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The Russian space nukes scare

36 minutes
The Russian space nukes scare

Last month, there was a sudden panic in the United States when House Intelligence Chairman Mike Turner issued a statement warning of a “serious national security threat” and demanded that President Biden declassify related information. The American media subsequently reported that Turner was referring to alleged Russian plans to deploy nuclear weapons in space, though U.S. National Security Council Spokesperson John Kirby later clarified that the matter concerns anti-satellite weapons that cannot be used to attack people or to strike targets on Earth. He explained that Russia’s development of the technology is concerning but does not pose an immediate threat.

To make sense of these reports and to respond to the panic that this situation provokes, The Naked Pravda welcomes back nuclear arms expert Pavel Podvig, a senior researcher at the U.N. Institute for Disarmament Research.

Timestamps for this episode:

  • (3:20) The (im)practicality of nuclear weapons in space
  • (5:31) Imagining a nuclear blast in orbit
  • (9:59) The feasibility of nuclear-powered space weapons
  • (28:02) The 1967 Outer Space Treaty and its modern-day implications
  • (31:26) Common misconceptions about space in movies

New episodes of The Naked Pravda are released at the end of every week. Catch each show by subscribing through Apple PodcastsSpotifyGoogle Podcasts, or one of these other platforms. If you have a question or comment about the podcast, please write to Kevin Rothrock at [email protected] with the subject line: “The Naked Pravda.”

Hosted by Ned Garvey. Sound editing by Kevin Rothrock.

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