[SystemSafety] The bomb again

From: John Downer < >
Date: Tue, 1 Oct 2013 17:20:11 -0400


Further to earlier discussions on the safety of the bomb (and courtesy of my former colleague Anne Harrington):

From the Guardian: "US nearly detonated atomic bomb over North Carolina secret document"

"A secret document, published in declassified form for the first time by the Guardian today, reveals that the US Air Force came dramatically close to detonating an atom bomb over North Carolina that would have been 260 times more powerful than the device that devastated Hiroshima.

The document, obtained by the investigative journalist Eric Schlosser under the Freedom of Information Act, gives the first conclusive evidence that the US was narrowly spared a disaster of monumental proportions when two Mark 39 hydrogen bombs were accidentally dropped over Goldsboro, North Carolina on 23 January 1961. The bombs fell to earth after a B-52 bomber broke up in mid-air, and one of the devices behaved precisely as a nuclear weapon was designed to behave in warfare: its parachute opened, its trigger mechanisms engaged, and only one low-voltage switch prevented untold carnage."

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/20/usaf-atomic-bomb-north-carolina-1961

For context, here's the official government assessment from 1960: "Stay Safe, Stay Strong: The Facts about Nuclear Weapons"http://archive.org/details/StaySafe1960

My favorite bit is at minute 20:00:

So how safe is a nuclear bomber coming in for a crash landing?
"...the possibility of an accidental nuclear explosion is so small as to be practically nonexistent...you and your family may live in peace, free from the fear of nuclear accidents"



Dr. John Downer
SPAIS; University of Bristol.


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systemsafety_at_xxxxxx Received on Wed Oct 02 2013 - 00:35:54 CEST

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