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Nuclear near misses

Nuclear near misses,The Age, by Daniel Flitton, April 13, 2010. Nuclear near misses- THE most infamous accident involved a US Air Force B-52 bomber colliding with a refuelling aircraft at high-altitude above Palomares, Spain, in 1966. The bomber dropped two nuclear weapons – one fell to the ground, another into the Mediterranean, setting off what was described as ”the most expensive, intensive, harrowing and feverish underwater search for a man-made object in world history”. The other bomb exploded on impact. No nuclear detonation occurred, but radioactive plutonium was scattered across a wide area.

About 1400 tonnes of soil and vegetation was dug out and taken to the US for storage in a secure site.- OTHER weapons were simply lost. On a US aircraft carrier somewhere in the Pacific in 1965 – and at least 800 kilometres from land – a nuclear-armed bomber rolled off the launch elevator and fell into the sea. An official report simply records ”the pilot, aircraft and weapon were lost”.- THE Soviet Union submarine fleet suffered multiple accidents. The most notorious of recent years, the Kursk, sank in the Barents Sea in 2000 with all hands lost. Russia denied the Kursk was carrying nuclear weapons.

- IN 1977, a pressure build-up in the missile launch tube of a Soviet nuclear sub led to the accidental release of a nuclear warhead near Kamchatka in the Pacific Ocean. No detonation occurred and a search recovered the warhead.

- IN 1989, a Soviet attack submarine sank off Norway following a fire. It carried two nuclear torpedoes.

- Anti-nuclear campaigners believe that over the years, more than 40 Soviet nuclear warheads have been lost at sea. Bombs away

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April 13, 2010 - Posted by | 2 WORLD, safety | , , , , , , , ,

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