The U.S. government, under the administration that had actively called for curbing Iran’s nuclear program, is developing a top-secret atomic bomb that proves to be more destructible than the Hiroshima bomb. Anti-nuclear weapon scientists argued that this violates a 2010 Obama administration pledge that entails no new nuclear weapons shall be produced with new military capabilities.
B61-12, three times more powerful than the bomb dropped in Hiroshima
In a comprehensive report, Reveal, from The Center of Investigative Reporting, detailed how engineers at Sandia National Laboratories, together with the Los Alamos National Laboratories, spent the past few years developing an atomic bomb identified as the B61-12. According to the report, the bomb underwent top-secret testing and is undergoing continuous improvement in Mexico. The final product would be a bomb with 50,000 tons of TNT, “more than three times more powerful than the U.S. atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima,” the report said.
The report detailed views and argument by various anti-nuclear scientists, saying that the development of B61-12 violates Obama’s pledge in 2010. In his pledge, Mr Obama promised to reduce nuclear risks in the country, its allies and the whole international community.
B61-12 first testing conducted on July 1
As previously reported by Morning News USA, the United States Air Force and National Nuclear Security Administration or NNSA had already conducted testing of B61-12 on July 1. In its announcement, NNSA said the B61-12 refurbishes both nuclear and non-nuclear components to extend the bomb’s service life while improving its safety, security and reliability.
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The B61-12 is mated with the USAF tail-kit assembly, designed by The Boeing Company, NNSA said. In the report from Reveal, the authors said that the mere idea of stealth fighters carrying B61-12 nuclear bombs is worrisome.
“If the Russians put out a guided nuclear bomb on a stealthy fighter that could sneak through air defenses, would that add to the perception here that they were lowering the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons?” asked Hans Kristensen of the Federation of American Scientists. To answer his own question, he said “absolutely.”
Asked about the consequences of fighter jets carrying the bomb, Phil Hoover, one of the engineers who developed the B61-12, said it is a question that is not for the engineers to comment on. “It’s something the Air Force and the warfighters should address,” Hoover told Reveal.
“To effectively deter potential adversaries, the weapons and platforms fielded by the Air Force must credibly provide options for the President to demonstrate U.S. resolve and support deterrence options for the President to deal with emerging crises,” Maj Kelley Jeter, a spokeswoman for the Air Force said when asked about the effect of stealth fighter jets carrying the B61-12 bomb.
In his speech after a nuclear agreement with Iran was sealed on July 17, Mr Obama said the “deal will make America and the world safer and more secure.” The nuclear deal “actually closes off Iran’s pathway to a nuclear weapon.”
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