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US nuclear power plant modernization. Exorbitant costs of the weapons program. This curiosity | News from the world

US nuclear power plant modernization.  Exorbitant costs of the weapons program.  This curiosity |  News from the world

Americans are facing a drain on the so-called peace dividend. After the end of the Cold War, they could significantly reduce their expenses, reduce the size of their arsenal and suspend the development of new strategic weapons, and thanks to huge investments from the time of competition with the Soviet Union, they achieved great success. Ability. However, three decades have passed. What they left after the Cold War must be replaced. And that’s it Once. There was a buildup, his weight is impressive even inside في United States of America With their huge military budget.

Expenses go into billions

According to the latest report from the Congressional Budget Office In the years 2021-2030, the US nuclear arsenal will have to spend on the aforementioned 634 billion dollars. It is the cost of maintenance and development. For comparison, the entire Polish budget army That’s currently $14 billion annually. Too small.

The Central Bank of Oman is required by law to prepare such accounts for the next ten years every two years. They are intended to serve as a source of information for politicians in long-term planning. And over the years, each subsequent account shows the higher and higher expected costs of a nuclear arsenal. This is partly due to inflation, but also partly due to an underestimation of projected costs. Moreover, over time, the need to replace old Cold War weapons will become more and more urgent. A range of weapons programs will move from research and development to production. This means another increase in costs. It is still the greatest expense for Americans.

According to the calculations of the Government Accountability Office, the total cost of the comprehensive modernization and maintenance of the nuclear arsenal until the mid-1940s would be between 1.5 and 2 trillion dollars. Maybe 1.7 trillion by 2046. These are very general calculations, but they’re also meant to be used for that. For an overview of the projected maintenance costs of the world’s best nuclear arsenal.

This is what Armageddon would look like. 100 seconds left

Everything to be replaced

Americans are faced with the above need to replenish almost the entire trinity, that is, the three pillars of the nuclear arsenal – land, sea and air. The United States has 651 missiles and launchers ready for use (the delivery vehicle), carrying a total of 1,357 thermonuclear warheads, according to the latest data released under the New START treaty in April of this year. In addition, 149 missiles and grenade launchers are in reserve, which means that the equipment is undergoing renovation and repair. Together, they have a maximum allowable limit of 800 vectors. It is currently the largest nuclear arsenal in the world. The Russian is a little smaller because the Russians are not using the caps imposed by the New START agreement.

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For Americans, almost all of this arsenal is waiting to be replaced. On Earth, there are 400 Minuteman 3 missiles dating back to the 1960s, although they have undergone extensive modernization to this day. It is hidden in 450 underground reinforced silos under the prairie in the middle of the United States. The Army would like to include them in the Strategic Ground Detection (GBSD) program. In 2020, Northrop Grumman was awarded a contract to create new missiles. It’s $13 billion, but it’s only upfront costs, and doesn’t include serial production. The plans assume the adoption of the first missiles into service in 2029. They serve half a century.

The Minuteman III missile can be seen in infrared shortly after takeoffThe Minuteman III missile can be seen in infrared shortly after takeoff Foot. US Air Force

At sea, the Americans should replace a fleet of 14 Ohio-class nuclear submarines, each carrying 24 Trident II missiles. It should be replaced by 12 new types of Columbia carrying 16 of the same missiles (Trident 2 is a design from the 80s, it is constantly being updated). Most of the work is performed by General Dynamics. The first module is already under construction, the second module has been ordered. The contract to develop it, build the first and launch the second, is worth less than ten billion dollars. New ships have to be very modern and complex, so the first ship won’t be completed until 2030. All of them will be built by 2042 and will remain in service until about the end of the 21st century.

Ohio-class nuclear submarine, USS NebraskaOhio-class nuclear submarine, USS Nebraska Foot. American Navy

The air part of the triad currently consists of 19 of the most modern B-2 bombers and 75 old but modern B-52 bombers. B-1B intermediate vehicles are no longer designed to carry nuclear weapons. Production of the new generation of B-21 Raider bombers is currently underway. Here, the lead artist is Northrop Grumman again. The contract for the construction of the machine was set at $21 billion, excluding costs for serial production. The new machines are generally expected to be similar to the B-2, but smaller, more modern, and cheaper. The first flight was tentatively planned for early 2022 and operational readiness around 2030. It is uncertain how many B-21s will be built. Current plans talk about a hundred. Old B-52s will be used with them until the middle of the century, after another comprehensive modernization. The earlier B-1 and B-2 will be phased out and replaced by the B-21. As a result, the Americans will have a set of modern stealth bombers and old but still serviceable missile trucks.

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A B-2 strategic bomber prepares to refuel in the air.  Next to the F-15 fighterA B-2 strategic bomber prepares to refuel in the air. Next to the F-15 fighter Foot. US Air Force

In addition, it is also necessary to modernize the fusion charges themselves, which are no longer the responsibility of the Pentagon, but of the Department of Energy. Not entirely new species have been produced since the end of the Cold War. Using huge amounts of warheads and fissile material from the period of competition with the Soviet Union, the Americans are now focused on comprehensive repairs and modernization, which in practice means producing most of the warhead elements from scratch. However, their nuclear industry has shrunk dramatically over the past three decades, so it now requires significant investment to meet the challenge of mass-producing refurbished payloads for all new weapons systems and creating entirely new warheads. At the end of this decade, the Pentagon, for example, assumed the production of 90 new centers of recovered plutonium annually, and all indications indicate that it will be possible to reach 30. on the nuclear arsenal. According to CBO, about $230 billion by 2030.

Work to modernize the B61 nuclear bomb at Sandia Laboratories.  audio experimentsWork to modernize the B61 nuclear bomb at Sandia Laboratories. audio experiments Foot. Sandia Laboratories

The US W80 thermonuclear warhead, one of the smallest designed for Tomahawk cruise missilesW93 – The United States began work on a new warhead

Is that all you need?

The entire massive armament program, which is expected to accumulate in the 1930s, when the serial production of new ships, missiles, aircraft and warheads begins in earnest, is causing much debate in the United States. The military and many politicians want to keep the size of the arsenal at the same level as today, while modernizing it comprehensively. However, many people question whether this is necessary, given that the United States today possesses enough nuclear weapons to turn both potential adversaries, China and Russia, into a radioactive inferno. GBSD is under fire the most, as the least flexible and is built largely on Cold War principles. If submarines and planes are more than enough to inflict damage that no country can sustain, why are the missiles still in silos?

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A significant reduction in spending on nuclear armaments will be especially required by politicians in the Democratic Party, including those who want it. President Joe Pedina. Senator In 2019, Edward Markey and Congressman Earl Blumino proposed a bill (short for SANE, meaning “sane”) to cut spending within a decade by $73 billion. However, she died with the previous Congress because it was not put to a vote. After the publication of the latest CBO report, they announced that it would be resubmitted to the meeting. The bill includes canceling the GBDS program, limiting the number of ships in Colombia to eight, and a number of other major cuts.

The United States is able to intimidate its opponents and protect its allies without spending crazy sums on a greatly exaggerated nuclear arsenal. Senator Markey said that including regulations that increase the risks of war rather than reduce them.

However, sharp cuts will be difficult to implement, even though the Biden administration is more sympathetic to disarmament agreements. Many of its members remember the days of Barack Obama and the “A World Without Nuclear Weapons” speech. But in practice, the Pentagon is very good at making its way. The relentless reports of the rapid expansion of China’s nuclear arsenal, criticized by civilian experts at many points, are not a coincidence but an element of building a sense of threat and the need to incur heavy expenses. The army is supported by many politicians in whose constituencies there are large design offices, weapons factories or military bases. For them, reinforcement is money for their constituents. So far, there are no indications that Biden’s people on this subject want to crush copies. The Pentagon’s draft 2022 budget does not provide for any major cuts in the US nuclear arsenal programs.

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