Friday, 25 December 1998 Washington, DC
1. TRITIUM: U.S. WILL BUY WEAPONS TRITIUM FROM POWER REACTORS.
To maintain nuclear weapons, the tritium must be periodically
replaced. However, DOE shut down its last tritium production
facility 10 years ago. Since that time, the source of tritium
has been from weapons decommissioned under arms reduction
agreements. Reluctant to build an expensive production facility
that would not be needed if another arms reduction treaty is
negotiated, DOE has decided to purchase the needed tritium from
the Tennessee Valley Authority's power reactors
(WN 29 May 98).
That violates a long-standing policy of not using power reactors
to make bomb materials, a policy the US urges on other nations.
2. START II: RUSSIAN DUMA DELAYS ACTION BECAUSE OF AIR STRIKES.
Unable to maintain its weapons, Russia's deteriorating nuclear
arsenal has already fallen below START II limits, so last month
they decided they might as well take action on the treaty
(WN 20 Nov 98),
which the US Senate ratified in 1996. However, angered
by the bombing of Iraq, the Duma has put START II on hold again.
3. NATIONAL MISSILE DEFENSE: PENTAGON BALLOON DOESN'T FLY -- YET.
Defense Secretary William Cohen has denied a Defense Daily report
that he had decided to tack another year onto the three plus
three strategy for NMD deployment
(WN 11 Dec 98).
Cohen now says the Pentagon has not made a decision "as of this moment."
4. NEAR MISS: SPACECRAFT MUST RESCHEDULE ASTEROID RENDEZVOUS.
Lost in space for a day, the NEAR spacecraft will take pictures
as it flies by Eros on Wednesday but will not orbit the asteroid
for at least another year. NEAR is one of the first "faster,
cheaper, better" spacecraft built under the Discovery Program.
5. SPEAKER: WILL DENNIS HASTERT REPLACE BOB LIVINGSTON?
It appears that the former teacher and wrestling coach will be
elected Speaker of the House when Congress reconvenes, but WN was
unable to reach Larry Flint to see if Hastert had gotten his OK.
Hastert is a big fan of FermiLab, which is in his district.
6. THE WHAT'S NEW NOTABLES OF THE YEAR FOR 1998:
PHYSICIST: Richard Seed, who plans to clone humans
(WN 9 Jan 98).
BOOK: "Nuclear Transmutation: The Reality of Cold Fusion" by T.
Mizuno, Published by Infinite Energy Press (see next week).
DISCOVERY: Moxibustion corrects breech birth
(WN 13 Nov 98).
INVENTION: DKL Lifeguard unerringly finds pigeons
(WN 25 Sep 98).
RETIREES: Bob Livingston, John Glenn and Burt Richter.