Today in Mad Science News

Neutrino Gun:
The researchers suggest sending a neutrino beam with an energy of 1000 TeV through the Earth to wherever the nuclear weapon was located (see figure). The beam would produce neutrons in a 'hadron shower' and would cause fission reactions in the plutonium or uranium in the bomb. These reactions would either melt or vaporize the bomb.

Such a high energy neutrino beam would be difficult to produce, the physicists admit. The storage ring would have to be 1000 km across - hundreds of times larger than the biggest present day accelerators. The magnets in the specially built muon storage ring would need to be one to two orders of magnitude stronger than those currently available to construct a realistically sized machine. Moreover, the cost of building such a device could be over $100 billion and it would consume 50 GW of energy - the entire power consumption of the United Kingdom.

Finally there is the risk, the authors point out, that the interaction of the neutrino beam with the bomb "could lead to a full explosion" instead of eliminating it.

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11 Responses:

  1. jerronimo says:

    It's so very sad that accelerators for science and research use have not been funded, but once you figure out a way to use it to kill your enemies, it'll get full funding.

    perhaps I'm being to cynical.

  2. bdu says:

    Reminds me of the guys who were trying to make a super dense object in order to better understand the behavior of black holes... "There's only a marginal chance we'll make something so dense as to destroy the earth"

    uhhh, riiiiiight.

    • jwz says:

      "Don't cross the beams! Trust me, it would be bad."

      • Doc: One point twenty-one gigawatts. One point twenty-one gigawatts. Great Scott.

        Marty: What the hell is a gigawatt?

        Doc: How could I have been so careless. One point twenty-one gigawatts. Tom, how am I gonna generate that kind of power, it can't be done, it can't.

        Marty: Doc, look, all we need is a little plutonium.

        Doc: I'm sure that in 1985, plutonium is available at every corner drug store, but in 1955, it's a

        little hard to come by. Marty, I'm sorry, but I'm afraid you're stuck here.