Defending nukeplants, was Re: Energy and "the Clash of Civilizations" -- a policy thoughtproblem

From: Michael M. Butler (
Date: Sat Sep 29 2001 - 21:13:34 MDT

> It sounds like it could well be a problem. I think I read something about
> putting anti-aircraft missiles at nuclear sites. Unfortunately they
> won't get much warning since it may not be obvious that a plane is off
> course until it's very close.
> Hal

1) Ugly answer: Put a fat R-zone (Restricted) around every nukeplant
just like the one around the White House; add Patriot batteries
as needed.

Back of envelope calculations I did recently for ground school:
A closing rate of 100 knots gives ca. 12 seconds per 1000 feet.
600 knots is, obviously, 2 seconds per 1000 feet or 10 seconds
per mile.

2) Another approach would be to treat domestic heavies in such a way that
they are not allowed to fuel up for (say) more than a 500-mile leg.
No more coast-to-coast nonstops over land. This will have some
significant costs, as they will be operating much less efficiently
(climbing and descending) for most of their flight hours. Probably a

3) Down the road, semiballistics would have more predictable flight
paths in normal operation, and a reentry-phase SDI-type followon
might be suited to neutralize any mispointed flight.

4) Not sure how to defend against a swarm of smaller craft: banks of
Phalanx guns, perhaps? DU slugs are right out, but tungsten would
probably suffice, especially if the glassy-metals work pans out.

5) The neural-net stuff done to detect "hincty" human behavior from
raw video would seem to be worth investigating for a SkyNet-type
system. Ruh roh.

Interesting times, you betcha,


Job One:  MAKE YOURSELF USEFUL.  If you're not part of the solution, 
  what are you doing scumming up the bottom of our beaker? --MMB  
"Let's roll." --Last words heard over Todd Beamer's cell phone 
   before the counterassault aboard UA93, 02001.09.11.~10:10EDT

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