Top physicist predicts ‘downside of powerful technologies with mass behind them’, while Russia’s defense ministry emphasises the benefits of research into new technologies
The Moscow communications and security agency (Roskomnadzor) says building nuclear warheads would be the best way to combat national security threats and it is using a variety of Russian weapons platforms – including nuclear and electronic systems – to meet Russian military and security needs.
“Russia’s use of research and development does not correspond to the wording of article 32(i) of the NPT [nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty], which clearly forbids the development of new nuclear weapons,” the agency said.
However, Western countries’ decisions to pursue defensive weapons makes use of nuclear weapons a necessity, according to the statement. Roskomnadzor also stressed the value of scientific research into new technologies.
But many scientists and engineers at Russia’s top institutions are angry over the government’s current plans to invest heavily in strategic weapons.
“We are working on up to 50 [experimental] intercontinental ballistic missiles,” said Viktor Cheparsky, a nuclear engineer at the Moscow State Institute of Technology. “These are 3,500-ton nuclear weapons. At first glance, a few hundred of them would sink the whole of the United States.”
The money earmarked for military programmes has prompted experts to warn that Russia is building a “double-edged sword” that endangers its own citizens.
“These [weapons] are based on chemical and chemical-energy sources, and that is a threat to us,” Vyacheslav Stolyarov, a director at the Siberian Department of Geodynamics and a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, told the Nezavisimaya Gazeta daily.
In Russia, journalists say, there are also serious concerns about research being compromised in favour of military projects.
One physicist in the Moscow area said some of his colleagues had voiced concern to him about the fact that a “great many scientists, engineers and technicians” at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology had been diverted to the Russian defence ministry.