Euphemisms, jargon and atomic bombs

“No matter how it is phrased: ‘nuclear explosive energy’, ‘rapid reassembly of the fuel into a supercritical configuration with a destructive nuclear excursion’, rapid core meltdown followed by compaction into a supercritical mass’, or ‘compaction of the fuel into a more reactive configuration resulting in a disruptive energy release’, the meaning is clear. Light Metal Fast Breeder Reactors are subject to ‘superprompt critical conditions’ and, as the AEC knows, this technical terminology translated into layman’s language is an ‘atomic bomb’. “

– George L. Weil, 1973 in ‘The Menace of Atomic Energy’ edited by Nader and Abbott.

(recorded 10/12/78)

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