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OfflineBaby_Hitler
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Destroy nukes with neutrino ray.
    #1777496 - 08/04/03 07:21 AM (14 years, 4 months ago)

http://www.physicsweb.org/article/news/7/5/7

Physicists at the KEK laboratory in Japan and the University of Hawaii have proposed a "futuristic but not necessarily impossible technology" that would use an ultra-high energy neutrino beam to destroy nuclear weapons. However, the researchers stress that the method is well beyond the capabilities of current particle accelerators and would require substantial R&D and financial investment by many nations (H Sugawara et al. 2003 arxiv.org/abs/hep-ph/0305062).

Neutrinos are one of the fundamental particles of matter and come in three 'flavours' - electron, muon and tau neutrino. They are electrically neutral and only interact weakly with matter, which means that they can pass through thousands of kilometres of matter without being absorbed.

In 1999 the first so-called long-baseline neutrino oscillation experiment, K2K, involved sending a neutrino beam from KEK to the Superkamiokande detector 250 km away. There are plans underway to send a neutrino beam from Fermilab to the Soudan lab in Minnesota, 710 km away and from CERN to Gran Sasso in Italy, 730 km away. The new method for destroying nuclear weapons proposed by Hirotaka Sugawara, Hiroyuki Hagura and Toshiya Sanami is a "vast extrapolation" of such experiments.

<< Previous News for May 2003 Next >>

Could neutrinos destroy nuclear weapons?
13 May 2003

Physicists at the KEK laboratory in Japan and the University of Hawaii have proposed a "futuristic but not necessarily impossible technology" that would use an ultra-high energy neutrino beam to destroy nuclear weapons. However, the researchers stress that the method is well beyond the capabilities of current particle accelerators and would require substantial R&D and financial investment by many nations (H Sugawara et al. 2003 arxiv.org/abs/hep-ph/0305062).

Neutrinos are one of the fundamental particles of matter and come in three 'flavours' - electron, muon and tau neutrino. They are electrically neutral and only interact weakly with matter, which means that they can pass through thousands of kilometres of matter without being absorbed.

In 1999 the first so-called long-baseline neutrino oscillation experiment, K2K, involved sending a neutrino beam from KEK to the Superkamiokande detector 250 km away. There are plans underway to send a neutrino beam from Fermilab to the Soudan lab in Minnesota, 710 km away and from CERN to Gran Sasso in Italy, 730 km away. The new method for destroying nuclear weapons proposed by Hirotaka Sugawara, Hiroyuki Hagura and Toshiya Sanami is a "vast extrapolation" of such experiments.



neutrino beam


The researchers suggest sending a neutrino beam with an energy of 1000 TeV through the Earth to wherever the nuclear weapon was located (see figure). The beam would produce neutrons in a 'hadron shower' and would cause fission reactions in the plutonium or uranium in the bomb. These reactions would either melt or vaporize the bomb.

Such a high energy neutrino beam would be difficult to produce, the physicists admit. The storage ring would have to be 1000 km across - hundreds of times larger than the biggest present day accelerators. The magnets in the specially built muon storage ring would need to be one to two orders of magnitude stronger than those currently available to construct a realistically sized machine. Moreover, the cost of building such a device could be over $100 billion and it would consume 50 GW of energy - the entire power consumption of the United Kingdom.

Finally there is the risk, the authors point out, that the interaction of the neutrino beam with the bomb "could lead to a full explosion" instead of eliminating it.







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Invisiblezeta
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Re: Destroy nukes with neutrino ray. [Re: Baby_Hitler]
    #1780045 - 08/05/03 01:20 AM (14 years, 4 months ago)

Yeah guys, let's think of the most technically inpossible, expensive and potentially flawed way we can possibly think of to destroy nukes.


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OfflineBaby_Hitler
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Re: Destroy nukes with neutrino ray. [Re: zeta]
    #1780252 - 08/05/03 02:34 AM (14 years, 4 months ago)

Not OUR nukes silly pants!


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Invisiblezeta
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Re: Destroy nukes with neutrino ray. [Re: Baby_Hitler]
    #1780760 - 08/05/03 08:28 AM (14 years, 4 months ago)

I understand that


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Offlinewingnutx
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Re: Destroy nukes with neutrino ray. [Re: zeta]
    #1782197 - 08/05/03 05:09 PM (14 years, 4 months ago)

Quote:

most technically inpossible, expensive and potentially flawed way we can possibly think of




Everything starts out that way.


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OfflineSeussA
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Re: Destroy nukes with neutrino ray. [Re: wingnutx]
    #1782565 - 08/05/03 06:50 PM (14 years, 4 months ago)

> Everything starts out that way.

Using neutrinos to effect nuclear weapons is like using a squirt gun to try and put out a forest fire.  Sure... if I buy a zillion squirt guns I can put out a forest fire... but why bother?  Oh, and just for kicks, some of the squirt guns are filled with petrol instead of water.  (Neutrino interactions produce neutrons which cause fision...)

Neutrinos are very small (possible point charge when I took physics many years ago), have almost no mass, and can pass through aprox 100 light years of solid iron before interacting with an atom.  They were found in theory well before they were found in nature... because they do not interract with matter (very much).

> which means that they can pass through thousands of kilometres of matter without being absorbed

Light travels around 300,000 km/s
There are close to 86,400 s/day
There are usually 365 days/year
For 100 years

the above statement should read, they can pass through 946,080,000,000,000 kilometers of matter without being absorbed.  For comparison, the distance from the sun to the earth is aprox 150,000,000 kilometers.

With this in mind, you gotta produce a hell of a lot of neutrinos before one does anything that you can detect.

> The researchers suggest sending a neutrino beam with an energy of 1000 TeV

These kind of energies are produced by supernova, etc... Even if we can produce this much energy in an accelerator, how long can we run it for?

> it would consume 50 GW of energy - the entire power consumption of the United Kingdom.

This is my point.  Lets see... 50 GW is 50,000,000,000 watts.  Thats a lot of light bulbs.  :grin:

> interaction of the neutrino beam with the bomb "could lead to a full explosion" instead of eliminating it.

I would think an explosion does a pretty good job at elimination.


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Offlineouterwave
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Re: Destroy nukes with neutrino ray. [Re: Seuss]
    #5360569 - 03/03/06 05:15 AM (11 years, 9 months ago)

the thing about neutrinos being able to traval immense distances is acurate, but i recall those figures being based on a per-particle-average. some will collide sooner, some later. and that average is derived from the amount of neutrinos present at any given moment from earths frame of reference from the sun (closest things generating a substantial quantity of neutrinos. a focused _beam_ would have a much greater rate of incidence.

the ability of neutrinos to glide past most matter is exactally what makes this application worthwhile. a focused beam would be able to pass through the diameter of the earth or any other obstacle easily. any collisions in the earth would be inconsiquential.

by the same tolken, for all the particles heaved at the target of choice, only an infintesimal number would collide with the nuclear fuel, plutonium, whatever.

i remember the experiment that proved neutrinos were a physical reality. i believe it was in colorado, a university setup shop in an abandoned salt mine miles underground (to block out all other kinds of traveling particles), with these large vats of the most molecularly pure h2o possible. this was left to 'incubate' for months. whenever a neutrino would finally collide with a water molocule, it would split, releasing a tiny tiny tiny bubble consisting of exactally two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. hi res cameras filmed the tubs and recorded the seemingly spontaneous generation of bubbles.

i think best case scenario would be just enough bubbles to be observable to the naked eye. if this were nuclear fuel instead of water, it would fissle and not blowup, having not been momentarily compacted into critical mass by the surrounding shell of tnt detonating at just the right time. uranium/plutonium by themselves, why certainly radioactive and unheathly to hang around, cannot reach critical mass without that corresponding explosion/compaction. i think it would just fissle, release an unpleasant amount of ambient radiation, then when the weapon was detonated it would end up a dud, or a least a convention tnt explosion only.

now, coming up with that amount of juice to power the damn thing is another story. zero point energy could generate that much in an appropriate lab, but you also might recreate the 'big bang' in rural minnisota, which is not conducive to life existing there after in our neck of the milkyway.

but when you think about it, edison's original dynamos (electricity generators) were the size of a bus, weighed 27 tons and delivered 100 kilowatts/h? he had a few of those in a building. now a power plant of similar size does 3000000 kw/h.

so...


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OfflineSeussA
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Re: Destroy nukes with neutrino ray. [Re: outerwave]
    #5360609 - 03/03/06 05:45 AM (11 years, 9 months ago)

> it would fissle and not blowup, having not been momentarily compacted into critical mass by the surrounding shell of tnt detonating at just the right time.

Critical mass is a function of how many neutrons are required to sustain fission. Typically this is fixed by the rate at which the substance releases neutrons and how many neutrons it releases per interaction within a given volume. If the number of free neutrons available within the fissle material suddenly increased, the critical mass of the fissle material would decrease. If the increase is slow, no big deal... if the increase is fast, big boom. When the explosives compress the fissle material inside a nuke, the density of the fissle material goes up. This means that there are more free neutrons available per area. It all boils down to free neutrons per volume, regardless of how you get there.


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Offlineouterwave
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Re: Destroy nukes with neutrino ray. [Re: Baby_Hitler]
    #5360621 - 03/03/06 06:07 AM (11 years, 9 months ago)

oh i defintely am with you on that. having seen some of the timelasped photos/film from the experiment, i think the number of available neutrons would be small in that scale of things even with a concentrated beam...

but i guess thats the idea, figuring how much is enough to get a reaction without the 'oops'. i do think it is the logical progression of active laser defense systems, aiming a beam to a certain building a planet width away is not a big obstacle when nothing, and really nothing, can effect your line-of-sight. precision denial is the way to go.


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outerwave


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Offlinekoppie
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Re: Destroy nukes with neutrino ray. [Re: outerwave]
    #5360740 - 03/03/06 07:54 AM (11 years, 9 months ago)

What I'm wondering is, if a thermonuclear furnace the size of the sun can't produce enough neutrinos to spontaneously cause nukes to explode (and just remember, while you're reading this you, me and all the nukes in the world are bombarded with a steady stream of solar neutrinos), how do they propose that we puny humans can produce enough neutrinos in a lab to accomplish the task, and in a tightly focused beam as well.

This reminds me of the dire predictions when the first A-bombs and later the first supercolliders were built. Some people actually believed that either could cause a chain reaction that would destroy the entire earth or (in a more recent version) that these high energies would produce tiny black holes that would swallow us all up. Both these predictions ignored the fact that particles from cosmic radiation that are many times more energetic than anything that we could hope to achieve have struck our planet on a regular basis for the last 4.5 billion years.

Both sound to me like classic cases of technological hubris.


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