A letter (unpublished) from A. DeVolpi to Physics and Society.
Published here with Dr. DeVolpi's permission.|
by A. DeVolpi, Woodridge, IL
For those without a copy handy, my article:
Marv and Frank offer sympathy - but not support - for declassification; they, and others, now claim the data, if declassified, would be "irrelevant."
That's odd: For 30 years the 1962 test has been one of the most relevant issues underlying non-proliferation policies!
The professors offer other skewed views of history. They dismiss the actual choice made by Iraq to pursue a uranium-based weapon, raising instead the specter of Iraq making a "low-technology truck bomb [of any plutonium grade]" that would have lead to "disastrous consequences." Sounds like they've been writing plots for Hollywood.
Also, they ignore South Africa's deliberate selection of uranium, not plutonium, for nuclear-explosive devices.
Substituting a "possibility" for actuality is not justified by commendable zeal to control nuclear materials. While all grades of plutonium need management, the dangers of reactor-grade plutonium should not be exaggerated.
If their belief were valid that "reactor-grade plutonium can be used to make weapons at all levels of technical sophistication," then the public, Congress, and policy makers have been subject to an immense half-century fraud perpetrated by weapons designers.
I'm particularly troubled by their persistence with horizontal proliferation, which has made little worldwide headway, compared to the 100,000 warheads produced during the vertically proliferating Cold War. These warheads and their weapon-grade composition should be the immediate and engaging focus of our financial and technical policies to safeguard, contain, and demilitarize.