Can Neutrinos Eliminate the Nuclear Threat?

Yuri Barzov
6 min readMar 30, 2024

“We discuss the possibility of utilizing the ultra-high energy neutrino beam (about 1000 TeV) to detect and destroy the nuclear bombs wherever they are and whoever possesses them.” [1]

This is the abstract of the twenty years old preprint by scientists from Honolulu and Japan. One of the leading global experts in neutrinos sent me the link in response to my question if neutrinos can somehow change the composition of the weapon grade Uranium and Plutonium as it looks like they can induce nuclear fission reactions in supernovae.

Two years ago I began to discuss the possibility of finding a technical solution to implement total nuclear disarmament remotely and regardless of the will of nuclear nations. My idea was to look for all fantasy solutions that we can imagine and to try to make some of them real. The fantasy example proposed by me turned out to be outright wrong so I just kept looking for more feasible ideas. [2]

Authors of the preprint proposed to build a giant lepton collider to generate neutrino beams which will force nuclear warheads located anywhere on the Earth to fizzle — i.e. to explode with only a tiny fraction (0.3%) of their expected yield. They many times stressed out that their proposal is futuristic because it required technologies which didn’t yet exist and resources which only the global government as they thought could accumulate.

Some assumptions which they used were based on theories which were not experimentally validated. Their knowledge of the construction of nuclear bombs was limited, of course, only to open sources. However, their idea represents a giant leap forward compared to my ignorant fantasy.

Since the publication of the preprint many interesting things have happened on the Earth and in space.

Firstly, in 2013 ultra high energy neutrinos were actually detected by the IceCube experiment — the neutrino observatory under Antarctic ice. [3] Their source is still unknown and hypotheses include proton scattering at the time of the formation of first stars 13 billion years ago [4] and the decay of dark matter.[5]

Secondly, in 2021 The High Energy Stereoscopic System (H.E.S.S.) “discovered the first Galactic very-high-energy transient and subsequently captured the evolution of the gamma-ray emission over several weeks” while observing the RS Ophiuchi recurrent nova explosion in about 1500 parsecs from the Earth. [6]

This discovery lead to a wide array of theories explaining how a recurrent nova explosion can work as a giant hadron, lepton or lepto-hadron collider. [7,8,9]

However, ultra high energy neutrinos were not detected during and after the RS Ophiuchi explosion. One of the explanations given to such a discrepancy is that IceCube is not sensitive enough to detect neutrinos from novae if the distance from the explosion to the Earth exceeds 1000 parsecs. [10] Another explanation might be that the exploding white dwarf might actually fire beams of neutrino while orbiting the red giant in a way similar to the scheme of a lepton collider outlined in the nuclear weapons elimination preprint.

This year we are going to observe an explosion of a recurrent nova T Coronae Borealis at a distance of 920 parsecs. [11] This eruption will give us an opportunity to not only detect ultra high energy neutrinos from this explosion but also to detect a nuclear fission reaction if induced by those neutrinos in weapon grade Uranium 235 and Plutonium 239. [12]

Of course, all our knowledge about the role of neutrinos in nuclear fission is theoretical.[13] There’s also a theory that neutrinos foster neutron capture with creating a heavier isotope instead of inducing fission. [14]

We know about neutrinos much less than we don’t know. Therefore, researchers in the field are trying to apply different approaches to crunch more knowledge from the scarce available data. Quite a few of them experiment with Bayesian inference trying to predict the behavior of neutrinos. [15,16,17]

Heinrich Päs, the theoretical physicist and cosmologist who sent me the link to the preprint, believes that the ancient idea of monism applied to quantum physics may solve many neutrino riddles and help physicists find the theory of everything. [18]
My ambition is somewhat lower than Heinrich’s. Of course, I would be the happiest person on the Earth if the forthcoming eruption of T Coronae Borealis would disable all nukes on the planet. It would be a miracle. However, usually we need a magic wand to make miracles happen. Therefore I hope that the nova explosion will help us to create that magic wand.

If neutrinos can influence fissionable material in either way (fission or capture) their impact may degrade weapon grade Uranium and Plutonium to the level below the purity threshold required for a successful nuclear explosion. The forthcoming T Coronae Borealis nova explosion this year creates a unique opportunity for testing the hypothesis that we can eradicate nuclear weapons using ultra high energy neutrinos.

It is obvious to me that for achieving that goal we need to understand neutrinos in the same way as we need to understand ourselves and the Universe. So my ambitions aren’t that modest after all. I currently think that understanding arises only from the primary intelligence of the ultimate observer as suggested by Erwin Schrödinger and John Bell among many other brilliant minds. [19] This is my gut feeling that the active inference theory proposed by Karl Friston explains the local manifestation of primary intelligence. [20]

My journey that led me to quantum monism began from my burning desire to understand humans. Heinrich Päs was led there by the desire to understand neutrinos. Karl Friston first and we both later arrived at the same conclusion that our desires are impossible to satisfy without understanding the Universe as a whole. Eradication of nukes will be just a practical implication of the growth of such an understanding.

Therefore, dictators clutching to their nukes as to Sauron’s ring of power and using nuclear blackmail need to become more careful already now because all their nuclear might may suddenly evaporate one day soon. The new star will light up till the end of September this year.


1. Destruction of Nuclear Bombs Using Ultra-High Energy Neutrino Beam

2. The Way How Curiosity May Guide Science (And Us) To Avoid Nuclear Armageddon And Other Existential Threats

3. Ultra-high-energy neutrinos

4. Could Bert, Ernie and Big Bird be 13 billion years old?

5. Neutrinos at IceCube from Heavy Decaying Dark Matter

6. The first Galactic TeV transient: the nova explosion RS Ophiuchi observed by H.E.S.S.

7. Time-resolved hadronic particle acceleration in the recurrent nova RS Ophiuchi

8. Lepto-hadronic Interpretation of 2021 RS Ophiuchi Nova Outburst

9. High-energy neutrinos from fast winds in novae

10. No Nova Neutrinos?

11. View Nova Explosion, ‘New’ Star in Northern Crown

12. Presentation on the proposed experiment to detect Neutrino-Induced Nuclear Fission

13. Neutrino mixing in nuclear rapid neutron-capture processes

14. Significance of Neutrino Environments on Neutrino-Induced Fission and Neutron-Induced Fission Processes

15. Bayesian analysis of neutrinos observed from supernova SN 1987A

16. Global Bayesian analysis of neutrino mass data

17. Using Bayesian Inference to Distinguish Neutrino Flavor Conversion Scenarios via a Prospective Supernova Neutrino Signal

18. The One: How an Ancient Idea Holds the Future of Physics

19. The Schrödinger-Bell Model of AGI

20. Parr, Thomas, Pezzulo, Giovanni, Friston, Karl J. Active Inference: The Free Energy Principle in Mind, Brain, and Behavior. ISBN (electronic): 9780262369978. The MIT Press. 2022