Lost nuclear bombs that no one can find + Largest accidental explosion of all time

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The lost nuclear bombs that no one can find

EXCERPTS: . . . the Palomares incident is not the only time a nuclear weapon has been misplaced. There have been at least 32 so-called "broken arrow" accidents – those involving these catastrophically destructive, earth-flattening devices – since 1950. In many cases, the weapons were dropped by mistake or jettisoned during an emergency, then later recovered. But three US bombs have gone missing altogether – they're still out there to this day, lurking in swamps, fields and oceans across the planet.

"We mostly know about the American cases," says Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Non-proliferation Program at the James Martin Center for Non-proliferation Studies, California. He explains that the full list only emerged when a summary prepared by the US Department of Defense was declassified in the 1980s.

Many occurred during the Cold War, when the nation teetered on the precipice of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) with the Soviet Union – and consequently kept airplanes armed with nuclear weapons in the sky at all times from 1960 to 1968, in an operation known as Chrome Dome.

"We don't know as much about other countries. We don't really know anything about the United Kingdom or France, or Russia or China," says Lewis. "So I don't think we have anything like a full accounting."

The Soviet Union's nuclear past is particularly murky – it had amassed a stockpile of 45,000 nuclear weapons as of 1986. There are known cases where the country lost nuclear bombs that have never been retrieved, but unlike with the US incidents, they all occurred on submarines and their locations are known, if inaccessible...

[...] Unfortunately, the three lost bombs still out there today did not meet with such successful recovery efforts. However, the risk of them causing a nuclear explosion is thought to be low. To get to grips with why, it helps to look at how nuclear bombs work.,,

[...] Despite nearly 10 weeks of searching, the Tybee island bomb was declared irretrievably lost on the 16th of April 1958. According to a receipt written by the pilot who dropped it, the weapon did not contain the capsule – it wasn't added before the training exercise. However, some people are concerned that this may not be correct. In 1966, the then-assistant to the Secretary of Defence wrote a letter in which he described the bomb as "complete" – i.e. containing its plutonium core. If this were true, the Mark 15 might still be capable of causing a full thermonuclear explosion.

Today the bomb is thought to be nestled under 5-15ft (1.5-4.6m) of silt on the seabed. In a final report on the weapon published in 2001, the Air Force Nuclear Weapons And Counterproliferation Agency concluded that if the conventional explosives inside are still intact, it could pose a "serious explosion hazard" to personnel and the environment – and is therefore best not disturbed, even by a recovery attempt. But can a nuclear weapon explode underwater? (MORE - missing details)

The largest accidental explosion of all-time (Canada)

Accidental, human-caused explosions have occurred numerous times in our history, causing immense pain and suffering. None was more disastrous than the Halifax Explosion of 1917, in which a naval collision with a boat carrying explosive materials set off a blast one-fifth the scale of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. Thousands died and the town was decimated. No North American city has faced comparable devastation since.

EXCERPT: . . . Two vessels, the French steamship Mont-Blanc and the Norwegian cargo ship Imo, collided in the crowded Narrows strait connecting Bedford Basin to Halifax’s upper harbor on the morning of December 6th, 1917, in the final year of World War I. Though the crash occurred at a sluggish speed of just one knot, the force was enough to topple and rupture a few barrels of benzol, a high-octane fuel made of benzene and toluene, onboard the Mont-Blanc. The flammable liquid spilled across the deck and into the hold, which was loaded with explosive materials for the Allied war effort. TNT for armor-piercing shells was also onboard, as was the French-favored explosive compound picric acid, along with fluffy yet flammable guncotton, made by exposing cotton to a mixture of sulfuric acid and nitric acid and commonly used instead of gunpowder in firearms.

[...] About 20 minutes after the initial collision, the explosives in the hold lit up, shredding the ship and triggering a blast wave traveling at 3,300 feet per second. Years later, scientists estimated the explosion at about 2.9 kilotons, one-fifth the explosive force of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. Every building in Halifax within 1.6 miles was destroyed or severely damaged, and 1,600 people were killed instantly, with at least 9,000 more injured. Remains of the Mont-Blanc‘s forward gun were later found 3.5 miles away. A sixty-foot tsunami in the harbor grounded most nearby ships.

Firefighter Billy Wells, who had his clothes torn from his body by the blast wave, recalled the devastation. “The sight was awful, with people hanging out of windows dead. Some with their heads missing, and some thrown onto the overhead telegraph wires.”

Medical care was in disarray after the explosion, but doctors from the surrounding region along with a significant contingent of medical personnel from the northeast U.S. quickly flooded into Halifax, which was unfortunately beset by a large blizzard soon thereafter... (MORE - missing details)

The Ship Explosion That Rocked Canada ... https://youtu.be/3bTJR5DkUKY


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