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B-52 Mistakenly Flies with Nukes Aboard by Michael Hoffman

by : HARRY
Wednesday September 5, 2007 - 22:51
1 comment

Published on Wednesday, September 5, 2007 by Army Times B-52 Mistakenly Flies with Nukes Aboard by Michael Hoffman

A B-52 bomber mistakenly loaded with five nuclear warheads flew from Minot Air Force Base, N.D, to Barksdale Air Force Base, La., on Aug. 30, resulting in an Air Force-wide investigation, according to three officers who asked not to be identified because they were not authorized to discuss the incident.

The B-52 was loaded with Advanced Cruise Missiles, part of a Defense Department effort to decommission 400 of the ACMs. But the nuclear warheads should have been removed at Minot before being transported to Barksdale, the officers said. The missiles were mounted onto the pylons of the bomber’s wings.

Advanced Cruise Missiles carry a W80-1 warhead with a yield of 5 to 150 kilotons and are specifically designed for delivery by B-52 strategic bombers.

Air Force spokesman Lt. Col. Ed Thomas said the transfer was safely conducted and the weapons were in Air Force custody and control at all times.

However, the mistake was not discovered until the B-52 landed at Barskdale, which left the warheads unaccounted for during the approximately 3 1/2 hour flight between the two bases, the officers said.

An investigation headed by Maj. Gen. Douglas Raaberg, director of Air and Space Operations at Air Combat Command Headquarters, was launched immediately to find the cause of the mistake and figure out how it could have been prevented, Thomas said.

Air Force officials wouldn’t officially specify whether nuclear weapons were involved, in accordance with long-standing Defense Department policy regarding nuclear munitions, Thomas said. However, the three officers close to the situation did confirm the warheads were nuclear.

Officials at Minot immediately conducted an inventory of its nuclear weapons after the oversight was discovered, and Thomas said he could confirm that all remaining nuclear weapons at Minot are accounted for.

“Air Force standards are very exacting when it comes to munitions handling,” he said. “The weapons were always in our custody and there was never a danger to the American public.”

At no time was there a risk for a nuclear detonation, even if the B-52 crashed on its way to Barksdale, said Steve Fetter, a former Defense Department official who worked on nuclear weapons policy in 1993-94. A crash could ignite the high explosives associated with the warhead, and possibly cause a leak of the plutonium, but the warheads’ elaborate safeguards would prevent a nuclear detonation from occurring, he said.

“The main risk would have been the way the Air Force responded to any problems with the flight because they would have handled it much differently if they would have known nuclear warheads were onboard,” he said.

The risk of the warheads falling into the hands of rogue nations or terrorists was minimal since the weapons never left the United States, according to Fetter and Michael O’Hanlon, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, an independent research and policy think tank in Washington, D.C.

The crews involved with the mistaken load at the 5th Bomb Wing at Minot have been temporarily decertified from performing their duties involving munitions pending corrective actions or additional training, Thomas said.

Air Combat Command will have a command-wide mission stand down Sept. 14 to review their procedures in response to this oversight, he said.

“The Air Force takes its mission to safeguard weapons seriously,” he said. “No effort will be spared to ensure that the matter is thoroughly and completely investigated.”

©2007 Army Times Publishing Company

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B-52 Mistakenly Flies with Nukes Aboard by Michael Hoffman
Thursday September 6 - 23:25 - Posted by 99256f68e4d1570b...

Nukes on a Plane
Who knew that the threat posed by the American Midwest warranted a nuclear deterrent? Apparently a crew at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota did.
News reports revealed today that, in what can only be described as an unbelievable blunder, Air Force personnel allowed a B-52 bomber to fly from North Dakota to Louisiana last week armed with nuclear cruise missiles. The incident has provoked a massive response from top officials: Defense Secretary Gates and President Bush were notified, an investigation launched, disciplinary action taken against the Air Force personnel involved, an inventory underway of all Air Force nuclear weapons, and a halting of all fighter and bomber flights on Sept. 14.
The incident also raises the question of exactly when, where, and under what conditions US aircraft are allowed to be armed with nuclear weapons. Retired Air Force Major General Don Shepperd remarked in a CNN report on the story that "...the United States had agreed in a Cold War-era treaty not to fly nuclear weapons. ’It appears that what happened was this treaty agreement was violated,’ he said."
The CNN report isn’t clear on what "Cold War-era treaty" he’s referencing. However, an article from the Global Security Newswire provides a more in-depth and convincing explanation:
The risk of flying accidents, however, led the United States to abandon all nuclear-armed bomber flights in 1968, according to Hans Kristensen, a nuclear weapons expert with the Federation of American Scientists.
Until then, the Air Force kept about 12 strategic bombers in the air at all times, with each one usually carrying two to four nuclear gravity bombs. Several accidents occurred (see GSN, June 20, 2005), including a crash in Spain in 1966 and then a crash at an air base in Greenland on Jan. 21, 1968. The plane’s nuclear weapons did not explode in the latter incident, but their radioactive fissile material was dispersed at the crash site.
Defense Secretary Robert McNamara that day ordered the grounding of all nuclear-armed aircraft, a policy that has continued for four decades. Instead of flying with nuclear weapons, armed bombers were kept on alert on the ground with flight crews nearby to enable the planes to take off within minutes, if necessary.
In 1991, President George H.W. Bush reduced the bomber alert status further by ordering nuclear weapons to be removed from the aircraft and kept in nearby storage facilities.
The GSN description seems to indicate that the ban on flying nuclear-armed aircraft was the result of a DoD Directive or Executive Order. It’s worth noting that a separate GSN article from March reported that the US will soon end its use of nuclear cruise missiles pursuant to the 2002 Moscow Treaty. Perhaps this is the "Cold War-era treaty" mentioned by Shepperd.
— John Pruett
http://pogoblog.typepad.com/pogo/20...

U.S. Lost Nukes And Nuclear Accidents

Nuclear Losses
Oh where have all the lost nukes gone? Yep, you are reading correctly, we have lost nukes, nuclear reactors and nuclear material. The Soviet Union was a secretly run country so it is harder to find out what they lost but to give you a hint, we lost two nuclear submarines and they lost five. At first glance you have to wonder how anyone could lose a nuclear weapon, it seems like you would have to be a total idiot, doesn’t it? You would think that even if they fell into the ocean, we would be able to detect them just from their radiation, but apparently this isn’t the case. I have no way to verify the following nuclear tales since I am merely a one man operation and not a newspaper but the following nuclear loses are talked about quite often:
In 2004 it was estimated that we had lost at least 11 nuclear weapons of the bomb type. This is not counting other types of nuclear weapons. It was also estimated that 92 nuclear bombs were lost at sea from all nuclear capable countries.
A B-36 was traveling from Alaska to Texas. It developed mechanical problems. The problems got so bad that the crew had to bail out. Unfortunately the plane was carrying a test nuke. The explosive material detonated, not the nuke, over the coast of British Columbia. This is listed as the world’s first nuclear accident. This accident was said to have taken place in January, 1950.
Also in 1950 it is said that a B-36 was forced to jettison it’s nuclear bomb into the Pacific Ocean where it still remains today.
Forty five years ago a B-47 was flying with a nuclear weapon off the coast of South Carolina, USA. The location is disputed, some say it was off the coast of Georgia and others say North Carolina. The copilot went back to the weapon to install a pin. The pin was necessary for the release mechanism to work. It wouldn’t go in. He radioed back to the base and he was advised to jiggle the release mechanism to align the parts so the pin would fit in. When the copilot did this, the weapon dropped out of the plane into the ocean and was lost.
In 1956 a B-47 crashed into the Mediterranean Sea. The plane was carrying to canisters of nuclear material.
In 1957 a C-124 was forced to jettison two nuclear weapons into the Atlantic Ocean. These weapons remain lost.
In 1961 a very scary thing happened. A B-52 was carrying two 20 megaton nuclear bombs. The plane crashed and five of the six safeties on the bomb failed. The crash occurred near Goldsboro, North Carolina. One bomb was lost. The government states that it never had a bomb larger than 15 megatons.
These are only a few of our loses by plane, but bombs are not the only types of nukes that were lost. We have lost nuclear reactors when submarines sunk and also nuclear torpedoes.
In 1963 the USS Thresher, a nuclear powered submarine, sank. The wreck is 100 miles off the coast of Cape Cod. The sub was broken into six pieces but the reactor is said to still be intact and not leaking. It lays at the bottom of the ocean with all its fuel just waiting to cause problems.
The USS Scorpion was another nuclear powered submarine that sank. It sank in May of 1968. Not only is the reactor at the bottom of the ocean, but also two nuclear tipped torpedoes. We are told that no detectable radiation is coming from the wreck. It is luck that the wreck is down very deep. It rests at over 3600 meters deep. This is about 11,850 feet down or over two miles.
We all can see that we have caused safety hazards all over the world. But are there other hazards caused by these lost bombs and reactors? As technology gets better and we develop vehicles that are capable of diving deeper and deeper, might not a terrorist organization get hold of one of these vehicles and try and recover a nuke. Lost doesn’t necessarily mean we don’t know where they are. Look at the two lost subs. They are just down too deep right now to do anything, or so they tell us. Do you think that the locations are being watched to make sure no one tries to recover the bombs? I doubt it.
Nuclear Accidents
Here are some of our military nuclear accidents in date order:
1950 saw a B-36 drop a nuclear bomb over the state of Washington, the explosive material detonated but the nuclear bomb didn’t We also had a crash of a B-29 that was carrying a nuclear payload into the mountains of New Mexico. A B-50 crashed in Ohio setting off its high explosives but not its nuclear cargo. A B-29 crashed in California, again the explosive material to detonate but not the nuclear bomb.
In 1956 a B-47 crashed into a storage area containing nuclear weapons but they didn’t go off.
In 1957 a B-36 dropped a nuke in the New Mexico desert. The explosive material detonated but not the nuclear material. A B-47 crashed in Florida with two nukes onboard.
In 1958 a B-47 containing a nuke crashed and burned causing contamination. A B-47 dropped it’s nuclear bomb over South Carolina. The high explosive detonated but not the nuclear bomb. A B-47 caught fire while the plane was on takeoff. It contained nukes. The plane crashed and the high explosive detonated but not the nukes. This took place in Texas. A B-47 loaded with nukes caught fire and the its nuke was destroyed.
1959 saw a F-100 go on fire while it had a nuke on board. A C-124 crashed in Louisiana with a nuke but it was destroyed in the crash. A B-52 armed with nukes crashed into a KC-135. The two nukes from the plane were recovered in Kentucky.
In 1960 a fire in New Jersey destroyed a nuclear missile storage facility.
In 1961 a B-52 which contained two nukes crashed in California.
In 1964 a B-52 with two nukes on board crashed in Maryland. A nuclear Minuteman rocket fired in error. A B-58 with a nuclear load crashed in Indiana causing contamination.
In 1965 a C-124 loaded with nukes went on fire in Ohio.
In 1966 a B-52 with a nuclear cargo collided with a KC-135. The high explosive material detonated in two of the four nukes but no nuclear explosion took place. This happened over Palomares, Spain and caused one of the most expensive clean ups.
In 1968 a B-52 with nukes on board crashed in Greenland. We recovered one nuke but it is not know if the other three were destroyed in the fire or lost. Workers who helped with the cleanup died.
In 1980 a Titan II missile had it’s fuel tank punctured and took off and traveled a distance of about 600 feet.
Will future generations suffer because of our carelessness? Could be! Imagine a nuclear weapon somewhere in the ocean and after a few hundred years the casing gets so corroded that the nuclear material leaks out into the water. The tides carry the contamination for hundreds or thousands of miles. This would effect the marine life. People would eat the fish and then the mutations and sickness would start. I am sure that this will be denied but I think that we as intelligent people all know better.
http://aboutfacts.net/Weapons36.htm

If the Government has nothing to hide.....
Why is it hiding everything?







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