Nuclear Friday: D.O.E. Movie Night

Well, my promised post on the history of Soviet cruise missile development is not quite ready yet, at least unless you want another 3000+ word hastily written info dump like last week. Missile history can wait a week. Instead The Board will just have a few comments on the news and a cool movie for your weekend viewing.

As you may have heard, North Korea test launched what were likely KN-15 missiles a couple of days ago to give President Xi and Trump something to talk about during their first meeting. It’s not a very long range missile, but its solid fuel allows it to be launched on very short notice. I consider it a potentially effective nuclear weapons delivery system. The Pukkuksong-2, as the KH-15 is sometimes called, is much more of concern than North Korea’s unreliable longer range systems.

And in other news, Steve Bannon is off the National Security council and Rick Perry has been added. I’ve been voting against Perry since he was Agriculture Commissioner back in the eighties. I’m still hoping that Rick Perry will stumble across The Board and appoint me to a Department of Energy position. We can surely get over our differences.

And speaking of the Department of Energy, I had been aware of a film called Always/Never produced by Sandia National Laboratories, but I never got around to watching it until I recently watched Part 1 on YouTube. It’s a history of US nuclear weapons development centered around the conflicting needs of nuclear weapons readiness and nuclear weapons security. I highly recommend it:

This is a huge problem. Deterrence requires the threat that the weapons will always  work when required. Safety and security require that the weapons never function under other conditions. Satisfying either of these requirements is simple. Satisfying both together is difficult.

Parts 2 and 3 should come up in the frame when part one finishes. Mark Curry of Sandia’s internal media department has done some excellent work here.

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