Learning to play the game

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By Gabriel Vasquez

Quickly approaching the cusp of an alternative energy revolution, the benefits of nuclear technology have become more appealing than ever before.

Understanding both sides of the nuclear paradox, however, is necessary to “win the game.”

The challenge?

Harnessing the power of nuclear energy for good, while keeping its destructive capacity at bay from itchy trigger fingers, according to former LANL Director Sigfried Hecker.

“These benefits need to be visible, which has been a problem until now. We need to play the benefits in order to win this game,” Hecker said during a talk he gave Wednesday to a group of mostly summer lab interns at the Oppenheimer Study Center.

Avoiding war, Hecker said, and the conditions that could possibly lead to the detonation of nuclear weapons, remains difficult because there is still a large number of nuclear-capable countries in the world, and plenty of bombs as well.

The only way to lessen that threat, Hecker said, was to eliminate the weapons.

“The fewer fingers on the trigger of these nuclear weapons, the better,” he said.

Prior to 1968, only five countries had nuclear capabilities, Hecker said. The U.S., U.K., France, China and the Soviet Union. After the non-proliferation treaty of 1968, that number increased.

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