One Switch Away

6a00d8341c091653ef01348841ccda970c-500wiScotland is unfortunate enough to have a major nuclear facility next to its biggest population centre. This wasn’t of course a decision made by the people of Scotland.

If you want rid of it, you’ll have to vote for independence.

When making up your mind on whether or not you want such a thing on your territory or if it doesn’t bother you too much, it might be worth bearing in mind this little story

A four-megaton nuclear bomb was one switch away from exploding over the US in 1961, a newly declassified US document confirms.

Two bombs were on board a B-52 plane that went into an uncontrolled spin over North Carolina – both bombs fell and one began the detonation process.

The document was first published in the UK’s Guardian newspaper.

The US government has acknowledged the accident before, but never made public how close the bomb came to detonating.

Ah, but that was in the USA I hear you say, such things couldn’t happen here, could they?

522-romans-750-wideWell, in the Independent on Sunday yesterday there was this item (which I have shortened but full article is here)…

A major nuclear incident was narrowly averted at the heart of Britain’s Royal Navy submarine fleet, The Independent on Sunday can reveal. The failure of both the primary and secondary power sources of coolant for nuclear reactors at the Devonport dockyard in Plymouth on 29 July last year followed warnings in previous years of just such a situation.

Experts yesterday compared the crisis at the naval base, operated by the Ministry of Defence and government engineering contractors Babcock Marine, with the Fukushima Daiichi power-station meltdown in Japan in 2011.

John Large, an independent nuclear adviser who led the team that conducted radiation analysis on the Russian Kursk submarine which sank in the Barents Sea in 2000, said: “It is unbelievable that this happened. It could have been very serious. Things like this shouldn’t happen. It is a fundamental that these fail-safe requirements work. It had all the seriousness of a major meltdown – a major radioactive release.”

Mr Large warned that if a submarine had recently entered the base when the failure occurred the situation could have been “dire” because of high heat levels in its reactor.

Sleep well.

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