Scientists forget how to make Trident nuclear weapons

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Scientists forget how to make Trident nuclear weapons

Plans to refurbish Trident nuclear weapons had to be put on hold because scientists forgot how to manufacture a component of the warhead. So much for plans and designs, thats a $69 million mistake.

The US National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) "lost knowledge" of how to make a mysterious but very hazardous material codenamed Fogbank. As a result, the warhead refurbishment programme was put back by at least a year, and racked up an extra $69 million.

The US and the UK are trying to refurbish the ageing W76 warheads that tip Trident missiles in order to prolong their life, and ensure they are safe and reliable. This apparently requires that the Fogbank in the warheads is replaced.

Neither the NNSA nor the UK Ministry of Defence would say anything about the nature or function of Fogbank. But it is thought by some weapons experts to be a foam used between the fission and fusion stages of a thermonuclear bomb.

US officials have said that manufacturing the material requires a solvent cleaning agent which is "extremely flammable" and "explosive". The process also involves dealing with "toxic materials" hazardous to workers.

For the first time, the report described the difficulties faced by the NNSA in trying to make Fogbank. A new production facility was needed at the Y-12 National Security Complex at Oak Ridge, Tennessee, because an old one had been demolished in the 1990s.

But vital information on how Fogbank was actually made had somehow been mislaid.
... Quote:
NNSA had lost knowledge of how to manufacture the material because it had kept few records of the process when the material was made in the 1980s, and almost all staff with expertise on production had retired or left the agency,"
the report said.

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By netchicken: posted on 9-3-2009

Only in America. Only in America, could such idiocy and poor planning occur. Geez......
By mg.mikael: posted on 12-3-2009

Theres Secret, Top Secret, Really Really Top Secret, and Oops We Forgot The Formula Top Secret
By netchicken: posted on 12-3-2009

You act like britian hasn't done this sort of thing before themselves, mikaiel. Most of the documents over in your precious England still are filled in cabinets, rather than stored in a database. I'm not saying that England is low tech or anything, but you do have an awful lot of old documents piled up in the corners.
By peregrine: posted on 7-7-2009

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