Posts Tagged ‘nuclear’

Kazan, Russia’s most dangerous nuclear attack submarine – an annotated infographic

April 19, 2017

Russia has floated its newest nuclear-powered multi-purpose attack submarine. The launch of Kazan, considered a counterpart to U.S. Seawolf and Virginia-class, comes as Moscow claims its submarine fleet has increased combat patrols to levels last seen during the Cold War.

The Kazan is the first upgraded Project 885M Yasen-class attack submarine.

Equipped with eight vertical missile launchers, it can deliver Kalibr or Oniks anti-ship and land-attack cruise missiles – significant after Russian ships and submarines fired long-range missiles from the Caspian and the Black Sea into Syria in 2016.

For the first time in Russian shipbuilding, the torpedo tubes are located not in the bow but just forward of the sail or fin, making room for a large Irtysh-Amfora spherical sonar system in the bow.

The Yasen subs also have six 650mm and two 533mm torpedo tubes that can also deploy mines and launch underwater drones.

Russia plans to build a total of seven Project 885M submarines. Goody, goody gumdrops.


Kablammo!! #Trump will have his finger on the #nuclear button – an annotated infographic

December 13, 2016

All of this would be funny if it weren’t actually true…

When Donald Trump becomes the next US President (yes, this is really happening, it’s not all a surrealist nightmare), he will immediately have access to, and sole launch authority for, all of America’s nuclear weapons.

Trump will be accompanied at all times by a military aide carrying what is known as the nuclear ‘football’, the US loving nothing more than an inappropriately trivial sporting reference to refer to a catastrophically devastating act of destruction. This is, after all, the same country that based its judicial system for incarceration on a baseball analogy: three strikes and you’re out (actually meaning in, jail, for life). What next? Referring to the death penalty by lethal injection as ‘a hole in one’?

Anyway, this nuclear ‘football’ contains all the necessary documents and codes for vaporising enemies of the States.

We now can’t help thinking of Kenny Everett’s General Cheeseburger character and catchphrase, all of which now seems eerily prescient and ominously prophetic.

Click on the graphic for an expanded view.


North Korea succeeds in firing ballistic missile vertically from submarine – an annotated infographic

May 5, 2016

Analysts say North Korea’s latest test launch of a KN-11 missile shows Pyongyang has succeeded in developing “cold launch” technology, which means it can fire a ballistic missile vertically from a submarine.

The sub-launched KN-11 ballistic missile is powered by the newly developed high-power solid fuel engine.

Click on the graphic for an expanded view.



NATO shows off new steerable nuclear bomb – Russia not happy about it – an annotated infographic

October 9, 2015

The United States plans to deploy 180 precision-guided thermonuclear bombs to five European countries between 2020-24. The B61-12 has a “dial-a-yield” feature and is able to strike within 30 metres of its target.

Russia has threatened to take countermeasures over reports that the U.S. is to upgrade nuclear weapons in Europe.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said plans for the U.S. to station up to 180 modified B61–12 guided nuclear bombs in five NATO countries “would lead to a violation of the strategic balance in Europe.”

Under a $10.4 billion “Life Extension Programme” (LEP) the new munitions will be converted from existing B61 free-fall bombs into precision-guided “smart” bombs. Under the LEP the bombs will receive a state of the art guided tail kit assembly and new spin rocket motor, which, through a system of satellite and laser guidance, can glide the bomb to within 30 metres of its target.

In addition, a “dial-a-yield” will enable the detonation to be varied between 300 tons and 50 kilotons of TNT — four times the explosive power of the Hiroshima atomic bomb.

Hans M. Kristensen of the  Washington-based Federation of American Scientists described the B61–12 as an “all-in-one nuclear bomb on steroids.” In September, Kristensen described NATO’s practice of “nuclear sharing” to German television programme Frontal 21: “In case of war, the nuclear weapons stationed in Germany would be used at the orders of the U.S. president. The U.S. forces would then hand over the nuclear weapons to German pilots and these German pilots would then attack the target with nuclear weapons.”

The stationing is “a hidden American weapons build-up,” he said. The new bombs allow “themselves to be steered to the target.” This is “a new weapon” because the U.S. previously had “no steerable nuclear bombs.”

The first development test flight of an inert B61-12 bomb took place at Tonopah Test Range in Nevada in July.

There are an estimated 480 U.S. tactical nuclear weapons in Europe, deployed at bases in Belgium (20), Germany (150), Italy (90), the Netherlands (20), Turkey (90) and the United Kingdom (110).

The U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) is trying to placate its critics, saying that with the help of the B61–12, America’s total stockpile of airborne nuclear bombs could be reduced by around half its current amount.

Click on the graphic for an expanded view.



Atomic bomb test site leaking radiation – an annotated infographic

August 3, 2015

Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time. Exploding A-bombs in the Bikini Tests on remote Pacific islands, marvelling at the mushroom clouds produced, then two decades later realising that it would probably be wise to gather all the nuclear detritus from these sunshine shenanigans and concrete over it all, before sidling away, whistling nonchalantly.

So it went in the 1950s and then the 1970s.

Now, the giant concrete dome – the Cactus Dome – put in place and filled with nuclear waste is leaking radiation. Built in the late 1970s on one of those remote Pacific islands which the US military gleefully contaminated in the 1950s, it is succumbing to weathering and the effects of the sea. One might say, unsurprisingly.

Scientists are now more than mildly concerned that a typhoon or storm surge could crack the dome wide open, unleashing the decaying atomic delights therein. Super.

Click on the graphic for an expanded view.

Leaking nuclear bomb blast site

Leaking nuclear bomb blast site

North Korea testing ballistic missiles capable of reaching the USA – an annotated infographic

May 6, 2014

North Korea has conducted an engine test of an intercontinental ballistic missile and is believed to plan a test flight of the whole system, according to a US think tank.

The KN-08 missile, which is believed to have a range of more than 10,000km – enough to deliver a nuclear warhead to the USA – has been tested throughout March and April, the think tank 38 North has revealed in a report.

Commercial satellite imagery indicates movement and removal of missile stages and fuel tanks as well as changes in the flame trench that point to North Korea having conducted one or more tests in the two-week period from March 22, the report said

“As this effort progresses, the next technically logical step in the missile’s development would be a flight test of the entire system,” 38 North said in its report.

The full news story can be read on the E&T web site.

Click on the graphic for an expanded view.

North Korean missile plans: boom

North Korean missile plans: boom!

China to deploy nuclear missiles on submarines – an annotated infographic

April 23, 2014

One can always rely on the Chinese for coming up with new and alarming ways to further elevate the global nuclear threat.

Their latest wheeze is to deploy nuclear missiles on its submarines. Reportedly close to deploying a credible sea-based nuclear deterrent, patrols are expected to start in the Pacific this year using Jin-class submarines armed with long-range JL-2 missiles. In the sage words of Homer J. Simpson, ka-blammo!

Quite who they’re hopig to deter in this way is not entirely clear. Killer whales? Armies of enraged mutant Krakens? Japanese fishermen?

Click on the graphic for an expanded view.

China's nuclear subs

China’s nuclear subs

Metal 3D printing and the future of nuclear fusion

October 24, 2013

Will the next tokamak be 3D printed?  How can metal 3D printing help change the future of nuclear fusion? Watch our latest interview, this time with Chris Waldon from the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy. The Culham folks are taking part in the Amaze project, coordinated by the European Space Agency, trying to set standards for metal 3D printing parts for high-tech, high-stress applications.