Posted by News Express | 21 September 2013 | 3,207 times
The U.S. Air Force nearly detonated an atomic bomb over North Carolina in 1961 that would have been 260 times more powerful than the device that destroyed Hiroshima, according to a declassified report published Friday in The Guardian.
The 1969 document, obtained by investigative journalist Eric Schlosser under the Freedom of Information Act, details the Jan. 23, 1961, B-52 crash near Goldsboro, North Carolina, that saw two Mark 39 hydrogen bombs break up in mid-air.
The report said that one of the two bombs behaved exactly as nuclear weapon is designed to function in wartime and that only a single low-voltage switch prevented detonation. Fallout could have been deposited over Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York City, according to the report.
Parker Jones, a senior engineer in the Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, N.M., wrote in the report that “one simple, dynamo-technology, low voltage switch stood between the United States and a major catastrophe”.
Jones, analyzing a book by physicist Ralph Lapp on the crash, found that the bombs “did not possess adequate safety for the airborne alert role in the B-52” and concluded that the detonation “would have been bad news – in spades.”
•Credit (except headline): New York Post. Photo shows Hiroshima atomic bomb blast.
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