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Nuclear Weapon almost accidentally explodes in TX !!

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posted on Jan, 27 2007 @ 01:06 PM
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a. Please stop complaining about the closure. I am willing to bet, that duplicate threads are closed based on whom has less replies, or has has the least-recent reply. Nothing to do with age, so it as not as though someone has made a 'stupid decision', or is out to attack you, personally.

All-though the 'watchdog group' is listed, and looks entirely credible, it remains that no nuclear weapon could have exploded. At that stage during process, at all. Or even accidently, with anything more than a kilotonnage yield. Radiating quite a bit of the facility, and the death of several personnel would be it. And this is presuming that the source is correct --- I'm rushing to write this, so I do not have time to read the articles beyond basic skimming.

Lastly, stop the immaturity, and the name-calling. For all of your complaints, I've pointed out several times a set of four links, posted on the first page. Before any of this. And you continue to ignore it all.

If the limit of your argumental skill is ignoring people's sources, whining about your own downfalls, and continually insulting the members of this forum, than you do not belong here.

This is not an insult, this is a view based on the actions you have decided to take, and are present in this forum.

Edited for quite a few typos.
And fairly disappointed he has yet to say anything about the links I had provided.

[edit on 27-1-2007 by Iblis]




posted on Jan, 27 2007 @ 01:10 PM
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Originally posted by Iblis
If the limit of your argumental skill...


This is not an argument, or at least, is not supposed to be.

You are now on my ignore list.

Good day.

[edit on 27/1/07 by Implosion]



posted on Jan, 27 2007 @ 02:24 PM
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Please put me on that ignore list too.

I am working 84 hours a week. 12 hours 7 days a week.

Think about it.

Thanks,
Orangetom



posted on Jan, 27 2007 @ 02:31 PM
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Implosion..

Please put me on that ignore list too.

I am working 84 hours a week. 12 hours 7 days a week.

Think about it.

Thanks,
Orangetom


Iblis is obviously spoiling for a fight. I'm not going to engage. All I want is some sources to back up people’s words. Think about this: To me, you are all anonymous voices on the Internet. For all I know, you're a bunch of children. Words will carry no weight unless backed up with verifiable sources. I'm sorry you find this hard to grasp. My ignore list has a population of one. I don't like to use it, but I will not tolerate personality focus. I know you didn't read my posts, because you failed to see the source. That's cool, happy to put you right, but please, don't post off topic rubbish. This thread has already come under the threat of closure once, and I fail to see where anyone has addressed my points.

That is what I am hoping for.

I’m sorry if you or anyone else has been offended by my words. However, I call it like I see it, and I’m not going to change that any time soon.

[edit on 27/1/07 by Implosion]



posted on Jan, 27 2007 @ 03:03 PM
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Sorry Olde Man,

I am with Iblis on this and Iblis to me does not come across as spoiling for a fight.

I have worked both the Nuclear and Non Nuclear sides of the house on submarines and aircraft carriers. This is how I know about these proceedures and results. While I wont go into alot of details I will tell you this about both sides of the house in this type of work.
When you do this work you need to be sure about the proceedures and also about the people working with you. THeir character. their gonads so to speak. YOu dont tolerate light weights....air heads. You carry your assigned load or you carry your hind parts down the road.

This article ...no matter what "watch group" is doing it..I wouldnt trust them to watch my back on any type of work even if I was working on the clock shelling peanuts. People who do this type of work and put their backsides on the line for thier moneys will know this immediately and instinctively by the very lack of information in the article. This is a political article designed to put people on the political string.

I dont consider this watchdog group very knowlegable or reliable. They are obviously politically motivated....by their very lack of details.
I am with Iblis on their assessment.

Thanks,
Orangetom



posted on Jan, 27 2007 @ 03:04 PM
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The funny thing about this is how hard it is to achieve a successful reaction for a nuclear yield... When you actually want it.


The "accident" scenario is the adult version of the "boogeyman" that is under the bed, or in the closet...

As I have previously posted, it is possible to detonate the conventional explosive in the W56 warhead... It's even possible to create a "dirty bomb" event... People would die from such an event... Either from the initial explosion (those within close proximity) or from subsequent exposure to dispersed elements of the physics package. There would be no high order detonation of the warhead.

Here's a "second opinion."

www.armscontrolwonk.com...

Sound familiar?



posted on Jan, 27 2007 @ 03:27 PM
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Originally posted by Mirthful Me
Here's a "second opinion."

www.armscontrolwonk.com...

Sound familiar?


Thank you. Not for the attitude, or the condescension, but finally, a source. Someone other that an anonymous voice. Was that really so hard?

Jesus, even moderators are rolling their eyes at the simple request for a source?

Pathetic.



posted on Jan, 27 2007 @ 03:38 PM
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I expect he can't hear me, so I won't comment his continued aggression, or commentary.

However, I find it disturbing that many of us have produced sources. I have placed four, and several of you have put up one, or two, and we have made logical conclusions regarding this story and technicalities of it, that he seems to ignore.
Would anyone kindly point this out that all of his .. statements, regarding us, our behavior, our attitudes, our intelligence, are un-needed, when we have provided what he's been asking for all this time?

Thank you.

Edit: ATS does not take kindly to my HTML.


[edit on 27-1-2007 by Iblis]



posted on Jan, 27 2007 @ 04:19 PM
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Ok, here's my relatively uninformed two cents worth.

1) POGO finds some interesting things at times. But they are no more likely to present such events in a neutral light than PETA is to present a study that eating meat might be good for you. You have to understand that carping about anything the gubmint does is what POGO is. And if they find something they can build into a dramatic moment, maybe they'll get a bit more funding.

POGO is to government as CSPI is to food, you can always bet that their "studies" will show that meat is pure evil, even if their study was scientifically invalid and they can't get it published in a peer-reviewed journal. PETA will blare it out anyway, because they ARE CSPI. In a similar way, POGO can always be counted on to yap about something if the government's involved, because that's what pays for their power bills at the end of the month. That doesn't mean that they didn't find something interesting, but you have to understand that trying to get you all freaked out about it is SOP.

2) Pantex is an interesting place. They do have fairly long work hours, though I'm not sure you can accurately ascribe what happened to the long work hours. It's a tense place due to the work involved, everyone lives on Ibuprofen and Pepcid. There's nothing like having to be around these things while they're being tinkered with to get the hair up on your back. I never liked pulling special WSA duty during maintenance. I can't imagine working on one. The bomb techs have really creepy senses of humor, and I'm sure it's related to the stress, although most of them won't admit to it.

The DOE once described the atmosphere at Pantex as being "perennially truculent", which I'd tend to agree with having been in and out of it a few times visiting. They get a steady bait of citations for fistfights in the plant. So, it doesn't surprise me a lot to discover that they take any opportunity to gripe about the hours, the management etc. I notice that POGO didn't describe who the "knowledgeable experts" were.

My guess, too, is that they're making a creative use of the term "explode" not in the sense of the bomb successfully detonating in a nuclear fashion but in the sense of the high explosive charges going off. I imagine someone at POGO knows the difference but the UPI guys might not, a lot of journalists don't really understand much about it.

3) "What really happened"

Ok. When you're disassembling a W56 there's this bible of procedures that you're supposed to follow. You're not supposed to deviate at the tech level. If something unexpected happens, you hit the kill switch and get the nukies down there.

Anyways, on March 30, 2005, they were disassembling this W56. Now, W56's have a freaky two-component midbody rad shield that is threaded together. The bimetal joint tends to not ever unscrew again after a while. So, how you get the physics package out of the midbody is, you use a hydraulic ram to shove it out the ass end of the warhead.

Now, you've already removed the secondary (no thermonuclear explosion) and the boost system, initiator, and trigger package so there's not a chance of a traditional detonation. Also, the pit vents are open where the boost injection used to be, so getting a clean compression on what's left of it is nearly impossible if you DID still have the thing in one piece.

But there's no way to get the pit out unless you either unscrew the shield halves, which ain't happenin', or shove the guts out the end with a ram into the open.

They put the W56 on the ram and hit the "go" button. You're supposed to manually turn this jackscrew in that sets the pressure, and you're supposed to creep up on it so that it breaks loose without any extra pressure. It went up to about 1500 pounds and popped, so they thought it had come loose. That's about where it normally happens. At that point, you raise the ram on the run-up gear (which uses a motor to spin the jackscrew) and the guts slide out. They raised the ram and the case broke, then the ram safety limit clutch released the ram. Whoops! So they stopped and called a conference. The HE had fractured, not come loose like they'd thought, and it was still in there. On top of which, the case had cracked.

Now if you thought you could get a yield of any sort before, it was down the drain now, because the HE was no longer intact and the shield was split. But they put the obligatory chain in the pit vent in order to "safe" what remained of the physics package. At that point, even IF the HE went off the obstruction in the pit center would prevent a dense enough assembly for criticality (it guarantees a Munroe jet of enormous magnitude, like spurting water out of your hands in the tub), but the neutron absorber in the chain would prevent achieving criticality anyway. It wasn't going to do anything at that point but splat around the lab and ruin a piece of the facility.

They called in some WER guys and designers from LANL to look at the mess. A new procedure was written, which basically said, resecure it, and put the ram to it again, it's not going to detonate. Now, the usual point at which the explosive charges pop out the rear is in the neighborhood of 1500-1600 pounds. WER set a recommended limit of 3700 lbf for the second run. Pantex's limit is 3600 lbf.

Now, they were supposed to go to the second ram unit and recalibrate it from stem to stern, test it with dummy loads and make sure it was in perfect shape, then move the busted warhead over to that press. After all, the WER guys just stroked you a SIER for a one time 3700 pound limit. You should at least make sure, since you're going outside normal procedures, that the press is actually DOING that. You'd think that, wouldn't you? Guess what...they didn't do it. They used the same press it was already stuck in.

So, on Monday, April 25, they went back to the same press. Now, WER had just issued a SIER for 3700 pounds. But Pantex issued an internal HAR that limited the attempt to 3600 pounds. Keep that in mind, the LANL guys had just said that 3700 pounds was still in the safety limits and a good number to use for this try as a maximum ram setting.

They hit the button. They ran it up to about 3300 pounds force...and the safety clutch let go. Now, it's supposed to be good for the max you have set. But it let go 250 pounds early. No dice, the weapon's still in one piece.

They replace part of the clutch assembly and try to sort of half-ass recalibrate it. Tuesday dawns.

Hit it...3350. Hit it...3350. Hit it...3350.

Now, they're not supposed to be doing this at all. They should have been on a known good ram that's been calibrated and tested for the maximum ram pressure. And if it doesn't work the very first time, they should freaking stop and rethink everything. But now they're p--sed off at it. It's been stuck in there for a month.

The supervisor says, use the run up gear. Now, you have to understand sort of how it works, there's this run up gear that you use to advance the jackscrew on the ram really fast in order to chuck the weapon and to raise the package out of the midcase once it separates. Normally, you run up to near where you want to be and hand crank it the rest of the way, so you have some control. There's a safety clutch that's supposed to release the whole thing if you exceed the 3600 pound Pantex limit. But the clutch takes time to release. If you use the run-up gear, it will apply more force than normal before it gets a chance to release. The clutch is really intended to be an oversight on the hand crank.

So they cut it off and let it cool down, another trick, the clutch will release faster than normal if it's hot. Then after it got cool, they spun it up and hit the run up gear and kept it engaged the whole way. Bam! Crunch! and out came the package from the midcase. Problem solved.

Now, the maximum allowed pressure was exceeded. The ram gauges say that the peak was 3750 lbf. That's 50 big whopper pounds force over the LANL/WER recommendation. So, yes, technically it's over the limit, by about 1.3%. LANL had a hefty safety margin in their number, so 3750 is not over the danger line. But it is over both the Pantex procedure limit and the SIER limit.

The fecal matter hits the fan at Pantex on Wednesday afternoon after the reports start to be written. Pantex management begins to deliver live kittens from every orifice. Everyone involved gets their anuses removed. Pantex does a safety shutdown. Fingers point, curses fly, truculence reigns. The press operators blame the supervisor, the supervisor blames management, management blames the operators. The press operators dash off a "whistleblower" letter to DOE trying to dodge the responsibility by using the whistleblower protection act. That, incidentally, is one reason why "A spokesperson for the Energy Department declined to respond to safety complaints in the letter."...it's really not that much protection to you if you byotch about the safety of the plant after you just used the run-up gear to smack a bomb apart. In the end, there was plenty of blame to share.

1) they should have specially set up, tested and calibrated the second ram for this run instead of continuing production on it

2) the supervisor should have never tried more than once before moving to the other press

3) at any rate, he should have stopped and called another meeting when the Monday afternoon attempt failed

4) and he should never ever have taken repeated tries Tuesday the 26th

5) the thing with the runup gear was just a travesty, there's no real control in that mode. He wouldn't have had to, either, if he'd used a press that was working.

6) the operators should have refused to do it

7) there was some auxiliary finger pointing that the supervisor and the press operators developed their little run-up gear trick on the side and waited for the process and tooling engineers to leave the area before trying it. However, the same engineers sure weren't stopping them from repeated retries or using the same press.

In the end, the $110,000 fine was:

$55,000 for not switching to a different, tested and calibrated press when they were told to

$55,000 for the run-up gear trick and the multiple retries, which were both a violation of procedures

A suspended fine for not having a better way of determining when the explosives actually separated than listening for it

A suspended fine for not having the fixture calibrated and working correctly anyway


A $110K fine is peanuts anyway, Pantex gets something like $25-40 million a year in performance bonuses. It's cheaper to take the fine and a violation cite than to wait and lose the bonus. Pantex gets 100K level fines every year. This was not an unusual fine amount for simple procedural violations. W56's are a pain in the butt anyway, I think they get fines every year for the HE charges fracturing, the Pantex guys are going to burn them anyway so they generally tape the assembly together with duct tape and keep going. If they get caught, it's a fine in the 100K range.



posted on Jan, 27 2007 @ 04:30 PM
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Mr. Bedlam, you da MAN.

That was an awesome post!

Implosion, just let it be known, I'm with you man.



posted on Jan, 27 2007 @ 04:32 PM
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As if that wasn't long winded enough, I thought I'd mention that the fine was for two severity level 2 violations, which are not for events that "make the bomb take out Amarillo" but are for willful procedure violations and the like.

They chucked the book out and did something that was dangerous, but not dangerous at the "mushroom cloud" level. They get the same citations for not putting pits in the right storage locations, for example.



posted on Jan, 27 2007 @ 08:20 PM
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Originally posted by seifera003
Implosion, just let it be known, I'm with you man.


Thank you, much appreciated.

Tom, that was one superb post. Thank you very much, not only have you taught me a great deal, but you've also shown others exactly how it's meant to be done.


You have voted Tom Bedlam for the Way Above Top Secret award.


Once again, thank you.




posted on Jan, 28 2007 @ 12:09 PM
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Aw, gee. (shuffle)

I was afraid you were going to ask for my sources, in which case they'd have to be phone numbers of guys at LANL and Pantex.
It's funny hearing the thing from different points of view.

I didn't think it was nearly as big a whoop as the POGO guys said, because no one called me with a horror story at the time. On the other hand, it showed some pretty bad judgement. The HE in a W56 is what they call "insensitive", you have to really work at it to cause a problem which is why they basically use a log splitter on it to get the midcase off. Still, there's a time for prudence, and a time for a big mallet and a chisel, you know? And I'm not sure they'd made it to "chisel" yet.

Given the number of times this process doesn't work by the book per year, you'd think they'd build a third fixture. The real issue was that they have two. And one was off-line for a month. If it takes you two fixtures to do the job, and you lose millions in performance bonuses when one's down, then you should have three of them, IMHO.



posted on Jan, 28 2007 @ 12:36 PM
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Originally posted by Tom Bedlam
I was afraid you were going to ask for my sources, in which case they'd have to be phone numbers of guys at LANL and Pantex.


I know I must look like quite the hypocrite now, not that it will bother me. The way it's written just screams authority. Hell, if you did make it all up [and I have no doubt that you did not] you deserve the WATS for how damn well written it is.

It was one of the most informative, and entertaining posts I've read in a long, long time.

Cheers.

[edit on 28/1/07 by Implosion]



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