posted on Jan, 14 2010 @ 01:47 PM
It's not possible for it to go off. Even if it was "live" when dropped, the impact would have disrupted it internally. There are a lot of precision
parts in any thermonuke, and the Mark 15 was less robust than many designs. Impact would have broken the explosive charges, for one, and the
likelihood that the gas trigger for the explosives would survive (or the wiring, for that matter) is zero, the power source is long since dead for the
trigger, and last but not least the tritium in the boost mechanism either escaped due to damage, or if you believe it could hit from a drop and be
intact, it's long since decayed to He3.
The only damage you could do at this point would be to scatter some radioactive material around, and it's not that radioactive when you get down to
I'll offer up this bit to you - they DO know where it is, exactly. The device is buried in the mud on the bottom about 40 feet deep. There's not
much flow to the mud, actually zero as far as they could tell. A study done by the Air Force showed that in order to retrieve the device, you'd have
to build a caisson that surrounded the thing and then pump the mud out - it's far too deep and too heavy to simply hoist out. That said, there's no
practical way for anyone to reach it to retrieve it surreptitiously, and there's no gain to going mud diving for it. In fact, the worst case scenario
was that you'd trigger the primary's damaged explosive charges trying to hoist it, and end up scattering the radioactive bits. Where it is, even if
it's ruptured, the mud contains it and prevents it from dispersing. So it's better and cheaper to leave it in place, and just take a peek
occasionally to make sure no-one's parked over it.
That said, there's a lot of material in a Mark 15 if you had a way to reach it and some processing capability to refine the casing material another
cascade or two.