a part of MAD deterrent far more then a bunker buster (though they could probably remove Ural mountains when needed). But these are old, and as ballistic missile deterrent came a bit later, it was upgraded to have MIRV payload where smaller bombs were scattered from a single warhead over larger kill zone.

They are far more efficient when it comes to MAD scenario then a single huge bomb.

Re:Good (2)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#37834466)

A bunker buster, providing your bunker is within a few hundred miles or so.

Nonsense. I find it astounding how people can find ways to exaggerate the firepower of a nuclear bomb. For example, an airburst 9 megaton warhead centered on Manhattan Island in New York City would kill most people in NYC. According to Wikipedia, it'd cause lethal burns to any exposed people within 18 miles (incidentally including all of the city) of ground zero. But if you're in a bunker a hundred miles away? You won't even notice, aside possibly from some noise.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37834538)

A few hundred miles? No. It'd probably have to hit within tens of meters to destroy what it was designed to destroy. It's designers built it for a reason, and the reason wasn't to indiscriminately level cities, although cities near the target would inevitably be destroyed.

Spending (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37834324)

I suppose it's just a happy coincidence that the project raked billions of dollars through the hands of the elite who made it happen.

It was also laydown (1)

Quila (201335) | more than 2 years ago | (#37834412)

It would land with parachutes, wait for the dropping plane to clear the area, and explode. This would send a shock wave through the ground to the bunker.

Even the new B61 has an airburst option, and dial-a-yield too (actually, even some older warheads had dial-a-yield, such as the Lance).

Rather unfair (5, Funny)

Lucas123 (935744) | more than 2 years ago | (#37833986)

They should have at least tried to sell it on eBay first to recoup some of those tax dolars -- pick up only, of course.

Re:Rather unfair (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37834618)

Because everyone can pickup a 5t, mini-van sized bomb :)

Re:Rather unfair (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37834720)

pick up only, of course.

I don't know. There are some countries that the US might not mind dropping it over for no charge at all.

Most Powerful? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37834024)

"The Mk/B- 53 was the oldest and highest yield thermonuclear weapon in the U.S. arsenal until 2010. It was one of the most powerful nuclear weapons ever built by the United States with a yield of 9 megatons of TNT (38 PJ)." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B53_nuclear_bomb

2010? And was? Is this implying there is a more powerful nuclear weapon or is this speaking in the tense that they have been disabled and no longer exist?

Re:Most Powerful? (2)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#37834062)

Is this implying there is a more powerful nuclear weapon or is this speaking in the tense that they have been disabled and no longer exist?

Western nukes have been shrinking for years; there just isn't much use for a really big nuke other than destroying cities. A small one with precision guidance is much more useful if you actually intend to fight a nuclear war.

Re:Most Powerful? (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 2 years ago | (#37834484)

All nukes have. Ever since ballistic missiles have formed the backbone of MAD for both sides, it was judged that having MIRV warhead with a large amount of smaller yield bombs was far more destructive then a single huge bomb that can do more damage at its single hit site, but the total kill area is far smaller.

This is the same for USA, USSR/Russia, China, GB and France. Can't really speak for India and Pakistan as I haven't looked at their arsenals much, but logic would suggest that they would want small tactical weapons over big strategic ones in general, as they are simply too close to each other to employ multi-megaton level weapons without getting badly hit by the fallout from their own weapons.

Israel is a big question mark.

Re:Most Powerful? (4, Informative)

MachineShedFred (621896) | more than 2 years ago | (#37834514)

More to the point, having a big ass nuke like this thing requires a big ass rocket to lift it. There are no countermeasures to prevent someone from shooting your one big ass nuke into bits before it can deliver it's yield; and it costs more to build and maintain than more modern designs.

Oh, and putting 3 to 10 smaller nukes on top of a smaller rocket with better guidance packages and available space for dummy warheads delivers way more destruction for way less money. Capitalism at it's finest!

See:
inverse cube law, as it applies to expanding spheres
Titan-II ICBM
Minuteman-III ICBM
Trident D3 SLBM
Peacekeeper/MX ICBM (though these have since been retired as well)

Re:Most Powerful? (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 2 years ago | (#37834654)

Oh yes, at least one bomb more powerful than that existed: the Tsar Bomba. Designed for 100 Mtons, detonated at 50 Mtons, and then cancelled.

It was the cleanest nuclear explosion ever, since over 90% of its power was generated by nuclear fusion.

Fun (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37834046)

I can image someone there blowing up a brown bag and popping it behind one of the workers who's dismantling this.

Weakened nation (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37834066)

How does this help our nation? Oops I said the N-word, my apologies to the offended parties.

Re:Weakened nation (2)

kevinNCSU (1531307) | more than 2 years ago | (#37834300)

How does this help our nation? Oops I said the N-word, my apologies to the offended parties.

By recycling it into something useful (weapons into plowshares and all that) instead of it sitting around costing money through expensive guarding, monitoring and maintenance not to mention Russia under the treaty dismantling nuclear warheads that were meant for killing us. Oh, and 0% chance of it accidentally going off once it's dismantled versus the extremely small percentage chance beforehand.

How this is in the USA's Interests (1)

realxmp (518717) | more than 2 years ago | (#37834438)

How does this help our nation?

I know you're trolling but ask a semi-legitimate question. A better question is what value is there in keeping it around? And the answer is none, it's been replaced and we can't afford to keep it around. Fortunately neither can the Russians, thus the New START treaty enables both sides to get rid of their warheads, whilst inspecting that the other side got rid of theirs. This means it's in America's national interest for the warheads that are active to be the most useful ones, and that's not necessarily the ones with the biggest boom.

Also a dismantled rusting nuke is better than a rusting nuke. These things are getting old and it either needed upgrading or replacing. Interestingly it's already been replaced by the B61, so why it was still sitting around I'm not entirely sure. Anyway as you probably know old bombs with decaying conventional explosives in them sometimes go off by accident because the conventional explosive gets unstable. Now nuclear bombs have safeguards against that accidental detonation, especially the more modern ones, however you would NOT want to have to clean up the mess one of these made even if it was just detonated with a conventional explosive.

Re:Weakened nation (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 2 years ago | (#37834612)

Same way it helps your "N-word" when you scrap old aircraft carriers in favor of new ones. You don't have to pay upkeep costs for weapon system that is utterly outdated and unlikely to ever get used (as ballistic missile arsenal has long picked up that slack).

Granted it's pretty damn scary when idiots who honestly think that bigger nuclear explosion is better, and it should be "dropped on [x]" as there have been multiple suggestions in this discussion, which rather efficiently dispels the question marks over why most of the world views US as a bigger threat to world peace then Iran. You may wish to moderate yourself at least a little bit, so you don't end up looking too much like the people you hate so much. Two sides of the same coin and all.

Re:Weakened nation (1)

MachineShedFred (621896) | more than 2 years ago | (#37834622)

This helps our nation because this weapon was doing nothing but spending money for the last 50 years. It will never be used - you can do much more destruction with a modern Minuteman-III than you could ever do with this thing; and cheaper too.

There's a reason why our nuclear weapons propellerheads started going for less yield rather than more in the late '50s. Big explosions are neat, and all that; but you can blow up a lot more shit with MIRV, it's easier to maintain, costs way less to manufacture, and allows for neat stuff like dummy warheads and ABM countermeasures with the weight savings.

Oh, and our missile crews have their performance measured in yards from hitting an oil barrel 9,000 miles away during a launch test, so they can put a 450 Kt bomb through your bedroom window if they really want to. With those kinds of capabilities, why do we need this huge piece of shit from the dick measuring contests of the 1950s?

Does it still work ? (2)

Arlet (29997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37834072)

They should try it first, see if all the mechanisms still work after all these years.

Re:Does it still work ? (1)

realxmp (518717) | more than 2 years ago | (#37834480)

That would be fun, but the trouble is if it fizzled, or only the conventional explosives detonated, the fallout would be a right mare to cleanup.

Re:Does it still work ? (1)

FlyingGuy (989135) | more than 2 years ago | (#37834700)

Hmmm disassemble, remove the core, install dummy core, then re-assemble and drop. That would test everything but the actual nuclear bits.

goodby bombtown (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37834120)

Well i guess i won't see the days of bombtown in fallout. with a large undetonated bomb is just sitting in town square.

Re:goodby bombtown (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37834464)

it was called megaton, bro

Notable part of American history here. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37834128)

I wonder how the history books will address these weapons 50 or a 100 years from now. Will people then truly understand the insanity that led a democracy to create war machines powerful enough to end all life on this planet? I was a child when the Cold War ended but even a decade and a half later it seems so pointless.

Re:Notable part of American history here. (1)

FoolishBluntman (880780) | more than 2 years ago | (#37834246)

A 9 megaton bomb would not end all life on this planet, nor would 100 of such weapons. Not even 1000.
1000 wouldn't even end all human life, which is probably what you meant.

Re:Notable part of American history here. (4, Interesting)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#37834788)

"I was a child when the Cold War ended but even a decade and a half later it seems so pointless."

Moderate nuclear wars were and remain quite practical. That was proven by atmospheric testing. Militaries on both sides developed procedures for continuing the fight near areas which had been nuked, including driving through them buttoned up in APCs and tanks.

Given the context of Total War which was fought in WWII, destroying enemy nations was a very reasonable option to have in the toolbox. Japan and Germany had, LITERALLY, tried to destroy many of the Allies. This wasn't some game of Risk, it was real. In that context, being able to obliterate similar threats was flawlessly RATIONAL.

Had Imperial Japan refused to surrender, it was reasonable to keep striking it until there were no more Japanese. The entire population was a weapon. The current geek weaboo view of Japan has nothing to do with the reality of what Imperial Japanese Army did to much of Asia. Japan worked long and hard to deserve every casualty it sustained, and don't forget it. The Japanese people pretend differently, but their victim neighbors are under no such delusions.

Nuclear weapons finished WWII, and deterred nuclear war thereafter.
That's a pretty good record. Don't use current PC fashion to judge history. Learn the details of why things came to be that you might better understand. Because the Cold War was fought "well enough", you enjoy tasty freedom and so does much of the former Soviet Union. Detente worked (praise be to Nixon!) and China is far freer than under Mao.

Willingness to kill billions coupled with restraint and diplomacy over time worked. Apart from a few minor scuffles the Cold War was quite peaceful. Thank atomic weapons in the hands of RATIONAL, not "insane" actors.

Without the power to kill, diplomacy means nothing because enemy power can dictate terms.

Traitorous (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37834198)

Once again Barack Hussein Obama, the traitorous Muslim he is, is significantly weakening the defenses of this country for the benefit of his al qaeda brethren. Impeach Obama in 2012!

Re:Traitorous (0)

hort_wort (1401963) | more than 2 years ago | (#37834280)

Once again Barack Hussein Obama, the traitorous Muslim he is, is significantly weakening the defenses of this country for the benefit of his al qaeda brethren. Impeach Obama in 2012!

Is Colbert trolling slashdot now? Must be a slow week. :D

Re:Traitorous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37834446)

Hahahahahaha! This one is fit for the loony bin! :-)

Sir, please do not ride the bomb (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37834222)

(obligatory simpsons reference)

Warning to trick-or-treaters issued. (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 2 years ago | (#37834270)

Children in Amarillo are advised not to shout "boo" too loudly, lest they startle the workers just as they are disassembling B53.

Re:Warning to trick-or-treaters issued. (1)

mbone (558574) | more than 2 years ago | (#37834560)

Have you ever seen Pantex ? It is rather... large.

It was designed to handle kilotons of chemical explosives at a time, and those just might go boom, so each building is separated by a very wide gap to the next. Even if trick or treat in Amarillo Texas involves hundreds of pounds of dynamite, I doubt the workers would hear it.

amusing quote (1, Informative)

snarkh (118018) | more than 2 years ago | (#37834276)

From the article:
Today's bombs are smaller but more precise, reducing the amount of collateral damage, Kristensen said.

Amusing, considering that he is talking about bombs tens of thousand times more powerful than the largest non-nuclear munitions.

Re:amusing quote (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#37834398)

True, non the less. And I' not sure that statement refers only to nuclear weapons.

If I did it over again, I would choose weaponeering.
WE have bombs that are self guided, can go through several stories, and only explode 4 nano seconds after they hit the ground. This bomb destroying the inside of a building, while only shaking the windows of building across the street. How fucking cool is that?

We can look at a naval ship yard, cripple it my destroying only a few specific buildings.

 

Re:amusing quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37834578)

Hey, sometimes you want to take out a city's downtown area but leave the rural area unscathed.

Titan II Missles (2)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 2 years ago | (#37834372)

The warhead on a Titan II missle was also 9 megatons, just for reference. Not sure if it was the same design, but 9 megatons wasn't really all that large a weapon. While it may be the largest weapon deployed, the Russians had a test device that would have yielded 100 megatons.

I suspect a far more interesting value for nuclear weapon ratings would be the effective blast radius, both as an airburst and at ground level. 9 megatons might be something that would wipe out an entire large metropolitan area, or it might be something that would just take out a city center. The difference is significant.

In today's climate, it is unlikely any state-level actor would really want to take out an entire metropolitan area. And certainly, anything that would be able to be moved by non-state-level actors would be unlikely to have a yield big enough to do that.

Re:Titan II Missles (1)

mbone (558574) | more than 2 years ago | (#37834812)

While it may be the largest weapon deployed...

You be wanting the B41 [wikipedia.org], at 25 megatons.

I suspect a far more interesting value for nuclear weapon ratings would be the effective blast radius, both as an airburst and at ground level. 9 megatons might be something that would wipe out an entire large metropolitan area, or it might be something that would just take out a city center. The difference is significant.

It is more efficient to use a bunch of "small" bombs than one monster one if you want to take out a city. This is described in detail in The Effects of Nuclear Weapons [fourmilab.ch].

Not the largest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37834386)

Without being specific I can tell you that I helped maintain 15 megaton TN weapons

Drop it on Israel (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37834388)

Should have dropped it on Israel instead.

Asteroid killer ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37834390)

Shouldn't you keep something like that around, just in case a large lump of space rock heads in our direction ?

Re:Asteroid killer ? (1)

JTsyo (1338447) | more than 2 years ago | (#37834722)

nah, any asteroids coming this way, we want to pull into a large orbit and mine.

All the money they used to spend on Nukes (1)

Deliveranc3 (629997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37834402)

Will now go into monitoring communications between people!

When government's don't need to worry about each other they have more time to worry about their citizens!

I love you big brother, can I borrow your car? I'll spy on your GF (Canada) and report back to you I promise!

Not the most powerful (2)

Deuxsonic (828456) | more than 2 years ago | (#37834492)

The B53 was not the most powerful bomb the US had in service. the B41 (https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/B41_nuclear_bomb) had a theoretical maximum yield of 25 megatons, making it more powerful than even the Castle Bravo Shrimp device which had a yield of 15 megatons. The only stronger detonation was the Soviet RDS-220, or "Tsar Bomba", which had a yield of 57 megatons, reduced from 100 by replacing the uranium tamper with a lead one in order to reduce fallout.

US'ses? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37834494)

What would the proper possessive format be?

US' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37834702)

US' is plural possessive

Useless since... (0)

climenole (1445167) | more than 2 years ago | (#37834590)

... this so called "most powerful bomb" is useless like all the other nuclear weapons except for "global suicide" .

Check it out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37834670)

What? No country invaded the US for having weapons of mass destruction?, what?, ahhh, they have to be imaginary in order to get yourself invaded, damn Saddam, if you'd only had one of these you'll still be alive.

techs training on the bomb: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37834746)

http://news.yahoo.com/photos/most-powerful-nuclear-bomb-being-dismantled-1319554769-slideshow/b53-bomb-photo-1319554682.html

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