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Originally posted by JacKatMtn
Good info Koji, it appears there are several of these lying around with just waiting to be detonated. I know the Georgia one it stated it did not have the plutonium needed for the weapon to go "nuclear", but it still is essence a Huge "dirty bomb", is this a correct assessment?
February 5, 1958, Savannah River, Georgia
A nuclear weapon without a fissile core was lost following a mid-air collision. A B-47 bomber carrying a nuclear weapon without its fissile core collided with a F-86 aircraft near Savannah, Georgia. Following three unsuccessful attempts to land the plane at Hunter Air Force Base in Georgia, the weapon was jettisoned to avoid the risk of a high explosive detonation at the base. The weapon was jettisoned into the water several miles from the mouth of Savannah River in Wassaw Sound off Tybee Beach, but the precise point of impact is unknown. The weapon's high explosives did not detonate on impact. A subsequent search covering three square miles used divers and sonar devices, but failed to find the weapon. The search was ended on April 16, 1958, and the weapon was considered to be irretrievably lost.
Originally posted by koji_K
1/17/66, Palomares, SPAIN
An airborn B-52 carrying four multi-megaton nuclear weapons crashes into a refueling tanker and drops all four weapons. Two of the explosive triggers for the weapons detonate, contaminating 1,500 tons of soil and plant life, which is subsequently stored in the U.S. Two of the weapons are never recovered. (DOD)
A B-52 collided with an Air Force KC-135 jet tanker while refueling over the coast of Spain, killing eight of the eleven crew members and igniting the KC-135's 40,000 gallons of jet fuel. Two hydrogen bombs ruptured, scattering radioactive particles over the fields of Palomares; a third landed intact near the village of Palomares; the fourth was lost at sea 12 miles off the coast of Palomares and required a search by thousands of men working for three months to recover it. Approximately 1,500 tons of radioactive soil and tomato plants were removed to the U.S. for burial at a nuclear waste dump in Aiken, S.C. The U.S. eventually settled claims by 522 Palomares residents at a cost of $600,000, and gave the town the gift of a $200,000 desalinizing plant.
Originally posted by Quest
Nuclear weapons don't age well. Nukes function based on very accurate detonators and detonation charges. Over time the core decays, as does the electronics. My guess is that the only thing one could get from one of the old lost bombs is some weapons grade uranium though I'd think radioactive decay would even ruin the core after a certain amount of time.
These convoys continue today, as the warheads have a very short shelf-life and constantly have to be refurbished and rebuilt to keep them safe.