There has been a back and forth competition between
nations intending on building stronger and deeper nuclear bunkers
and those whose intention is to design the "end all"
weapon that will be supposedly capable of destroying any and
all nuclear bunkers-no matter how deep below ground they are.
The U.S. has been researching and developing the
bunker buster bomb that supposedly will make deep nuclear bunkers
an easy target.
While all this is going on, there are voices in
the world of science that suggest such a weapon is a great idea
in theory but a waste of money from a practical sense and also
Nuclear Weapons in a New Light-And a New Packaging
Located near Albuquerque, New Mexico, The Los
Alamos Nuclear Weapons Lab has projects under its sleeve that
for various reasons involving top secrecy, are never exposed
to the public view or even the light of day. But occasionally
things do leak out or are intentionally released to the public.
In 1991, a scientific brief was delivered to The
U.S. Defense Science Board (which is basically under the control
of the U.S. military) that discussed the options and possibilities
for using nuclear weapons to destroy underground nuclear bunkers
in countries that may be deemed enemies or threats to the U.S.
In 1993 the administration of U.S. President Bill
Clinton basically put the kibosh on the idea, but behind closed
doors, scientists in cooperation with top military thinkers
were continuing to research ways to use nuclear weapons as a
means of destroying underground nuclear bunkers.
The administration of George W. Bush introduced
the idea of what it called "The Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator,"
also known by its abbreviation RNEP. In short, the idea behind
RNEP was to try and develop a strengthened missile containing
a nuclear warhead that would be able to penetrate hardened nuclear
bunkers made of many feet of reinforced concrete (or even built
into the side of mountains) and then release the power of an
atomic blast below ground, supposedly ensuring destruction and
also limiting the effects of an atomic blast above ground.
But Would The End Justify The Means?
Many scientists have cast doubts about whether
or not the RNEP would work and many have gone so far as to publicly
say that while such a device (might) do some severe damage to
the most hardened of nuclear bunkers, RNEP would be in reality
something that would do much more harm to the inhabitants of
planet Earth compared to the possible (and unproven) benefits
that it might provide against enemy targets.
Numerous scientific studies have shown that even
with the strongest casing, an RNEP weapon would not be able
to penetrate deep enough into the Earth to be able to contain
the massive amount of nuclear fallout. It's commonly believed
among scientists who have looked into the idea that no matter
how hardened an RNEP device would be the casing would be crushed
by the time it penetrated no more than 30 feet into concrete
or natural rock.
One scientist has stated publicly that the laws
of physics would never allow any nuclear device to penetrate
far enough into the Earth to keep all nuclear fallout from escaping.
Such rationale suggests that in this case millions of people
many hundreds of miles would be killed by nuclear fallout from
such a device. Many would agree that destroying nuclear bunkers
at the cost of millions of lives is not worth the effort.
The alternative suggested is that precision guided
weapons currently in the U.S. arsenal would be much more effective
and certainly cause much less collateral damage. The weapons
that the U.S. currently has to penetrate nuclear bunkers could
at least do enough damage to the bunkers to render them unusable
until other follow up options could be implemented or the country
on the receiving end might decide to give up on what it was