Tag Archives | Nuclear Bombs

The Next Impending Nuclear Crisis

Immersing oneself in the world of the unidentified flying object can be exciting, illuminating, stimulating, and enlightening. That very same world, however, is filled to the brim with cold-hearted killers that will not think twice about taking you out of circulation, if such action is deemed absolutely necessary. And not all of those cold-hearted killers are human.

Even before the testing of the first atomic bomb, doubts about its use arose among a group of scientists working hard to make the bomb a reality. Albert Einstein, Leo Szilard and Edward Teller were among them. Clearly, these top scientists understood that if their project was successful, as they were sure it would be, there would be an arms race and a new world would be created that would be on the brink of disaster for the foreseeable future. Unfortunately, this vision has come to pass. Since the first nuclear bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan on August 6, 1945, we have seen a continuum of situations or incidents that have placed us on that brink of a worldwide nuclear disaster.… Read the rest

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Almost Everything In ‘Dr. Strangelove’ Was True

Dr strangelove peter sellersRemember Eric Schlosser, the Fast Food Nation author? Well he’s also a great journalist and this week  in The New Yorker he takes a look at the command and control of nuclear weapons, positing that the nuclear craziness of the classic Peter Sellers movie Dr. Strangelove, Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb was actually pretty much true:

This month marks the fiftieth anniversary of Stanley Kubrick’s black comedy about nuclear weapons, “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.” Released on January 29, 1964, the film caused a good deal of controversy. Its plot suggested that a mentally deranged American general could order a nuclear attack on the Soviet Union, without consulting the President. One reviewer described the film as “dangerous … an evil thing about an evil thing.” Another compared it to Soviet propaganda. Although “Strangelove” was clearly a farce, with the comedian Peter Sellers playing three roles, it was criticized for being implausible.

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What it’s Like to Fly Through a Nuclear Bomb

Picture: US DOE (PD)

BoingBoing shares this story from the BBC about Joe Pasquini, a RAF pilot ordered to fly through a nuclear mushroom cloud. Pasquini has suffered numerous bouts of cancer and other health problems, as have his children, with no benefits from the British government.

Here’s a partial description of what Pasquini saw:

“It detonated at 8,000 feet. We had our eyes closed, but even with our eyes closed we could see the light through our eye lids. It took 49 seconds for the light to stop.

“As soon as that happened, we immediately turned back. Fortunately being in the navigating position, I had a little window and I watched the whole thing develop and spread and then start climbing.

“I think I saw the face of God for the first time. It was just incredible, it blew our minds away. These were things that had never been seen before, certainly not by English people.”

There’s plenty more to Pasquini’s tragic tale.Read the rest

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All-American Nuclear Explosion Photos

Photo: US Government Defense Threat Reduction Agency

This photo-article in The Atlantic contains some rare and disturbingly beautiful photos from the era of reckless American nuclear testing.  It includes a few of the really interesting photos taken just a millisecond after detonation, when the explosion is still a relatively tiny ball of plasma.

 

“Since the time of Trinity — the first nuclear explosion in 1945 — nearly 2,000 nuclear tests have been performed. Most of these occurred during the 1960s and 1970s. When the technology was new, tests were frequent and often spectacular, and they led to the development of newer, more deadly weapons. Since the 1990s, there have been efforts to limit the testing of nuclear weapons, including a U.S. moratorium and a U.N. comprehensive test ban treaty. As a result, testing has slowed — though not halted — and there are looming questions about who will take over for those experienced engineers who are now near retirement?

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America’s Nuclear Bomb Facility Shut Down After 82-Year-Old Nun Breaches Security

The task of keeping the government compound safe is handled by a private company–global security giant G4S, also known for a bungling job at the ongoing London Olympics. Via Reuters:

The U.S. government’s only facility for handling, processing and storing weapons-grade uranium has been temporarily shut after anti-nuclear activists, including an 82-year-old nun, breached security fences, government officials said on Thursday.

WSI Oak Ridge, the contractor responsible for protecting the facility at Oak Ridge, Tennessee, is owned by the international security firm G4S, which was at the center of a dispute over security at the London Olympic Games.

Officials said the facility was shut down on Wednesday at least until next week after three activists cut through perimeter fences to reach the outer wall of a building where highly enriched uranium, a key nuclear bomb component, is stored.

Ellen Barfield, a spokeswoman for the activists who called themselves “Transform Now Plowshares,” said three were arrested and charged with vandalism and criminal trespass.

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Five Men Agree To Stand Directly Under An Exploding Nuclear Bomb

A fantastic find from the National Archives by Robert Krulwich for NPR:
They weren't crazy. They weren't being punished. All but one volunteered to do this (which makes it all the more astonishing.) On July 19, 1957, five Air Force officers and one photographer stood together on a patch of ground about 65 miles northwest of Las Vegas. They'd marked the spot "Ground Zero. Population 5" on a hand-lettered sign hammered into the soft ground right next to them. As we watch, directly overhead, two F-89 jets roar into view and one of them shoots off a nuclear missile carrying an atomic warhead. They wait. There is a countdown. 18,500 feet above them, the missile is intercepted and blows up. Which means, these men intentionally stood directly underneath an exploding 2 kiloton nuclear bomb. One of them, at the key moment (he's wearing sunglasses), looks up. You have to see this to believe it.
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Nuclear Weapons On A Street Near You

Mother Jones on how nuclear weapons quietly pass through major U.S. cities:

At a cost of $250 million a year, nearly 600 couriers employed by this secretive agency within the US Department of Energy use some of the nation’s busiest roads.

Yet hiding nukes in plain sight, and rolling them through major metropolises like Atlanta, Denver, and LA, raises a slew of security and environmental concerns, from theft to terrorist attack to radioactive spills. Moreover, in recent years the OST’s nuke truckers have had a spotty track record—including spills, problems with drinking on the job, weapons violations, and even criminal activity.

nukemap

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Nuclear Testing Continues at the Bay Area’s Lawrence Livermore Lab

Via Media Roots: If you think nuclear testing is now only done on computers, think again. Abby and Robbie Martin grew up in Pleasanton, CA, a city located ten miles from the Lawrence Livermore Lab (LLL), a secret nuclear weapons production facility. They initially set out to explore the psychological impacts of taking nuclear testing into virtual space. But as their investigation unfolded, they found that the LLL—in conjunction with Site 300—has built an impressive greenwashing PR campaign cloaking a dark reality.
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A ‘Nuclear Hellstorm’ In Europe?

By Marcin n® ☼ (CC)

By Marcin n® ☼ (CC)

A story from March 25, 2011 by Christopher Hope, Robert Winnett, Holly Watt and Heidi Blake for the Telegraph hints at what we might have to look forward to now that Osama is fish food:

Al-Qaeda terrorists have threatened to unleash a “nuclear hellstorm” on the West if Osama Bin Laden is caught or assassinated, according to documents to be released by the WikiLeaks website, which contain details of the interrogations of more than 700 Guantanamo detainees…

A senior Al-Qaeda commander claimed that the terrorist group has hidden a nuclear bomb in Europe which will be detonated if Bin-Laden is ever caught or assassinated. The US authorities uncovered numerous attempts by Al-Qaeda to obtain nuclear materials and fear that terrorists have already bought uranium. Sheikh Mohammed told interrogators that Al-Qaeda would unleash a “nuclear hellstorm”…

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Watching Nuclear Bombs In The Desert

The New York Times has a jaw-dropping slideshow of photographer George Yoshitake’s images of 1950s nuclear blasts conducted in the Nevada desert and South Pacific. Yoshitake was lucky, or perhaps cursed, to be one of the “atomic cameramen” charged with documenting the detonation of atom bombs — many of the photographers died from exposure to these experiments.

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