Pucker-factor way up!

atomic_bomb_explosionFriends, the Villainous VooDoo wasn’t around in 1961 but when I read that a U.S. atom bomb nearly exploded in over North Carolina that would have been 260 times more powerful than the device that devastated Hiroshima, I almost shat myself.

The Guardian newspaper said a 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.  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.

Three of four safety mechanisms designed to prevent unintended detonation failed to operate properly in the 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.  Holy $hit!  Let’s hope the modern US nuclear arsenal is protected by more than just a few toggle switches…

SOURCE – Huffington Post

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