Virtual nuclear weapons

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Description

The term virtual nuclear weapons proliferation and arsenals, as opposed to actual weapons and arsenals, has entered in recent years the American lexicon of nuclear strategy, arms control, and nonproliferation. While the term seems to have an intuitive appeal, largely due to its cyberspace imagery, its current use is still vague and loose. The author believes, however, that if the term is clearly delineated, it might offer a promising approach to conceptualizing certain current problems of proliferation. The first use is in a reference to an old problem that has resurfaced recently: the problem of growing availability of weapon-usable nuclear ... continued below

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24 p.

Creation Information

Pilat, J.F. August 1, 1997.

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This report is part of the collection entitled: Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports and was provided by UNT Libraries Government Documents Department to Digital Library, a digital repository hosted by the UNT Libraries. It has been viewed 17 times , with 4 in the last month . More information about this report can be viewed below.

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Description

The term virtual nuclear weapons proliferation and arsenals, as opposed to actual weapons and arsenals, has entered in recent years the American lexicon of nuclear strategy, arms control, and nonproliferation. While the term seems to have an intuitive appeal, largely due to its cyberspace imagery, its current use is still vague and loose. The author believes, however, that if the term is clearly delineated, it might offer a promising approach to conceptualizing certain current problems of proliferation. The first use is in a reference to an old problem that has resurfaced recently: the problem of growing availability of weapon-usable nuclear materials in civilian nuclear programs along with materials made `excess` to defense needs by current arms reduction and dismantlement. It is argued that the availability of these vast materials, either by declared nuclear-weapon states or by technologically advanced nonweapon states, makes it possible for those states to rapidly assemble and deploy nuclear weapons. The second use has quite a different set of connotations. It is derived conceptually from the imagery of computer-generated reality. In this use, one thinks of virtual proliferation and arsenals not in terms of the physical hardware required to make the bomb but rather in terms of the knowledge/experience required to design, assemble, and deploy the arsenal. Virtual weapons are a physics reality and cannot be ignored in a world where knowledge, experience, materials, and other requirements to make nuclear weapons are widespread, and where dramatic army reductions and, in some cases, disarmament are realities. These concepts are useful in defining a continuum of virtual capabilities, ranging from those at the low end that derive from general technology diffusion and the existence of nuclear energy programs to those at the high end that involve conscious decisions to develop or maintain militarily significant nuclear-weapon capabilities.

Physical Description

24 p.

Notes

OSTI as DE97008583

Source

  • Other Information: PBD: 1997

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  • Other: DE97008583
  • Report No.: LA-UR--97-2380
  • Grant Number: W-7405-ENG-36
  • DOI: 10.2172/615627 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 615627
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc692786

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) is the Department of Energy (DOE) office that collects, preserves, and disseminates DOE-sponsored research and development (R&D) results that are the outcomes of R&D projects or other funded activities at DOE labs and facilities nationwide and grantees at universities and other institutions.

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Creation Date

  • August 1, 1997

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Aug. 14, 2015, 8:43 a.m.

Description Last Updated

  • May 20, 2016, 3:11 p.m.

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Pilat, J.F. Virtual nuclear weapons, report, August 1, 1997; New Mexico. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc692786/: accessed October 17, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.