Keeping the B-2 Flyable
June 27, 2012 | Edited by Benjamin Loehrke and Leah Fae Cochran
B-2 tailpipes - Tailpipes on the B-2 bomber are showing corrosion and cracks at a faster rate than previously expected. The tailpipes “may be the most challenging aspect of keeping [the aircraft] in the inventory,” said a former official with the bomber program.
--Northrop Grumman has the $76.6 million contract to produce spare tailpipes for the bombers, while the Air Force uses existing spares and works to mitigate the effects of wear and tear on the existing tailpipes. “Together with the spare tailpipe component procurement, these measures should allow the service’s 20 B-2 batwing bombers to remain flyable until their slated retirement in 2058,” said Air Force Global Strike Command spokeswoman Michele Tasista. Elaine Grossman at Global Security Newswire has the story. http://bit.ly/LBq0f8
Port scanners - To prevent terrorists from smuggling a nuclear bomb through ports in the U.S., the Department of Homeland Security has a deadline next month to have the ability to scan 100% of incoming cargo containers for nuclear materials. Reps. Nadler, Markey and Thompson, authors of the bill that set DHS’ deadline, worry that the department is making excuses for not meeting this deadline. In The New York Times. http://nyti.ms/LQr2SN
Quote - ”The reality is that each side is exaggerating its own strengths and the other’s weaknesses. In particular, the global powers are underestimating Iran’s resilience, and Iran is overestimating the ability of the US, in an election year, to curb possible Israeli military adventurism. Some modification of their respective positions is necessary,” Gareth Evans on the dangers of brinkmanship in Iran talks. Read the full-post at Project Syndicate.http://bit.ly/KB5WVS
Hanford delays - Technical problems have delayed the construction of a $12.3 billion plant in Hanford, WA designed to clean up the nation’s most toxic nuclear site.
--”The announcement seemed certain to spark spark new fears about the long-term viability of the project that has already been the subject of numerous lawsuits and remains a top priority of Washington and Oregon despite its ballooning budget and delays,” writes Shannon Dininny. The Associated Press has the story. http://bit.ly/L1tuJS
Tweet - @jfleck: At Hanford, not only is the gazillion dollar nuke waste plant behind schedule. Now the *schedule* is behind schedule.
Magnitsky Act - The Senate Foreign Relations Committee unanimously approved its version of the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Act. This Senate version would allow the U.S. to restrict financial activities and travel of any foreign officials found to be connected to human rights violations. The House version of the same bill targets only Russia.
--This bill is moving as Congress considers a bill to give Russia Permanent Normal Trade Relations status, which would allow U.S. businesses to take advantage of Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organization. http://bit.ly/KMEFoo
SM-3 test - The Missile Defense Agency declared success after a test intercept of a ballistic missile using the new SM-3 Block IB interceptor, part of the European Phased Adaptive Approach on missile defense. MDA said the tests indicate that interceptor components performed as designed. MDA failed to say whether or not the test included the presence of countermeasures. Reuters has the story. http://reut.rs/QjQkdU
Pakistan subs? - Last May, Pakistan announced the possibility that they now possess a sea-based nuclear strike capability. A. Vinod Kumar explores the implications of this for strategic postures in South Asia in The National Interest.http://bit.ly/MA458o
Fallout and Sunshine - In the early 1950s, the U.S. had a program - Project Sunshine - designed to figure out the effects of radioactive fallout from nuclear tests on the world population. Test subjects for Strontium-90 intake, a byproduct of tests, included Wisconsin cheese, New York clams shells, and a “rib from a Harvard man.”
--Hans Bethe, in 1954, argued that the results of Project Sunshine should be made public to “improve international feeling about our Pacific tests.” Alex Wellerstein at Restricted Data goes into the history of fallout effects, H-bomb yields, and why the U.S. kept this data secret (for a while). http://bit.ly/NBxSu3
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