“It’s the Bomb – the nasty, nasty Bob!” Malcolm (Roland Curram) tells Diana (Julie Christie) in Darling in a memorable scene in which they get drunk and stuff themseleevs with goodies shoplifted from Fortnum and Mason’s.
To all of us “Boomers” the “Boom” that really mattered was the atomic one – which was held over our heads the same way the threat by the Republicans to “Shut Down The Government” is today. That was a lot more dire, particularly in regard to the phony “Cuban Missile Crisis” in which the Sainted JFK showed everyone how tough he was – even with that bad back of his.
For several days I thought this was indeed IT. But that didn’t happen. The Soviets, we were informed “backed down.” Wasn’t that nice of them? To date the Japanese have been nuclear wars only victims. Still I wasn’t surprised to see THIS!
LONDON, Sept 20 (Reuters) – A U.S. atom bomb nearly exploded in 1961 over North Carolina that would have been 260 times more powerful than the device that devastated Hiroshima, according to a declassified document published in a British newspaper on Friday.
The Guardian newspaper said the document, obtained by investigative journalist Eric Schlosser under the Freedom of Information Act, gave the first conclusive evidence that the United States came close to a disaster in January 1961.
Wow, imagine that! They didn’t have to use
to get this information.
The incident happened when two Mark 39 hydrogen bombs were accidentally dropped over Goldsboro, North Carolina, after a B-52 bomber broke up in midair.
There has been persistent speculation about how serious the incident was and the U.S. government has repeatedly denied its nuclear arsenal put Americans’ lives at risk through safety flaws, the newspaper said.
But the newly published document said one of the two bombs behaved exactly in the manner of a nuclear weapon in wartime, with its parachute opening and its trigger mechanisms engaged. Only one low-voltage switch prevented a cataclysm.
Fallout could have spread over Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia and even New York City, the paper said, threatening the lives of millions of people.
In the document, Parker Jones, a senior engineer in the Sandia National Laboratories responsible for the mechanical safety of nuclear weapons, concluded that “one simple, dynamo-technology, low-voltage switch stood between the United States and a major catastrophe.”
Jones’ report, titled “Goldsboro Revisited or: How I Learned to Mistrust the H-Bomb,” was written eight years after the accident in which one hydrogen bomb fell into a field near Faro, North Carolina, and the other into a meadow.
Quel image! The Bomb lies dormant as cows quietly graze nearby.
He found that three of four safety mechanisms designed to prevent unintended detonation failed to operate properly in the Faro bomb.
When the bomb hit the ground, a firing signal was sent to the nuclear core of the device and it was only the final, highly vulnerable switch that averted a disaster.
“The MK 39 Mod 2 bomb did not possess adequate safety for the airborne alert role in the B-52,” Jones concluded.
The Guardian said the document was found by Schlosser as he was researching a new book on the nuclear arms race, “Command and Control.”
Take it away Vera!