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USA’s history of accidental dropping of nuclear bombs

Remembering A Near Disaster: U.S. Accidently Drops Nuclear Bombs On Itself And Its Allies  WUNC91.5,  24 May 18

During the Cold War, U.S. planes accidentally dropped nuclear bombs on the east coast, in Europe, and elsewhere. “Dumb luck” prevented a historic catastrophe. 
This year marks the 50th anniversary of a decision that ended a perilous chapter of the Cold War.

In 1968, the Pentagon halted a program that kept military bombers in the air, loaded with nuclear weapons to deter a Soviet attack.

The problem was the jets kept having near-catastrophic accidents.

“If you go through some of the archival evidence publicly available, it seems like once a week or so, there was some kind of significant noteworthy accident that was being reported to the Department of Defense or the Atomic Energy Commission or members of Congress,” said Stephen Schwartz, a long-time nuclear weapons analyst.

Schwartz singled out 1958 as a particularly notorious year.
“We’re actually celebrating − celebrating is probably the wrong word − but we’re marking the 60th anniversary of no fewer than eight nuclear weapons accidents this year,” Schwartz said.

Every couple of weeks, Maurice Sanders gets a reminder of one of those 1958 accidents when a car with out-of-state tags parks in front of his house just outside Florence, South Carolina. Strangers pile out and tromp around to the scrub oak forest just behind his back yard to gaze down at an odd tourist attraction.

“It’s the hole from where the bomb had dropped, years ago,” Sanders said. “I think it’s on some kind of map or something.”

The circular pit is as big around as a small house, with a pond of tea-colored water at the bottom. A fading plywood cutout that someone put up − apparently to lure more tourists − is the size and shape of the Mark 6 nuclear bomb that was dropped there by accident.

The core containing the nuclear material was stored separately on the B-47 bomber it fell from, but the high explosives that were used to trigger the nuclear reaction exploded on impact, digging the crater estimated at 35 feet deep. The blast injured six members of a nearby family and damaged their home beyond repair.

Earlier that same year, just one state farther south, a jet fighter collided with a bomber during a training exercise, and the crew jettisoned a bomb into coastal waters near Savannah, Georgia.

Two years later, in 1961, a B-52 bomber flying out of Seymour Johnson Air Force Base near Goldsboro came apart in the sky, and the two armed nuclear bombs it was carrying fell into a farming community northeast of the base. One buried itself so deeply into a tobacco field that some of its parts were never found. The other floated down on a parachute, planting its nose in the ground beside a tree.

The parachute bomb came startlingly close to detonating. A secret government document said three of its four safety mechanisms failed, and only a simple electrical switch prevented catastrophe. It was 260 times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima and could have instantly killed thousands of people. The radioactive fallout could have endangered millions more as far north as New York City.

Safety takes back seat to readiness

The military’s name for serious nuclear weapons mishaps is “broken arrow.” The Pentagon has only officially acknowledged 32 broken arrows, but evidence compiled by the government shows there were thousands more accidents involving nuclear weapons, Schwartz said.

“Most of which were not that as serious as the 32 we know about, but some of them were quite bad,” he said.

Schwartz said a wave of serious accidents in the late 1950s through 1968 was partly due to programs that kept the U.S. on a war footing. A few planes were kept aloft 24 hours a day, ready to drop bombs on Russia.

And then there was the sheer number of weapons being made, which created more opportunities for things to go wrong.

Schwartz said by the year after the bomb fell on South Carolina, the U.S. was making almost 20 nuclear weapons a day……..

“Everything associated with nuclear weapons  the nuclear weapons delivery system, the command-and-control systems that make sure they go off when they’re supposed to and most importantly that they don’t go off when they’re not supposed to − all of these things are designed, built, operated, and maintained by human beings,” Schwartz said. “And human beings are fallible.”

Overseas accidents bring program’s end

It wasn’t the bombs the U.S. dropped on itself that finally ended the program. Rather, it was two accidents over friendly nations.

In 1966, a B-52 bomber – also flying out of Seymour Johnson – broke apart in the sky near the coast of Spain. One of its bombs dropped into the sea, and three fell on land where conventional explosives scattered radioactive material.

Then, in 1968, the burning-seat-cushion crash spread plutonium and uranium onto sea ice and into the sea off the coast of Greenland……..http://wunc.org/post/remembering-near-disaster-us-accidently-drops-nuclear-bombs-itself-and-its-allies#stream/0

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May 25, 2018 Posted by | history, incidents, Reference, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

America got the Iran nuclear program going

How America Jump-Started Iran’s Nuclear Program, History,  // MAY 9, 2018 

For several decades now, the U.S. has sought to deter Iran from developing nuclear weapons. But ironically, the reason Iran has the technology to build these weapons in the first place is because the U.S. gave it to Iran between 1957 and 1979. This nuclear assistance was part of a Cold War strategy known as “Atoms for Peace.”

The strategy’s name comes from Dwight Eisenhower’s “Atoms for Peace” speech, given before the United Nations General Assembly in 1953. In it, he suggested that promoting the non-military use of nuclear technology could discourage countries from using it to create nuclear weapons, or “Atoms for War.”

The speech came only eight years after the invention of the atomic bomb, at a time when the U.S. was anxious to keep these new and frightening weapons from proliferating around the world. Strange as it sounds, President Eisenhower viewed his “Atoms for Peace” strategy partly as a form of arms control.

“He thought that sharing nuclear technology for peaceful purposes would reduce the incentives of countries to want to make nuclear bombs,” says Matthew Fuhrmann, a political science professor at Texas A&M University and author of Atomic Assistance: How “Atoms for Peace” Programs Cause Nuclear Insecurity. ……..

the U.S. provided nuclear assistance to countries it wanted to influence, such as Israel, India, Pakistan, and Iran.

At the time, the U.S. was closely allied with Iran’s Shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. So closely, in fact, that when Iran toppled the Shah’s monarchy and democratically elected a prime minister, the CIA staged a 1953 coup d’état that put the Shah back in power. Part of the reason the U.S. valued Iran as an ally was because of its strategic location bordering the Soviet Union. During the early part of the Cold War, the U.S. set up a base in Iran to monitor Soviet activity.

In this context, the United States’ nuclear cooperation with Iran “was, in part, a means to shore up the relationship between those countries,” Fuhrmann says. The cooperation lasted until 1979, when the the Iranian Revolution ousted the Shah and the U.S. lost the country as an ally.

All of the nuclear technology the U.S. provided Iran during those years was supposed to be for peaceful nuclear development. But the “Atoms for Peace” strategy ended up having some unintended consequences.

“A lot of that infrastructure could also be used to produce plutonium or weapons-grade, highly-enriched uranium, which are the two critical materials you need to make nuclear bombs,” Fuhrmann says. In effect, the U.S. laid the foundations for the Iranian nuclear weapons program.

Iran first became seriously interested in creating nuclear weapons during the 1980s Iran-Iraq War. It tried unsuccessfully to develop them in the late ‘90s and early 2000s. Still, Iranian nuclear development remains an international concern, especially now that Trump has withdrawn the U.S. from the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

In the weeks leading up to Trump’s decision, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tried to convince him to exit the deal by arguing that Iran was still pursuing nuclear weapons. Other policy experts and world leaders have rejected this claim, and Fuhrmann says he’s seen no evidence that “Iran has violated the deal, or that Iran has done anything since 2003 … to build nuclear bombs.”

However, now that the U.S. has withdrawn from the nuclear deal, Fuhrmann worries “Iran is going to have incentives to do those things, whereas under the deal, those incentives were greatly reduced.” https://www.history.com/news/iran-nuclear-weapons-eisenhower-atoms-for-peace

May 11, 2018 Posted by | history, Iran, USA | Leave a comment

The nuclear weapons that USA lost in the 1950s and 60s

The US Has Lost Six Nuclear Weapons. So Where The Hell Are They? http://www.iflscience.com/technology/the-us-has-lost-six-nuclear-weapons-so-where-the-hell-are-they/ Tom Hale, 4 May 18  Keys, phones, headphones, socks, thermonuclear weapons – some things just always seem to go missing. Believe it or not,

the US has lost at least six atomic bombs or weapons-grade nuclear material since the Cold War.

Not only that, but the US is responsible for at least 32 documented instances of a nuclear weapons accident, known as a “Broken Arrow” in military lingo. These atomic-grade mishaps can involve an accidental launching or detonation, theft, or loss – yep loss – of a nuclear weapon.

February 13, 1950

The first of these unlikely instances occurred in 1950, less than five years after the first atomic bomb was detonated. In a mock nuclear strike against the Soviet Union, a US B-36 bomber en route from Alaska to Texas began to experience engine trouble. An icy landing and stuttering engine  meant the landing was going to be near-impossible, so the crew jettisoned the plane’s Mark 4 nuclear bomb over the Pacific. The crew witnessed a flash, a bang, and a sound wave.

The military claim the mock-up bomb was filled with “just” uranium and TNT but no plutonium, so it wasn’t capable of a nuclear explosion. Nevertheless, the uranium has never been recovered.

March 10, 1956

On March 10, a Boeing B-47 Stratojet set off from MacDill Air Force Base Florida for a non-stop flight to Morocco with “two nuclear capsules” onboard. The jet was scheduled for its second mid-flight refueling over the Mediterranean Sea, but it never made contact. No trace of the jet or the nuclear material was ever found again.

February 5, 1958

In the early hours of February 5, 1958, a B-47 bomber with a 3,400-kilogram (7,500-pound) Mark 15 nuclear bomb on board accidentally collided with an F-86 aircraft during a simulated combat mission. The battered and bruised bomber attempted to land numerous times, but to no avail. Eventually, they made the decision to jettison the bomb into the mouth of the Savannah River near Savannah, Georgia, to make the landing possible. Luckily for them, the plane successfully landed and the bomb did not detonate. However, it has remained “irretrievably lost” to this day.

January 24, 1961

On January 24, 1961, the wing of a B-52 bomber split apart while on an alert mission above Goldsboro, North Carolina. Onboard were two 24-megaton nuclear bombs. One of these successfully deployed its emergency parachute, while the other fell and crashed to the ground. It’s believed the unexploded bomb smashed into farmland around the town, but it has never been recovered. In 2012, North Carolina put up a sign near the supposed crash site to commemorate the incident.

December 5, 1965

An A-4E Skyhawk aircraft loaded with a nuclear weapon rolled off the back off an aircraft carrier, USS Ticonderoga, stationed in the Philippine Sea near Japan. The plane, pilot, and nuclear bomb have never been found.

In 1989, the US eventually admitted their bomb was still laying in the seabed around 128 kilometers (80 miles) from a small Japanese island. Needless to say, the Japanese government and environmental groups were pretty pissed about it.

?, 1968

At some point during the Spring of 1968, the US military lost some kind of nuclear weapon. The Pentagon still keeps information about the incident tightly under wraps. However, some have speculated that the incident refers to the nuclear-powered Scorpion submarine. In May 1968, the attack submarine went missing along with its 99-strong crew in the Atlantic Ocean after being sent on a secret mission to spy on the Soviet navy. This, however, remains conjecture.

May 5, 2018 Posted by | history, Reference, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The strategies for secrecy in America’s Manhattan nuclear bomb project

How the Manhattan Project’s Nuclear Suburb Stayed Secret, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, once home to 75,000, went up fast and under the radar. But it was built to last, too. Atlas Obscura ,  , MAY 03, 2018  “…… Oak Ridge isn’t like most of the country’s other suburbs. The town was conceived and built by the United States government in the early 1940s as base for uranium and plutonium work, as part of the Manhattan Project. As the nuclear effort marched along, the town grew, too. By 1945, a dense suburb had taken shape, home to roughly 75,000 people. At war’s end, Oak Ridge was the fifth-largest city in the state—and all along, it was supposed to be a secret.

May 5, 2018 Posted by | history, Reference, secrets,lies and civil liberties, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The secret cities behind the atom bomb 

Off the map: the secret cities behind the atom bomb  In 1943, three ordinary-looking US cities were constructed at record speed – but left off all maps. They had an extraordinary purpose: to create nuclear weapons as part of the Manhattan project, Guardian, by David Smith in Washington , 3 May 18

Something strange happened in the US state of Tennessee in 1943. Thousands of young workers poured into a 59,000-acre site about 25 miles west of Knoxville. Vast quantities of materials followed, never to re-emerge. Houses and other facilities were built with record speed. Yet officially Oak Ridge did not exist during the war and could not be found on any map.

What was going on there? Very few people knew at the time, even among the residents. The answer was that this was the starting block in a race against Adolf Hitler to build the atom bomb.

Oak Ridge was one of three “secret cities” of the Manhattan Project, along with Los Alamos in New Mexico and Hanford/Richland in Washington state.

More than 125,000 scientists, technicians and support staff occupied the three cities by the end of the war. There is a photo of a Santa Claus being frisked at the gates of Oak Ridge and a local newsletter stamped “restricted”. Anyone aged 12 or over had to wear an ID badge. The use of words such as “atomic” or “uranium” was taboo lest it tip off the enemy.

Yet some social aspects were all too familiar: even these planned communities, which tried to offer residents an idyllic lifestyle and would influence postwar urban construction and design in America, replicated the racial segregation of the era.

More than 125,000 scientists, technicians and support staff occupied the three cities by the end of the war. There is a photo of a Santa Claus being frisked at the gates of Oak Ridge and a local newsletter stamped “restricted”. Anyone aged 12 or over had to wear an ID badge. The use of words such as “atomic” or “uranium” was taboo lest it tip off the enemy.

Yet some social aspects were all too familiar: even these planned communities, which tried to offer residents an idyllic lifestyle and would influence postwar urban construction and design in America, replicated the racial segregation of the era.

It was late 1942, less than a year after the US had entered the second world war, when the US Army Corps of Engineers quietly began acquiring vast tracts of land in remote areas of three states. The few residents of these areas were summarily evicted and their houses demolished.

Soon thousands of young workers arrived from far and wide, initially occupying tents and other makeshift shelters within the newly designated military reservations. Shielded from public view by natural barriers and security fences, the workers quickly erected hundreds of buildings, ranging from prefabricated houses to industrial structures of unprecedented scale.

…….. Built from scratch in half a year to produce fuel for atomic bombs, Oak Ridge was initially conceived as a town for 13,000 people but grew to 75,000 by the end of the war, the biggest of the secret cities.

……. When the US dropped the atom bomb on Hiroshima, Japan, in 1945, killing tens of thousands of people to force an end to the war, the city’s secret was out. Many residents celebrated. One local newspaper declared: “Atomic super-bomb, made at Oak Ridge, strikes Japan.” Another said: “Oak Ridge Attacks Japanese … Workers thrill as atomic bomb secret breaks; press and radio stories describe ‘fantastically powerful’ weapon; expected to save many lives.”

Not everyone was jubilant, however. Mary Lowe Michel, a typist in Oak Ridge, is quoted in the exhibition as saying: “The night that the news broke that the bombs had been dropped, there was [sic] joyous occasions in the streets, hugging and kissing and dancing and live music and singing that went on for hours and hours. But it bothered me to know that I, in my very small way, had participated in such a thing, and I sat in my dorm room and cried.”……https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2018/may/03/off-the-map-the-secret-cities-behind-the-atom-bomb-manhattan-project

 

May 4, 2018 Posted by | history, USA | Leave a comment

The accidental dropping of two nuclear bombs, on North Carolina

The U.S. Once Dropped Two Nuclear Bombs on North Carolina by Accident https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/nuclear-bombs-dropped-on-north-carolinaBy sheer luck, neither detonated.,  , APRIL 26, 2018

April 27, 2018 Posted by | history, incidents, USA | Leave a comment

Chernobyl: surviving nuclear liquidators meet, to remember

Liquidators at Chernobyl NPP gather in Moscow to commemorate anniversary of Chernobyl nuclear disaster https://www.tvr.by/eng/news/obshchestvo/v_moskve_v_godovshchinu_katastrofy_na_chernobylskoy_aes_sobralis_likvidatory_radiatsionnoy_avarii_/, 26 Apr 18

In Moscow, the liquidators of the nuclear accident at the Chernobyl NPP gathered together to commemorate the anniversary of the disaster.

The meeting took place in a small museum, which has been collecting archive photos and documents of those events for 10 years now. Employees of the Belarusian embassy in Moscow donated photos from the last expedition to the exclusion zone as a gift to the museum.

Over 600,000 people participated in the liquidation of the consequences of the accident. As a result of the accident, a radioactive cloud spread radioactive materials over most of Europe. The most affected territories are those of Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia.

April 27, 2018 Posted by | history, Ukraine | Leave a comment

March 28 – anniversary of Three Mile Island nuclear disaster and the lies about “no-one died”

Too little information clouds real impact of TMI, https://beyondnuclearinternational.org/2018/03/25/too-little-information-clouds-real-impact-of-tmi/ By Beyond Nuclear staff

The disaster at Unit 2 of the Three Mile Island (TMI) nuclear power plant near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, began on March 28, 1979. Today, 39 years later, the reality, of what really happened, and how many people it harmed, remains cloaked in mystery and misinformation. Unlike the popular catchphrase, TMI is a story of too little information.

What happened?

The two unit Three Mile Island nuclear power plant sits on an island in the middle of the Susquehanna River, just ten miles southeast of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. TMI Unit 2 was running at full power, but had been commercially operational for just 88 days when, at 4 A.M. on Wednesday, March 28, 1979, it experienced either a mechanical or electrical failure that caused the turbine-generator and the nuclear reactor to automatically shut down.

The pressure and temperature in the reactor began to increase, but when a relief valve on top of the reactor’s primary coolant pressurizer stuck open, malfunctioning instrumentation indicated that the valve had shut. While cooling water emptied out of the reactor, operators mistakenly reduced the amount of cooling water flowing into the core, leading to the partial meltdown.

Workers deliberately and repeatedly vented radioactive gas over several days to relieve pressure and save the containment structure. Then came fears of a hydrogen explosion. But by April 1, when President Jimmy Carter arrived at the site, that crisis had been averted, and by April 27 the now destroyed reactor was put into “cold shutdown.” TMI-2 was finished. But its deadly legacy was to last decades.

How much radiation got out?

Within hours of the beginning of the nuclear disaster, onsite radiation monitors went off the scale because radiation levels exceeded their measurement capacity. There were only a few offsite radiation monitors operating that day. Subsequent examination of human blood, and of anomalies in animals and plants, suggest that significant levels of radiation were released.

In the days following the TMI meltdown, hundreds of local residents reported the same acute radiation exposure symptoms as victims of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings — nausea and vomiting, severe fatigue, diarrhea, hair loss and graying, and a radiation-induced reddening of the skin. For example, Marie Holowka, a dairy farmer near TMI, recalled as she left the milkhouse that morning that, outside, “it was so blue, I couldn’t see ten feet ahead of myself.” There was a “copper taste” in the air. She was later treated for thyroid problems. Given the absence of monitors and the paucity of evidence, the only real radiation meters were the people of Three Mile Island.

“No one died:” The biggest lie


Given that exposure to ionizing radiation is medically understood to cause diseases like cancer which can be fatal, there is no way to definitively state that “no one died at TMI” or later developed cancers. The opposite is far more likely to be true.

Estimates can be complicated by the long latency period for illnesses caused by exposure to radiation. Sometimes exposed populations move away and cannot be tracked. Nevertheless, long after a catastrophic radiation release, disease can still manifest, both from the initial radiation exposure and from slow environmental poisoning, as the radionuclides released by the disaster are ingested or inhaled for many generations.

The only independent study that looked at the aftermath of TMI was conducted by the late Dr. Stephen Wing and his team at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. They looked at radiation-specific markers in residents’ blood, called biomarkers, to assess dose rather than relying solely on industry measured (or mis-measured as the case was) radiation emissions. The team concluded that lung cancer and leukemia rates were two to 10 times higher downwind of the Three Mile Island reactor than upwind.

Harm to animals and plants

After the radiation release from Three Mile Island, a number of plants exhibited strange mutations including extra large leaves (gigantism), double-headed blossoms and other anomalies. These plant anomalies were documented over decades by Mary Osborn, a local resident who conducted meticulous plant research and is a founder of Three Mile Island Alert. (Her deformed rose is pictured at the top of this story.)

Robert Weber, a Mechanicsburg veterinarian, reported a 10% increase in stillbirths, and a marked increase in the need for Cesarean Sections among sheep, goats and pigs in 1979, 1980, and 1981 in a 15-mile area around the TMI site. Dr. Weber also reported significant increases in the cancer rate among animals with shorter life spans such as dogs and cats. These findings are consistent with research around Chernobyl.

Evacuation failure

During the licensing phase of the construction and operation of TMI, a nuclear disaster was considered unthinkable. Consequently, emergency plans were practically non-existent when TMI began its meltdown. Emergency planning officials were repeatedly misinformed by TMI owner, Metropolitan Edison, on the disaster’s progression, and kept in the dark about the need for public protective actions in the early days at TMI.

On March 30, Pennsylvania Governor Richard Thornburgh finally “advised” that pregnant women and pre-school age children voluntarily evacuate a five-mile perimeter around TMI, an anticipated target population of 3,500 people. Instead, approximately 200,000 people spontaneously evacuated from a 25-mile perimeter.

TMI demonstrated that managing human responses during a nuclear catastrophe is not realistic and provokes unique human behavior not comparable to any other hazard.

Competing loyalties between work duty and personal family caused a significant number of staffing problems for various emergency response roles. As the crisis intensified, more emergency workers reported late or not at all.

Doctors, nurses and technicians in hospitals beyond the five-mile perimeter and out to 25 miles, spontaneously evacuated emergency rooms and their patients. Pennsylvania National Guard, nuclear power plant workers, school teachers and bus drivers assigned to accompany their students, abandoned their roles for family obligations. A similar response could be expected in the same situation today.

You can find our full investigation — The Truth About Three Mile Island — on our website. It is free to download and reprint.

 

March 27, 2018 Posted by | history, incidents, Reference | Leave a comment

Death of Arthur Holly Compton, of the Manhattan Project

Paul Waldon Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste Dump In Flinders Ranges SA, 15 Mar 18  Today the 15th of March is another red letter day in the nuclear arena with the 56th anniversary of the death of Arthur Holly Compton, surprisingly (very surprisingly) the only one of the “Big Four” with the Manhattan project who did NOT die of cancer due to his reported time exposed to radioactivity.

However the other three Robert J Oppenheimer, Ernest Orlando Lawrence, and Enrico Fermi went to their graves, victims of cancer fueled by their exposure to radiation in a nuclear industry despite all precautions taken. The commonality of nuclear death doesn’t discriminate between engineers, scientists, physicists and the grunts at the front line, though its the grunts that fall short of compensation, acknowledgement, or appreciation of their service.

We have all heard of the death of Marie Curie, physicist and her lead lined coffin and radioactive grave site, Harry K Daghnian Jr, and Louis Slotin who both died of acute radiation sickness from exposure while serving on the Manhattan project, the death of Los Alamos chemical operator Cecil Kelley, and seven engineering crew aboard the K-19 sub from radioactive exposure, only to name but a few, however the nuclear industry spends time and money debunking the rights of people afflicted by hard to prove nuclear contamination in this dangerous industry. Nuclear fueled brigandage of the planet does NOT have a conscience. https://www.facebook.com/groups/344452605899556/

March 17, 2018 Posted by | history, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

A forgotten nuclear disaster? 1985 Russian submarine accident

In 1985, a Russian Submarine Created an Atomic Disaster. The Radiation Lingers to This Day.  Kyle Mizokami, 27 Feb 18, 

According to Nuclear Risks, the accident scene was heavily contaminated with radioactivity. Gamma ray radiation was not particularly bad; at an exposure rate of five millisieverts per hour, it was the equivalent of getting a chest CT scan every hour. However, the explosion also released 259 petabecquerels of radioactive particles, including twenty-nine gigabecquerels of iodine-131, a known cause of cancer. This bode very badly for the emergency cleanup crews, especially firefighters who needed to get close to the explosion site, and the nearby village of Shkotovo-22. Forty-nine members of the cleanup crew displayed symptoms of radiation sickness, ten of them displaying acute symptoms.

In 1985, a Soviet submarine undergoing a delicate refueling procedure experienced a freak accident that killed ten naval personnel. The fuel involved was not diesel, but nuclear, and the resulting environmental disaster contaminated the area with dangerous, lasting radiation. The incident, which remained secret until after the demise of the USSR itself, was one of many nuclear accidents the Soviet Navy experienced during the Cold War.

The Soviet Union’s nuclear war planners had a difficult time targeting the United States. While the United States virtually encircled the enormous socialist country with nuclear missiles in countries such as Turkey and Japan, the Western Hemisphere offered no refuge for Soviet deployments in-kind.

One solution was the early development of nuclear cruise missile submarines. These submarines, known as the Echo I and Echo II classes, were equipped with six and eight P-5 “Pyatyorka” nuclear land attack cruise missiles, respectively. Nicknamed “Shaddock” by NATO, the P-5 was a subsonic missile with a range of 310 miles and 200- or 350-kiloton nuclear warhead. The P-5 had a circular error probable of 1.86 miles, meaning half of the missiles aimed at a target would land within that distance, while the other half would land farther away.

The missiles were stored in large horizontal silos along the deck of the submarine. In order to launch a P-5 missile, the submarine would surface, deploy and activate a tracking radar, then feed guidance information to the missile while it flew at high altitude. The system was imperfect—the command link was vulnerable to jamming, and the submarine needed to remain on the surface, helpless against patrol aircraft and ships, until the missile reached the target. Eventually the P-5 missiles were withdrawn and the P-5 missile was replaced with the P-6, a similar weapon but one with its own radar seeker for attacking U.S. aircraft carriers.

The introduction of the P-6 gave the Echo II a new lease on life.  ……

On August 10, the submarine was in the process of being refueled. Reportedly, the reactor lid—complete with new nuclear fuel rods—was lifted as part of the process. A beam was placed over the lid to prevent it from being lifted any higher, but incompetent handling apparently resulted in the rods being lifted too high into the air. (One account has a wave generated by a passing motor torpedo boat rocking the submarine in its berth, also raising the rods too high.) This resulted in the starboard reactor achieving critical mass, followed by a chain reaction and explosion.

The explosion blew out the reactor’s twelve-ton lid—and fuel rods—and ruptured the pressure hull. The reactor core was destroyed, and eight officers and two enlisted men standing nearby were killed instantly. A the blast threw debris was thrown into the air, and a plume of fallout 650 meters wide by 3.5 kilometers long traveled downwind on the Dunay Peninsula. More debris and the isotope Cobalt-60 was thrown overboard and onto the nearby docks.

According to Nuclear Risks, the accident scene was heavily contaminated with radioactivity. Gamma ray radiation was not particularly bad; at an exposure rate of five millisieverts per hour, it was the equivalent of getting a chest CT scan every hour. However, the explosion also released 259 petabecquerels of radioactive particles, including twenty-nine gigabecquerels of iodine-131, a known cause of cancer. This bode very badly for the emergency cleanup crews, especially firefighters who needed to get close to the explosion site, and the nearby village of Shkotovo-22. Forty-nine members of the cleanup crew displayed symptoms of radiation sickness, ten of them displaying acute symptoms. …….

 The K-431 incident was one of several involving Soviet submarine reactors. Ten Soviet submarines experienced nuclear accidents, and one other, K-11, also suffered a refueling criticality….http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/1985-russian-submarine-created-atomic-disaster-the-radiation-24669

 

February 27, 2018 Posted by | history, incidents, Russia | Leave a comment

Britain’s Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament has achieved much, and going strong today

60 years ago, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament was founded. Here’s what we’ve achieved over the decades

Our core objective of UK nuclear disarmament remains as yet unfulfilled. But it is clear in retrospect how CND’s campaigning – and that of its international partners – has affected government policy and decision-making  The Independent, UK, Kate Hudson  @CNDuk  17 Feb 18,  “………From its origins in local anti-testing groups – largely run by women concerned about hugely increased levels of radioactive strontium-90 in their children’s milk – CND burst onto the political scene 17 February 1958. Attempts to move Labour to an anti-nuclear position had failed in 1957, leading intellectuals and campaigners to take matters into their own hands, calling for a mass movement to defeat Britain’s bomb. The result was a meeting of thousands of people at Central Hall in Westminster, London, filled to overflowing………

The context of CND’s campaigns has changed continually: from the Cuban missile crisis to the war on Vietnam;   from the height of the Cold War to détente; from the “evil empire” of Ronald Reagan to the end of the Cold War; from the aggression of Bush and Blair through to the great dangers presented by Trump and his plans for “usable” nuclear weapons.

 Our work throughout has focused on changing government policy, using diverse – but always peaceful – methods: from the mass protests at Aldermaston and Greenham Common, to our central role in post 9/11 anti-war campaigning, to today’s struggle to prevent Trident replacement and win support for the United Nations’ global nuclear ban treaty.
 
Our core objective of UK nuclear disarmament remains as yet unfulfilled. But it is clear in retrospect how CND’s campaigning – and that of its international partners – has affected government policy and decision-making, both at home and internationally. Reading government documents and diaries years later, one can see how the pressure of public opinion and mass mobilisation really does have an impact, and each generation of CND has played a part in that. The banning of nuclear tests in the atmosphere is one very important example; another is the abandoning of the neutron bomb (designed to kill people while leaving property intact) or Nixon’s pulling back from using nukes on Vietnam.
 
Above all, we have helped instil a sense in the popular consciousness – and thereby in that of our political leaders – that the use of nuclear weapons would be a catastrophe, an unthinkable tragedy. …..http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/campaign-nuclear-disarmament-cnd-weapons-trident-cold-war-hydrogen-bomb-a8215281.html

February 19, 2018 Posted by | history, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Because the aftermath of a real nuclear war is unthinkable, we’ve largely refused to think about it.

The inevitable nuclear war, The Indiana Gazette,  John M. Crisp, Feb 13, 2018 

We don’t do enough thinking about catastrophe, so let’s pause to note that everything on our national political stage — tax reform, immigration, health care, the Mueller investigation — and in our private lives, for that matter, occurs against two apocalyptic backdrops: climate change and nuclear war.

That’s too much to think about in 700 words, so let’s allow climate change to simmer on the back burner for a while. Despite already catastrophic effects, we’re doing very little about it, anyway; on the contrary, we’ve elected national leadership that doesn’t take it seriously.

So let’s consider instead the possibility of nuclear war:……..

Current conditions are reminiscent of the world of 1913, just prior to the start of the First World War:

The Great War didn’t have a proximate cause, and historians still puzzle over why it happened at all. How could such a cataclysmic worldwide event be triggered by an isolated assassination in Sarajevo in 1914?

The answer resides in the tensions and rivalries among the great international powers of the day and in their response to them, which was to prepare for war. For example, in 1900 Germany decided to build a fleet to match Britain’s Royal Navy, and by 1906 a full-fledged race for battleship superiority was underway……

in 1913 war was a matter of horses and swords and single-shot, bolt-action rifles. Certainly, soldiers got hurt and many died, but Europe didn’t have the collective imagination to envision the devastation of a modern war fought with modern weapons. Few could have predicted 40 million casualties in just four years.

 We suffer from both of these conditions today: We’ve never really absorbed the stark lessons of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and we’ve failed to extrapolate the devastation of the two comparatively modest nuclear weapons discharged in 1945 to a significant exchange of today’s much more powerful weapons.

Because the aftermath of a real nuclear war is unthinkable, we’ve largely refused to think about it.

Further, the weapons themselves threaten our capacity to control them. Nuclear weapons are precarious, as indicated by the recent panic in Honolulu when a defense drill got out of hand. And while we might hope that the use of nuclear weapons could be constrained by rationality, somehow in our country we’ve allowed the so-called nuclear football to fall into the hands of a man who is characterized by emotion, insecurity, impulse and bluster. And then there’s Kim Jong-un.

One other factor works against us, just as it did in 1913: Next year’s Pentagon budget will be $716 billion, the largest ever. Weapons demand to be used. We’ve never invented a weapon that we’ve declined to use. All of this implies that a nuclear war is inevitable, and the ensuing calamity will be unimaginable. The only silver lining is that the devastation of climate change will fade into insignificance.

February 14, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, history | Leave a comment

Dwight D Eisenhower was the granddaddy of hard-core nuclearism in the world tday

Ken, Eisenhower was the grandaddy of hard-core nuclearism in the world today. He was the grandaddy of the military-industrial complex, in spite of the propaganda, put out.

The US started with 1000 nuclear waepons, when he came in. Ended with 22,000, when he came out. He did the most open air, nuclear-bomb testing.

He set the fateful course for using inefficient, deadly nuclear reactors to generate energy. He had a cabinet of millionaires. He set the human race on the path of it’s own destruction. A true evil monky general, as Dr Caldicott says, if there ever was one.  http://therealnews.com/t2/story:20753:Undoing-the-New-Deal%3A–Eisenhower-Builds-an-Arsenal-of-Nuclear-Weapons-and-a-Cabinet-of-Millionair

February 12, 2018 Posted by | history, weapons and war, World | Leave a comment

USA jet -with 4 nuclear bombs on board – crashed in Greenland 50 years ago

50 years ago, a US military jet crashed in Greenland – with 4 nuclear bombs on board   The Conversation, Timothy J. Jorgensen
Director of the Health Physics and Radiation Protection Graduate Program and Associate Professor of Radiation Medicine, Georgetown University  January 18, 2018     
Fifty years ago, on Jan. 21, 1968, the Cold War grew significantly colder. It was on this day that an American B-52G Stratofortress bomber, carrying four nuclear bombs, crashed onto the sea ice of Wolstenholme Fjord in the northwest corner of Greenland, one of the coldest places on Earth. Greenland is part of the Kingdom of Denmark, and the Danes were not pleased.
The bomber – call sign HOBO 28 – had crashed due to human error……
 The Thule crash revealed that the United States had actually been routinely flying planes carrying nuclear bombs over Greenland, and one of those illicit flights had now resulted in the radioactive contamination of a fjord.

The radioactivity was released because the nuclear warheads had been compromised. The impact from the crash and the subsequent fire had broken open the weapons and released their radioactive contents, but luckily, there was no nuclear detonation.

To be specific, HOBO 28’s nuclear weapons were actually hydrogen bombs. As I explain in my book, “Strange Glow: The Story of Radiation,” a hydrogen bomb (or H-bomb) is a second-generation type of nuclear weapon that is much more powerful than the two atomic bombsdropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Those two bombs were “fission” bombs – bombs that get their energy from the splitting (fission) of very large atoms (such as uranium and plutonium) into smaller atoms.

In contrast, HOBO 28’s bombs were fusion bombs – bombs that get their energy from the union (fusion) of the very small nuclei of hydrogen atoms. Each of the four Mark 28 F1 hydrogen bombs that HOBO 28 carried were nearly 100 times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima (1,400 kilotons versus 15 kilotons).

Fusion bombs release so much more energy than fission bombs that it’s hard to comprehend. For example, if a fission bomb like Hiroshima’s were dropped on the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., it’s likely that the White House (about 1.5 miles away) would suffer little direct damage. In contrast, if just one of the Mark 28 F1 hydrogen bombs were dropped on the Capitol building, it would destroy the White House as well as everything else in Washington, D.C. (a destructive radius of about 7.5 miles). It is for this reason that North Korea’s recent claim of achieving hydrogen bomb capabilities is so very worrisome.

Nuclear Explosion Power Comparison

After the crash, the United States and Denmark had very different ideas about how to deal with HOBO 28’s wreckage and radioactivity. The U.S. wanted to just let the bomber wreckage sink into the fjord and remain there, but Denmark wouldn’t allow that. Denmark wanted all the wreckage gathered up immediately and moved, along with all of the radioactively contaminated ice, to the United States. Since the fate of the Thule Air Base hung in the balance, the U.S. agreed to Denmark’s demands……… https://theconversation.com/50-years-ago-a-us-military-jet-crashed-in-greenland-with-4-nuclear-bombs-on-board-87155

January 19, 2018 Posted by | ARCTIC, history, incidents, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

North Korean people have good reason to hate the American government

Why Do North Koreans Hate The American Government,    http://www.ronpaullibertyreport.com/archives/why-do-north-koreans-hate-the-american-governmentBy Liberty Report Staff,5 May 2017

Did you stop for a second and ask yourself why the North Koreans hate the American government?
Could it (maybe) be that the North Koreans hate the American government’s foreign policy?

​The Intercept has provided some startling facts about America’s terrible unconstitutional entry into a foreign Civil War on the other side of the globe in 1950:

How many Americans, for example, are aware of the fact that U.S. planes dropped on the Korean peninsula more bombs — 635,000 tons — and napalm — 32,557 tons — than during the entire Pacific campaign against the Japanese during World War II?

How many Americans know that “over a period of three years or so,” to quote Air Force Gen. Curtis LeMay, head of the Strategic Air Command during the Korean War, “we killed off … 20 percent of the population”?

Twenty. Percent. For a point of comparison, the Nazis exterminated 20 percent of Poland’s pre-World War II population. According to LeMay, “We went over there and fought the war and eventually burned down every town in North Korea.”

Every. Town. More than 3 million civilians are believed to have been killed in the fighting, the vast majority of them in the north.

How many Americans are familiar with the statements of Secretary of State Dean Rusk or Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas? Rusk, who was a State Department official in charge of Far Eastern affairs during the Korean War, would later admit that the United States bombed “every brick that was standing on top of another, everything that moved.” American pilots, he noted, “were just bombing the heck out of North Korea.”

Douglas visited Korea in the summer of 1952 and was stunned by the “misery, disease, pain and suffering, starvation” that had been “compounded” by air strikes. U.S. warplanes, having run out of military targets, had bombed farms, dams, factories, and hospitals. “I had seen the war-battered cities of Europe,” the Supreme Court justice confessed, “but I had not seen devastation until I had seen Korea.”

How many Americans have ever come across Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s unhinged plan to win the war against North Korea in just 10 days? MacArthur, who led the United Nations Command during the conflict, wanted to drop “between 30 and 50 atomic bombs … strung across the neck of Manchuria” that would have “spread behind us … a belt of radioactive cobalt.”

Oh there’s more…

Read the whole thing at The Intercept.

January 19, 2018 Posted by | history, North Korea, psychology - mental health, weapons and war | Leave a comment