Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The cold wars missing atom bombs

And, they ain't all Russian bombs!!!!


In a 1968 plane crash, the US military lost an atom bomb in Greenland's Arctic ice. But this was no isolated case. Up to 50 nuclear warheads are believed to have gone missing during the Cold War, and not all of them are in unpopulated areas.


  1. Okie Dokie: Lets wade in on this one.
    Firstly there is nothing good to be said on having let alone losing a nuclear weapon, but if one is lost then let it be lost as it poses a minimum threat if left alone.

    What people don't understand is that a nuclear weapon is both a very simple and yet a very complex instrument. Simple insofar as it’s just a matter of making a large amount of fissionable material into a very small amount, it’s like taking a volley balls worth of uranium or plutonium and compressing it down to a golf balls worth in something like a millions of a second. This is done with a relatively huge amount of high explosive and takes more than a split second timing..

    Firstly let it be said that a nuclear bomb requires an enormous amount of maintenance to ensure its viability, it’s not just a matter of putting it together and then saying “oh yeah” it will be there when we need it. Wires, circuits and such degrade rapidly when bombarded with ionizing radiation, and there is no way to totally shield these components due to space and weight limitations and these need to be replaced at regular intervals.

    Now if a nuclear bomb is dropped somewhere, say in Greenland and buries it self without the triggers detonating, I say good, at the very least it’s one out of the arsenal. However if the triggers detonate then we have a real mess on our hands, a so-called dirty bomb spreading crap allover the place. If however the triggers do not detonate the uranium or plutonium will just sit there and cook everything within, all things considered a relatively short range for, oh well an eternity.

    Having said this, if the Russian military or US have not been able to recover these warheads. (as these are REALLY EXPENSIVE) I personally doubt that they will be found by some slack assed (dare I say it terrorist group) and pose in the grand scheme of things a very small threat.

    Let me make this perfectly clear. In my career as a Radio Microbiologist I have worked with radiation of many types for a long time in the largest nuclear research lab in Canada. This is in no way said to dismiss the potential danger or hazard these horrors present but rather to put them into perspective. I would sooner have them buried under the ice or under miles of water than in someone’s back yard. Hell I would just as soon have them all viable and set to detonate at 100% yield in Crawford Texas in about six months, but that’s just me.

    By the by 100% yield equals NO radio active fallout as it’s all converted to pure energy, and just a really big bang. Just think about this for a moment, in the bomb that was dropped on Nagasaki less than one kilogram of the 44 kilograms of uranium 235 housed in the bomb achieved fission. The rest was just blown to flinders and came back to ground as radioactive fallout. Talk about a dirty bomb.

  2. radio microbiologist?
    if you would explain I what that entails that would be great!