Broken Arrow

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Hey, kids, have you ever wondered just exactly how nuclear bombs, warheads, and radioactive material are transported from one place to another across the country, and by whom?

 

Have you ever sat around, wondering what the convoy transporting them looks like, what route they take, and what kind of security they have on hand?

 

If you’re like me, you often think to yourself, “Self, what measures do they have in place if some person hypothetically tried to breach the wall of an 18 wheeler trailer carrying a nuclear warhead? How do they stop people from towing one? What are the weaknesses of the security teams which guard them?”

 

Well, now you can read all about it. For educational and entertainment purposes, only.

Comments

Mircea Negres Added Mar 12, 2017 - 4:41am
Billy, I was educated and entertained alright... Good God, but that place is in need of a shake up before something terrible happens. The biggest weakness and strength in any security system is the human element and those who don't take care of it find out the consequences sooner or later. 
Billy Roper Added Mar 12, 2017 - 9:00am
Yeah, my title "Broken Arrow" comes from the code the military uses when a nuclear weapon goes missing. One of those, even without getting to the atomic reaction stage, can spread enough radioactive material in a city using conventional explosives to make a mini-fallout pattern that it could contaminate the whole city.
Jeffry Gilbert Added Mar 12, 2017 - 11:50am
Let's not forget the nuke that disappeared from an Air Force aircraft somewhere between N. Dakota and Louisiana on August 30, 2007. Just disappeared, no one knows what happened to it. Sure, I've got a bridge I'll sell you.
Michael B. Added Mar 12, 2017 - 1:03pm
It's frightening how many military nuclear accidents there have been; literally dozens over the years. It's a testament to the safeties built into them that none have ever detonated, like what happened over Spain back in 1966, when a B-52 with four H-bombs collided with a tanker. There has also been other incidents when the high-explosive primary triggers detonated, but the nuclear materials themselves did not.
Billy Roper Added Mar 12, 2017 - 5:48pm
Or, maybe someone is waiting for the right time and place for maximum impact. ?
Minister Peaceful Poet Added Mar 13, 2017 - 4:52am
Wouldn't let me read the article unless I was a subscriber.  That is something to think about though.  I don't imagine they could transport that by train.  There really is no way to transport a nuclear weapon on the ground safely if you think about it.  Best way to do it would be to do it secretly.
Billy Roper Added Mar 13, 2017 - 9:08am
They try...then an article like this comes along and blows their OPSEC all to heck. Their only security lies in being lost in the flow of traffic.
Michael B. Added Mar 13, 2017 - 7:04pm
As far as I know, all nukes are both assembled and disassembled  at the Pantex plant near Amarillo, TX. Somehow I don't think they'd fall for a ploy like the one in Superman: The Movie, but you never know, lol.
Billy Roper Added Mar 14, 2017 - 7:35am
They've tried to disperse that facilities' responsibilities a bit, as the map in the article shows. But with dispersal comes additional potential targets.
 
Question: what would you do, if you had your very own nuclear bomb? Hypothetically?
Michael B. Added Mar 14, 2017 - 9:36am
I'd probably be like a James Bond villain and use it to blackmail various governments for millions...otherwise I have too many targets I'd like to use it on; just one nuke wouldn't do, lol.
Jeff Jackson Added Mar 14, 2017 - 12:47pm
Very important identification techniques, to identify these trucks were left out. There are certain things to look for...and, um, oh, sorry just got a phone call, gotta go..
Billy Roper Added Mar 14, 2017 - 2:28pm
I agree, Michael, one wouldn't be enough. Twenty would barely cut it.
Michael B. Added Mar 14, 2017 - 8:38pm
I'm thinking more like 50...starting with Washington D.C. and the next Million-Whatever March...I'd throw in some napalm and white phosphorous for "dessert", lol.
William Stockton Added Mar 15, 2017 - 9:09am
A few thoughts Billy.
First, the US gov can detect an "open" plutonium source from space.  To shield from those orbiting detectors, to transport a bomb on the black market, one would have to encase any bomb in about 3 feet of lead.
Secondly, they don't transport any amount of plutonium (more than a tenth of a gram) without a heavily armed escort.
Third, they also do not transport any nuclear bomb intact.  The detonating device, the bomb, and the bomb fuel are always transported independently of each other.
 
These safeguards are not just for security in transport.  Plutonium, near any object, eventually transmutes that object into another material due to radiation.  In short, plutonium wreaks havoc on nearby electronics and mechanical devices.  Hence, they don't even store bombs intact.  The only exception is the first response nuclear warheads which have to be constantly maintained by replacing internal componentry every week.  
 
You may note that the robots and remote control vehicles used in both Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters lasted at best hours when driven close to those open radiation sources (reactors).  Moreso, these robots are "shielded" mechanisms to a degree.
However, nuclear bomb devices, both electronic and mechanical, are not shielded due to the addition weight in flight.  Useful service life, next to a plutonium source, is very short.  If a bomb is fully assembled, it has less than a day (or hours) to be used reliably.
 
William Stockton Added Mar 15, 2017 - 9:14am
More fake news by the LA Times to generate fear and loathing in America.   Sad.

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