Physicist Peter Zimmerman is a long time skeptic of LENR, but he is extremely
knowledgeable about the risk of nuclear proliferation in the age of
Even before P&F made the cover of Time, PZ had consulted on a novel by Nicolas
Freeling, who is a second tier English author of detective stories. The
book is named “Gadget” and true to form, it bombed (so to speak) … reaching an
audience of a few thousand, but it is available online as a used book. Worth
The underlying appreciation of the risk of nuclear proliferation makes this
novel way ahead of its time, and it accepts the extreme lengths that zealots
will employ to reach their goal: the “suicide vest” mentality, shall we say.
The title borrows the Los Alamos wartime slang for the ‘big one’ and
conjures up that unforgettable mental image of Major Kong waving his cowboy
hat on his way to another world… from Dr. Strangelove.
Yikes. The detail which has changed the risk assessment in the last several
years is the revelations about UDD – ultradense deuterium. If there is any
reality to the species, then oops… UDD multiplies the chance of major
catastrophe from nuclear terrorism enormously… since it negates the need for
high enrichment and possibly even the need for fissile material at all.
Anyway, Zimmerman- while surely he would be ostensibly denying that UDD is
real, is probably paying close attention to progress in Sweden and may be
operating to classify some of the results before it is too late.
He has calculated the time and skill which would be needed to produce an “IND”
or improvised nuclear device using the old fashioned way, and it is not that
expensive to begin with. In a way, it is a miracle that it has not been done in
a crude form. The IND is a step up from the dirty bomb, which is the crude
form, but either one could render Manhattan uninhabitable for a few
generations… which may be preferable to triggering WWIII but should never be
ignored as a major threat.
Since the amount of money needed for an IND is not large -ISIS makes more in a
day or two selling drugs, which is its real business these days - then
terrorists would ignore the high tech option and possibly opt out for a dirty
bomg, but still… UDD may represent a paradigm shift in more arenas than cheap
Be careful what you wish for…