Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Where's the Nuke?

ICBM, ready to go
Congratulations and welcome in 2007! You survived another year! It's not that obvious, you and I, still alive. While surfing for more information on Pinnacle Empty Quiver, Nucflash and Broken Arrow (codenames for military nuke incidents) I stumbled on an interesting Wikipedia article, a List of Military Nuclear Accidents. It's no surprise that, once in a while, things go wrong with such a number of nukes. What surprised me was the number of accidents. Note that this list does not include civil nuclear incidents!

First thing I noticed was a number of experiments going totally wrong in the 1940's and 50's. Well, they had a good excuse, it was all new stuff to them and some tests went completely off scale. In the 1960's they were putting these nukes in all kinds of vehicles. There were two particular places you don't want to put a nuke: airplanes and submarines. Guess what! The planes came down, and the subs didn't came back up. Nukes in bombers seemed to be a really big problem.

In the 1970's it became safer to fly around the nukes. However, while keeping their flying stuff high in the sky, their subs went down like bricks. Since the 70's you definitely need a submarine to get in the Nuke Accident Popularity Poll. Accident reports are now becoming rather rare, and I sincerely hope this is not because we don't hear anything about them. All things considered it's amazing that these accidents didn't cause a Third World War. More on this page. Happy Newyear!

3 comments:

Liz said...

And a happy new year to you from inside the bunker I am in the process of constructing. It can only be a matter of time surely ...

Ken Prescott said...

Dirk, the reason bombers became "safer" in the 1970s is that SAC terminated its airborne alert (Operation Chrome Dome) in 1968. No bombers flying with nukes means no accidents with nukes.

Dirk said...

Hi Ken, a wise decision, maybe due to the bad statistics. I hope they also stop sailing those nukes around on the oceans also.Who knows how many stuff already rests on the bottom of the sea.