Nuclear Power Media ArticlesExcerpts of Key Nuclear Power Media Articles in Major Media
Note: Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news articles on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.
The cleanup of Japan’s devastated Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant crossed an important milestone on Saturday when the plant’s operator announced it had safely removed the radioactive fuel from the most vulnerable of the four heavily damaged reactor buildings. The company, known as Tepco, had put a high priority on removing the No. 4 unit’s some 1,500 fuel rods because they sat in a largely unprotected storage pool on an upper floor of the building, which had been gutted by a powerful hydrogen explosion. By succeeding in the technically difficult task of extracting those rods, Tepco eliminated one of the plant’s most worrisome vulnerabilities. It took almost four years to reach this goal. The aging Fukushima Daiichi plant suffered a triple meltdown after a huge earthquake and tsunami struck on March 11, 2011, knocking out vital cooling systems. Tepco still faces the far more challenging task of removing the ruined fuel cores from the three reactors that melted down in the accident. These reactors were so damaged — and their levels of radioactivity remain so high — that removing their fuel is expected to take decades. Some experts have said it may not be possible at all, and have called instead for simply encasing those reactors in a sarcophagus of thick concrete. The fuel cores from those three reactors, Nos. 1-3, are believed to have melted like wax [into] lumps on the bottom of the reactor vessels.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about the disastrous pitfalls of nuclear power from reliable major media sources.
The Y-12 nuclear weapons plant in Oakridge, Tennessee, is supposed to be impregnable. But on July 28th 2012, an 84 year-old nun called Sister Megan Rice broke through a series of high-security fences surrounding the plant and reached a uranium storage bunker at the center of the complex. She was accompanied by Greg Boertje-Obed (57) and Michael Walli (63). The trio ... sat down for a picnic. When the security guards arrived they offered them some bread. Two years later, Rice, Walli and Boertje-Obed were sentenced to federal prison terms of between three and five years, plus restitution in the amount of $53,000 for damage done to the plant - far in excess of the estimates produced at their trial. When questioned about her actions at her trial by Judge Amul Thapar, Rice told him that her actions were intended to draw attention to the US stockpile of nuclear weapons that she and her co-defendants felt was illegal and immoral. They also wanted to expose the ineffectiveness of the security systems that were supposed to protect these weapons from theft or damage. “We were acutely mindful of the widespread loss to humanity that nuclear weapons have already caused,” wrote Rice afterwards in a letter to her supporters, “and we realize that all life on earth could be exterminated through intentional, accidental or technical error. Our action exposed the storage of weapons-making materials deliberately hidden from the general public.” All three defendants were found guilty of “sabotage of the national defense.” Just before they were sentenced, Rice made a statement to the court which ended like this: “We have to speak, and we’re happy to die for that. To remain in prison for the rest of my life is the greatest honor that you could give me. Please don’t be lenient with me. It would be an honor for that to happen.”
Note: If you would like to receive copies of Sister Rice’s letters to her supporters, please email [email protected] Mailing addresses for Sister Rice and her co-defendants can be found here and here. You can also sign a petition requesting their pardon.
A sprawling new plant [near Kansas City] in a former soybean field makes the mechanical guts of America’s atomic warheads. Bigger than the Pentagon, full of futuristic gear and thousands of workers, the plant, dedicated last month, modernizes the aging weapons that the United States can fire from missiles, bombers and submarines. It is part of a nationwide wave of atomic revitalization that includes plans for a new generation of weapon carriers. A recent federal study put the collective price tag, over the next three decades, at up to a trillion dollars. This expansion comes under a president who campaigned for “a nuclear-free world” and made disarmament a main goal of American defense policy. Supporters of arms control, as well as some of President Obama’s closest advisers, say their hopes for the president’s vision have turned to baffled disappointment as the modernization of nuclear capabilities has become an end unto itself. “A lot of it is hard to explain,” said Sam Nunn, the former senator whose writings on nuclear disarmament deeply influenced Mr. Obama.
Note: Consider the possibility the Obama, shortly after becoming president, may have received a death threat to his children if he didn't comply with the desires of powerful, greedy forces which want everlasting war on our planet. The trillion-dollar war industry has no qualms threatening anyone who gets in the way of their profits. For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources and read what a top US general had to say about how he was manipulated.
A 55-gallon drum of nuclear waste, buried in a salt shaft 2,150 feet under the New Mexico desert, violently erupted late on Feb. 14 and spewed mounds of radioactive white foam. The flowing mass, ... laced with plutonium, went airborne, traveled up a ventilation duct to the surface and delivered ... radiation doses to 21 workers. The accident contaminated the nation's only dump for nuclear weapons waste ... and gave the nation's elite ranks of nuclear chemists a mystery they still cannot unravel. Six months after the accident, the exact chemical reaction that caused the drum to burst is still not understood. Indeed, the Energy Department has been unable to precisely identify the chemical composition of the waste in the drum. The accident at the facility near Carlsbad, N.M., known as the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, or WIPP, is likely to cause at least an 18-month shutdown and possibly a closure that could last several years. A preliminary Energy Department investigation found more than 30 safety lapses at the plant, including technical shortcomings and failures in the overall approach to safety. The accident raises tough questions about the Energy Department's ability to safely manage the nation's stockpiles of deadly nuclear waste. "The accident was a horrific comedy of errors," said James Conca, a scientific advisor and expert on the WIPP. "This was the flagship of the Energy Department, the most successful program it had. The ramifications of this are going to be huge. Heads will roll."
Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing nuclear weapons dangers news articles from reliable major media sources.
Reindeer farms and grazing Holstein cows dot a vast stretch of rolling green pasture here on Japan's northern tip. Underground it's a different story. Workers and scientists have carved a sprawling laboratory deep below this sleep dairy town that, despite government reassurances, some of Horonobe's 2,500 residents fear could turn their neighborhood into a nuclear waste storage site. Japanese utilities have more than 17,000 tons of "spent" fuel rods that have finished their useful life but will remain dangerously radioactive for thousands of years. What to do with them is a vexing problem that nuclear-powered nations around the world face, and that has come to the fore as Japan debates whether to keep using nuclear energy after the 2011 disaster at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima plant. The answer to that problem may lie in the Horonobe Underground Research Center, which has been collecting geological data to determine if and how radioactive waste can be stored safely for as long as 100,000 years in a country that is susceptible to volcanic activity, earthquakes and shifting underground water flows. But as with America's doomed Yucca Mountain project, finding a community willing to host a radioactive dump site is proving difficult, even with a raft of financial enticements. One mayor expressed interest in 2007, and was booted from office in the next election.
Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing nuclear power news articles from reliable major media sources.
The operator of the wrecked Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has started pumping groundwater into the Pacific ocean in an attempt to manage the large volume of contaminated water at the site. Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) said it had released 560 tonnes of groundwater pumped from 12 wells located upstream from the damaged reactors. The water had been temporarily stored in a tank so it could undergo safety checks before being released, the firm added. The buildup of toxic water is the most urgent problem facing workers at the plant, almost two years after the environment ministry said 300 tonnes of contaminated groundwater from Fukushima Daiichi was seeping into the ocean every day. The groundwater, which flows in from hills behind the plant, mixes with contaminated water used to cool melted fuel before ending up in the sea. Officials concede that decommissioning the reactors will be impossible until the water issue has been resolved. The bypass system intercepts clean groundwater as it flows downhill toward the sea and reroutes it around the plant. It is expected to reduce the amount of water flowing into the reactor basements by up to 100 tonnes a day ... and relieve pressure on the storage tanks, which will soon reach their capacity. But the system does not include the coolant water that becomes dangerously contaminated after it is pumped into the basements of three reactors that suffered meltdown after the plant was struck by an earthquake and tsunami in March 2011. That water will continue to be stored in more than 1,000 tanks at the site, while officials debate how to safely dispose of it.
Note: For more on the devastating impacts of nuclear power, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Hanford union workers tell NBC Right Now there was an explosion at the plutonium finishing plant cleanup site weeks ago, but the event wasn't shared with the public. The Hanford union representative says it happened when workers were cutting some pipe as part of the demolition of the Plutonium Finishing Plant. The union representative wants to remain anonymous and says workers are concerned management isn't putting worker safety first. "Having a pipe explode at probably the most contaminated facility in the United States. This is one of the most hazardous buildings in the U.S." said the Union representative. PFP is where the plutonium was manufactured for one of the atomic bombs dropped in World War II. Workers describe the explosion as a spark then flames that shot out of a pipe and a loud bang that vibrated the pipe and the worker. "Management continues to call it a small pop even though the workers say no this thing was a big, loud bang like a shot gun blast," said the union representative. Workers say they think the contractor is playing down the explosion and possible safety concerns to protect themselves from fines and work delays. The union representative says if the pipe broke, workers would have inhaled plutonium particles that could have possibly deadly health effects.
Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing nuclear cover-ups news articles from reliable major media sources.
In the tense days after a powerful earthquake and tsunami crippled the Fukushima Daiichi power plant in Japan on March 11, 2011, staff at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission made a concerted effort to play down the risk of earthquakes and tsunamis to America’s aging nuclear plants, according to thousands of internal emails reviewed by NBC News. The emails, obtained via the Freedom of Information Act, show that the campaign to reassure the public about America’s nuclear industry came as the agency’s own experts were questioning U.S. safety standards and scrambling to determine whether new rules were needed to ensure that the meltdown occurring at the Japanese plant could not occur here. At the end of that long first weekend of the crisis three years ago, NRC Public Affairs Director Eliot Brenner thanked his staff for sticking to the talking points that the team had been distributing to senior officials and the public. "While we know more than these say," Brenner wrote, "we're sticking to this story for now." There are numerous examples in the emails of apparent misdirection or concealment in the initial weeks after the Japanese plant was devastated: When asked to help reporters explain what would happen during the worst-case scenario -- a nuclear meltdown -- the agency declined to address the questions. The emails pull back the curtain on the agency’s efforts to protect the industry it is supposed to regulate. The NRC officials didn't lie, but they didn't always tell the whole truth either. When someone asked about a topic that might reflect negatively on the industry, they changed the subject.
Note: For more on corruption in the nuclear power industry, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
At a motel in the town of Hirono, just outside a restricted zone in Fukushima Prefecture, [the] residents were all men, all apparently working on the cleanup of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, where three reactors melted down and a fourth caught on fire after a quake and tsunami in 2011. The plant's operator is mostly using subcontractors to supply labor, which drives down the pay and tends to leave the poorest workers living in crowded dormitories. Workers and labor activists say that Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, is subcontracting the work out to avoid taking direct responsibility — financial and otherwise — for the dangers the workers face each day at the plant. Recent days and weeks have brought embarrassing news for Tepco, including that levels of radioactive strontium in wells in the plant were reported months late, and were 10 times lower than the actual amount. TEPCO says it was a measurement error. Some critics say that TEPCO can't be trusted and that the world's largest nuclear accident is still waiting to happen at Fukushima, such as an accidental nuclear reaction that releases large amounts of harmful radiation into the air. TEPCO dismisses predictions like this as alarmist. Japanese themselves are highly divided on the issue, just as they are about whether or not their country should continue to rely on nuclear power, which previously supplied up to a third of their electricity. One thing that seems certain is that the work of cleaning up and shutting down the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant will go on for a long time. TEPCO predicts it could last 30 or 40 years. Others say that estimate is blindly optimistic.
Note: Why is this critical news getting so little coverage? For more on deception and corruption around nuclear power, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
In what may be the biggest such scandal in Air Force history, 34 officers entrusted with land-based nuclear missiles have been pulled off the job for alleged involvement in a cheating ring that officials say was uncovered during a drug probe. The 34 are suspected of cheating several months ago on a routine proficiency test that includes checking missile launch officers' knowledge of how to handle an "emergency war order," which is the term for the authorization required to launch a nuclear weapon. The cheating scandal is the latest in a series of Air Force nuclear stumbles ... including deliberate violations of safety rules, failures of inspections, breakdowns in training and evidence that the men and women who operate the missiles from underground command posts are suffering burnout. In October the general who commands the nuclear missile force was fired for engaging in embarrassing behavior, including drunkenness, while leading a U.S. delegation to a nuclear exercise in Russia. The AP disclosed in May an internal Air Force email in which a missile operations officer complained that his force was infested with "rot" — bad attitudes and disregard for discipline. The Air Force's nuclear mission includes operation of 450 Minuteman 3 intercontinental ballistic missiles. The Malmstrom unit failed a nuclear safety and security inspection in August but succeeded on a redo in October.
Note: Some are speculating about a purge of high-level U.S. military officers. For evidence of this, click here. And is it just a coincidence that the Malmstrom unit is mentioned? That is the base where several officers testified that a UFO shut down all nuclear warheads several decades ago. For more, click here. And for more on military corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
In an extraordinary feat of subterfuge, Israel managed to assemble an entire underground nuclear arsenal – now estimated at 80 warheads, on a par with India and Pakistan – and even tested a bomb nearly half a century ago, with a minimum of international outcry or even much public awareness of what it was doing. Despite the fact that the Israel's nuclear programme has been an open secret since a disgruntled technician, Mordechai Vanunu, blew the whistle on it in 1986, the official Israeli position is still never to confirm or deny its existence. When the former speaker of the Knesset, Avraham Burg, broke the taboo last month, declaring Israeli possession of both nuclear and chemical weapons and describing the official non-disclosure policy as "outdated and childish" a rightwing group formally called for a police investigation for treason. Meanwhile, western governments have played along with the policy of "opacity" by avoiding all mention of the issue. Israel ... almost certainly broke a treaty banning nuclear tests, as well as countless national and international laws restricting the traffic in nuclear materials and technology. The list of nations that secretly sold Israel the material and expertise to make nuclear warheads, or who turned a blind eye to its theft, include today's staunchest campaigners against proliferation: the US, France, Germany, Britain and even Norway. Israeli agents charged with buying fissile material and state-of-the-art technology found their way into some of the most sensitive industrial establishments in the world.
Note: For more on government secrecy, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Japan's flagging anti-nuclear movement is getting a boost from two former prime ministers who are calling for atomic power to be phased out following the Fukushima disaster. Former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said [on November 12] that the current prime minister, Shinzo Abe, ... "should use the power given to him to do what the majority of the people want," Koizumi said in a speech at the Japan Press Club. "It can be achieved. Why miss this chance?" Koizumi, who supported nuclear power during his 2001-2006 term in office, said that with Japan's nuclear plants all offline for safety checks it would be easiest to begin the phase-out soon. Polls have shown the majority of the public ... prefers to shift away from the nuclear plants that provided nearly a third of Japan's power generation capacity before the accident at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant. Three [former prime ministers], including Koizumi, have said they support ending use of nuclear power. Their support could help reinvigorate the anti-nuclear movement, which has lost some of its vitality nearly three years after the Fukushima accident. Another former prime minister, Morihiro Hosokawa, said in an interview ... that he also favors an end to reliance on nuclear power. "I can't understand why they want restarts of the nuclear plants when there is no place to discard the nuclear waste," said Hosokawa, who served as prime minister for eight months in 1993-94. "It would be a crime against future generations for our generation to restart nuclear plants without resolving this issue," he said. Experts have questioned whether earthquake-prone Japan can safely store nuclear waste under any scenario.
Note: For more on the risks of nuclear power, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
It was the part of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant that spooked American officials the most, as the complex spiraled out of control two and a half years ago: the spent fuel pool at Reactor No. 4, with more than 1,500 radioactive fuel assemblies left exposed when a hydrogen explosion blew the roof off the building. In the next 10 days, the plant’s operator, the Tokyo Electric Power Company, is set to start the delicate and risky task of using a crane to remove the fuel assemblies from the pool, a critical step in a long decommissioning process that has already had serious setbacks. The operation addresses a threat that has hung over the plant since the crisis started. It is still dangerous to have the fuel high up in a damaged structure that could collapse in another quake, experts warn. But removing it poses dangers, too. The fuel rods must remain immersed in water to block the gamma radiation they emit and allow workers to be in the area, and to prevent the rods from overheating. An accident could expose the rods and — in a worst-case scenario, some experts say — allow them to release radioactive materials beyond the plant. “There are potentially very big risks involved,” Shunichi Tanaka, the head of Japan’s nuclear regulator, said last week. “Each assembly must be handled very carefully.” “All I can do is pray that nothing goes wrong,” said Yasuro Kawai, a former plant engineer who now heads a group that is independently monitoring the decommissioning process.
Note: For further assessment of the risks associated with any attempt to remove the rods from the damaged Fukushima Reactor #4 fuel pool, click here. For more on the risks of nuclear power, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
The Fukushima nuclear power plant continues to spew radiation. It's 5,300 miles from Los Angeles -- and still not far enough. Fukushima is an enormous problem that's getting bigger. Nuclear Engineer Dr. Arjun Makhijani, president of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, confirmed that ocean currents are carrying the radioactive water to the West Coast. "There are several hundred tons of radioactive water that are pouring into the ocean at the site every day," Makhijani said. According to a study published in the journal Deep Sea Research 1, it will begin arriving this March . But Makhijani says there's no need to panic. The radiation will be diluted, and levels found on the West Coast are very low and not considered dangerous so far. But the question is, will we really know? "I think we should be doing a better monitoring of food. I don't think the EPA and FDA are doing a good enough job," Makhijani said. The scariest part of Fukushima is not what has already happened; it's what could still happen. Every day is a desperate effort to keep the plant from melting down. Fukushima is potentially the biggest ticking time bomb in human history. The damaged plant is in no condition to withstand another massive earthquake or tsunami. Just last week, Dr. David Suzuki, one of Canada's top environmental scientists, stunned the audience when he described what will happen if a massive quake did hit today. "It's bye bye Japan, and everybody on the West Coast of North America should evacuate," Suzuki said.
Note: For more on the Fukushima meltdowns and the dangers of nuclear power, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
On 11 March 1958, in Mars Bluff, South Carolina, a man called Walter Gregg was building shelves in his shed with his son, when a Mark 6 atom bomb landed in his yard. Mrs Gregg was inside [the house], sewing. The little Gregg girls were playing outside. The fissile core of the bomb had been removed for safer transit, but the explosives that powered it nonetheless blew the Gregg house to bits, killing half a dozen of the Gregg chickens. In military talk this sort of thing is known as a "broken arrow", an accident involving nuclear weapons that falls short of causing risk of war, and Schlosser's book is about the several dozens of these that have happened – counting only those of US origin – since the atomic bomb was invented in 1945. The next-up sort of accident is called a Nucflash. So far, it hasn't happened, but Schlosser considers this due as much to luck as anything else. [The book] aims to "pierce a false sense of comfort", ... the popular assumption that ... the threat of nuclear escalation has gone away for good. It hasn't, is Schlosser's miserable message. "They are out there, soulless and mechanical, sustained by our denial – and they work." In this book, he's interested in how "the effort to control nuclear weapons – to ensure that one doesn't go off by accident" is undermined, over and over again, by demands from the military for bombs they can trust to explode.
Note: Watch a 16-minute interview with Erik Schlosser showing how close we have come to accidental nuclear explosions. For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing nuclear risk news articles from reliable major media sources.
While the continuing environmental disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi plant has grabbed world headlines — with hundreds of tons of contaminated water flowing into the Pacific Ocean daily — a human crisis has been quietly unfolding. Two and a half years after the plant belched plumes of radioactive materials over northeast Japan, the almost 83,000 nuclear refugees evacuated from the worst-hit areas are still unable to go home. Some have moved on, reluctantly, but tens of thousands remain in a legal and emotional limbo while the government holds out hope that they can one day return. As they wait, many are growing bitter. Now they suspect the government knows that the unprecedented cleanup will take years, if not decades longer than promised, as a growing chorus of independent experts have warned, but will not admit it for fear of dooming plans to restart Japan’s other nuclear plants. That has left the people of Namie and many of the 10 other evacuated towns with few good choices. They can continue to live in cramped temporary housing and collect relatively meager monthly compensation from the government. Or they can try to build a new life elsewhere, a near impossibility for many unless the government admits defeat and fully compensates them for their lost homes and livelihoods. For Namie’s residents, government obfuscation is nothing new. On the day they fled, bureaucrats in Tokyo knew the direction they were taking could be dangerous, based on computer modeling, but did not say so for fear of causing panic. The townspeople headed north, straight into an invisible, radioactive plume.
Note: For more on the devastation caused by nuclear power, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
There is ample reason for skepticism that anything substantial will change in Iran-US relations, [but] whatever one's views are on the prospects for improving relations, the first direct communications in more than 30 years between the leaders of those two countries is a historically significant event. Here is what NBC News anchor Brian Williams told his viewers about this event: "This is all part of a new leadership effort by Iran - suddenly claiming they don't want nuclear weapons!" Yes, Iran's claim that they don't want nuclear weapons sure is "sudden" - if you pretend that virtually everything that they've said on that question for the past ten years does not exist. The country's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, issued a 2005 religious edict banning the pursuit of nuclear weapons, and in January of this year, Iranian official Ramin Mehmanparast declared: "We are the first country to call for a Middle East free of nuclear weapons." The following month, Khamenei himself said: "We believe that nuclear weapons must be eliminated. We don't want to build atomic weapons." Iran's top leadership has been making similarly unambiguous statements for almost a full decade, even taking out a full page ad in the New York Times in 2005 to counter the growing clamor in the US for a military attack by proclaiming that Iran had no desire for nuclear weapons, was not pursuing them, and wanted transparency, accountability and peace. US intelligence agencies have repeatedly though secretly concluded that they do not believe that Iran is building a nuclear weapon, and even top Israeli military officials have expressed serious doubts that Iran is building, or will build, a nuclear weapon.
Note: For more on mass media corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
For almost nine hours starting on Sept. 18, 1980, brave airmen sought to contain the damage precipitated by a dropped wrench socket that hit a Titan II missile -- which was tipped with a W-53 thermonuclear warhead -- in its silo [in Damascus, Arkansas]. The socket pierced the missile’s skin, causing fuel and oxidizer leaks. The ensuing explosion destroyed the silo, propelling missile parts and [the] warhead into abbreviated flight. One airman died from internal wounds while 21 personnel were injured. The W-53 warhead ended up on a nearby roadside -- passed by motorists but fortunately never detonated. Close, but no mushroom cloud. This freakish event is at the core of Eric Schlosser’s new book, Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident and the Illusion of Safety. “The United States has narrowly avoided a long series of nuclear disasters,” he writes. He reveals declassified studies that disclose hundreds of mishaps between 1950 and 1967 and beyond. They include a B-61 hydrogen bomb accidentally dropped 7 feet from a parked B-52 bomber at Carswell Air Force Base when a crewman pulled a handle too hard, and a Mark 6 atomic bomb landing in a Mars Bluff, South Carolina backyard, creating a 35-foot-deep crater and blowing out nearby windows and doors. Schlosser takes Baby Boomers of the “duck and cover” era down a Megaton Memory Lane while providing a vivid primer for the Twitter generation on a world where nuclear weapons were a fact of life to deter a larger-than-life Soviet Union depicted as bent on world domination.
Note: Watch a 16-minute interview with Erik Schlosser showing how close we have come to accidental nuclear explosions. For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing nuclear risk news articles from reliable major media sources.
In his new book, Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety, award-winning investigative journalist [Eric Schlosser] challenges and expands on the U.S. government's secretive record regarding nuclear accidents. Let's get the big question out of the way: How many times have we just barely avoided nuclear armageddon in the U.S.? It's a very secretive subject, and I did my best, through interviews and through the Freedom of Information Act, to get as much information as I could on these accidents. The Pentagon lists 32 broken arrows, which are their official nuclear weapon accidents that they consider really serious. A lot of other accidents [posed the] threat of accidental detonation on American soil. For many years, there were safety flaws with our nuclear weapons which weren't being addressed and which were being covered up. We're just very, very ... fortunate that a major city has not been destroyed by a nuclear weapon since Nagasaki. But there's no guarantee that that luck will last. Very little has been written about the ordinary servicemen and women who often took great risks. I tell the story of a guy whose job it was to walk over to a nuclear weapon damaged in an accident and dismantle it – basically a bomb squad guy trained to handle nuclear weapons. That takes a lot of nerve to do. People like that put themselves at risk in order to prevent catastrophes. I think their stories are really worth telling. It was important to me to show, not just the bureaucratic incompetence in many cases, but also the incredible heroism of these ordinary servicemen. So it's not a simplistic, black-and-white anti-military thing at all.
Note: For more on the dangers of nuclear technologies, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
A little over 50 years ago a South Carolina doctor ... treated a family for injuries sustained when a sudden, inexplicable explosion tore through their backyard. The object in the 50-foot crater left behind their house was an atomic bomb that had fallen from a passing Air Force plane. The bomb had not been “armed” with its nuclear core; the blast came from the explosives intended to trigger a chain reaction. The crater can still be seen today. That incident, which led to an anti-nuclear movement in Britain, where the plane was bound, is one of many stories Eric Schlosser ... tells in Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety. During the cold war, nuclear bombs fell out of the sky, burned up in plane crashes and were lost at sea. In the incident Schlosser describes in greatest detail, “the Damascus accident” of Sept. 18, 1980, the warhead from a Titan II missile was ejected after a series of mishaps that began when a repairman dropped a socket wrench and pierced a fuel tank. Tactical nuclear weapons scattered across Europe had minimal security; misplaced tools and failed repairs triggered serious accidents; inadequate safety procedures and poor oversight led to dozens of close brushes with nuclear explosions. Schlosser’s readers (and he deserves a great many) will be struck by how frequently the people he cites attribute the absence of accidental explosions and nuclear war to divine intervention or sheer luck rather than to human wisdom and skill.
Note: For more on this highly revealing book, click here. For details of Schlosser's amazing story of the two H-bombs that fell on North Carolina in 1961, click here. For more on the grave risks of nuclear technologies, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Important Note: Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news articles on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.