Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

The danger of Pentagon’s planned new toy – nuclear powered drones

Pentagon wants nuclear powered drones, TG Daily  April 2, 2012 –  by Trent Nouveau  Scientists at Sandia National Laboratories and defense contractor Northrop Grumman have formulated plans for a new generation of
nuclear-powered drones. The next-gen aircraft would reportedly be capable of flying over remote regions for months – instead of days – without refueling.

“It’s pretty terrifying prospect. Drones are much less safe than other aircraft and tend to crash a lot, Chris Coles of Drone Wars UK told The Guardian.
“[Yet], there is a major push by this industry to increase the use of drones and both the public and government are struggling to keep up  with the implications.”

…

Perhaps not unsurprisingly, the Pentagon has (supposedly) halted its nuclear power drone initiative over concerns that the propulsion system could fall into the hands of terrorists and provide material for a dirty bomb. Nevertheless, Sandia recently confirmed that the project had been completed, at least on paper….. http://www.tgdaily.com/security-features/62480-pentagon-wants-nuclear-powered-drones

Several drones are lost both in testing and in combat areas every year after the radio connection between controller and drone was broken. Most famously, a CIA-operated version of America’s most-advancedproduction UAV, the RQ-170 Sentinel crashed 140 miles inside Iran after the operators reportedly lost the radio signal that allowed them to control it….

U.S. decides against making crash-prone drones run on nukes Look, up in the sky, it’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s 1,000 pounds of fissionable nuclear material falling this way!  IT World, By Kevin Fogarty  April 02, 2012,   — The U.S. military has apparently shelved the idea of developing a nuclear-powered drone aircraft that would be capable of staying in the air for months, but would pose so great a risk of those it might crash on that it was canceled due to “political conditions.”

The project, allegedly underway at Sandia National Laboratories as part of a series of efforts to increase the duration of UAV flying time from “days to months,” while increasing the amount of electricity available onboard by at least 200 percent, according to a June, 2011 summary of the project from Sandia.

The story broke after Steven Aftergood, an electrical engineer who works for the Federation of American Scientists, published the summary on his FAS blog Secrecy News.

 The blog reports on changes in government policy on secret information and access to official records that are hidden, suppressed or difficult to find.

According to the summary of “Unmanned Air Vehicle Ultra-Persistence Research” (PDF), Sandia and Northrup Grumman collaborated on a project to reduce or eliminate restrictions on flight time due to fuel use and to make enough electricity available to drive high-power avionics, “payload systems” such as electronic countermeasure systems that jam radar or communications, or surveillance equipment to eavesdrop on cell-phone calls. The two were also responsible for making communication with the drones more reliable.

Several drones are lost both in testing and in combat areas every year after the radio connection between controller and drone was broken. Most famously, a CIA-operated version of America’s most-advancedproduction UAV, the RQ-170 Sentinel crashed 140 miles inside Iran after the operators reportedly lost the radio signal that allowed them to control it……   http://www.itworld.com/security/264350/us-decides-against-giving-crash-prone-drones-nuclear-power-plants

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April 4, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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