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Asteroid explosion near a US early warning radar base – could have triggered a nuclear war

An asteroid exploded near a US early warning radar base and we’re lucky it didn’t spark nuclear Armageddon    https://metro.co.uk/2018/08/03/asteroid-exploded-near-us-early-warning-base-lucky-didnt-spark-nuclear-armageddon-7794769/ Jasper Hamil  3 Aug 2018

An asteroid has exploded in a ‘fireball’ near an American early warning radar base, prompting a top scientist to reflect on how a similar ‘freak’ incident could cause nuclear war. The meteor was only detected after it detonated close to Thule Airbase, Greenland, on July 25. A prominent nuclear expert later discussed how the US military could have mistaken the explosion for a Russian ‘first strike’ and launched up to 2,000 nukes in retaliation.

Thule is a base in Greenland which incorporates a Ballistic Missile Early Warning Site designed to spot nuclear doomsday weapons flying towards America. Hans M. Kristensen, director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists, tweeted: ‘We’re still here, so they correctly concluded it was not a Russian first strike. ‘There are nearly 2,000 nukes on alert, ready to launch.’ Kristensen told Metro that a ‘freak incident like this could potentially trigger an alert that caused the United States to overreact’, although he stressed such an event was unlikely.

‘The potential risks are about what could happen in a tense crisis where two nuclear powers were at each other’s throats and a conventional shooting war had broken out and part of the command and control system degraded,’ he said. ‘The early warning systems are supposed to be able to differentiate and in most cases probably would be able to do so. ‘But with large number of nuclear weapons on high alert, the concern would be that an overreaction could trigger a series of events that escalated the conflict significantly. ‘There have been cases during the Cold War where atmospheric events caused early warning systems to falsely report nuclear attacks. Fortunately, military officers figured out that they were false alarms.’ He said tensions were low at the moment, making it very unlikely that an asteroid strike would trigger a nuclear war.

‘I don’t think there is any risk that such an event could trigger a nuclear launch under normal circumstances,’ Kristensen continued. ‘There are no other indicators that nuclear adversaries at this point are about to launch nuclear weapons against the United States.’ The asteroid hit on July 25 and exploded with a force of about 2.1 kilotons, Nasa confirmed. This is about an eighth of the 15 kiloton yield of the Little Boy bomb, which was used to destroy Hiroshima in World War II. In 1968, a United States Air Force (USAF) B-52 bomber carrying four hydrogen bombs crashed into sea ice near Thule, causing a huge explosion and forcing a massive clean-up operation.

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August 4, 2018 - Posted by | ARCTIC, incidents, weapons and war

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