Russia follows US in small nukes plan. 03/10/2003. ABC News Online |
Russia Follows US in Small Nukes Plan - Kyodo News
Russia has announced it will consider the restricted use of small nuclear weapons to deal with regional conflicts and international terrorism in the future.
Russia's Defence Minister, Sergei Ivanov, has submitted a revised doctrine to President Vladimir Putin, outlining the plans for modernising the country's military force.
Observers say the Russian plan to use small nuclear arms mirrors the United States' declared strategy of being prepared to deploy its own low-yield nuclear weapons in a restricted way.
Since the September 11 attacks, the US has been conducting research and development of so-called mini-nukes, aimed at destroying underground facilities of terrorist groups.
A Russian military doctrine announced in 2000 also spelled out Moscow's assumed right to the pre-emptive use of nuclear weapons.
Comment on article: Russia follows US in small nukes plan |
by Steven Starr, October 3, 2003
This is another significant step towards nuclear proliferation and nuclear war, with the US again leading the way.
The Bush administration has attempted to portray the so-called mini-nukes as a quasi-conventional weapon that can be used without the danger of massive radioactive fallout. This is a deliberate lie, because even a 0.1 kT weapon must be detonated several hundred feet below ground to contain the blast. There is simply no way to do this; the warhead will detonate less than 100 feet below the surface of the target and create a very radioactive cloud which will kill anything that it comes in contact with.
Yet the US Congress and media have gone along with the development of these weapons, and have chosen to ignore the reality of what they are creating. The few "objective" stories I have seen about mini-nukes have uniformly failed to mention that the new generation of smaller ("usable") nuclear weapons will be dirty nuclear weapons. The evidence for this criticism is based upon the results of US nuclear tests conducted in Nevada -- it is not theoretical. These tests were in fact done to precisely calculate the depths needed to contain nuclear explosions. Mini-nukes will create surface blasts which contaminate large areas with deadly radioactive fallout.
Not only does this violate the letter and spirit of the NPT, but it also brings us closer to a time when the distinction between nuclear and conventional forces will be distinctly blurred. The apparent willingness to deploy nuclear munitions on a "pre-emptive" basis will only have the effect of speeding up the proliferation process
Although the enemies against which a "nuclear bunker-buster" might be used would probably not have a nuclear arsenal
with which to respond, it is not a given that nuclear war could be ruled out in the event other NWS would choose to side with the nation receiving the strike. Beyond that, it would certainly invite a nuclear retaliation of some sort, whether it be a suitcase bomb or a huge device planted in a hold of a ship.
In one example, the scientists discuss the blast needed to destroy a shallowly buried enemy bunker.
A typical weapon in the current U.S. arsenal can be accurately delivered within about 300 feet of its target. To destroy such a bunker, that requires a blast equivalent to about 15 kilotons of TNT.
The scientists say that would spread deadly radiation over a five-mile radius.
By delivering the weapon more accurately - within 30 feet - they say a blast of only one-half kiloton would be enough to destroy the bunker. The radiation zone would be reduced to a little more than a mile.
The question today is whether such new highly accurate low-yield weapons can be achieved with modifications to existing weapons or by designing entirely new ones.