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Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D.

H-Bomb off the SC/GA Coast

By February 8, 2004

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This morning's edition of the Charleston The Post & Courier tells the tale of a nuclear bomb, which was dropped off of the Atlantic coast back in 1958 by a damaged Air Force plane. This particular 'Broken Arrow' is a Mark 15 model, potentially able to incinerate everything within a five-mile radius and contaminate a 160-mile radius with radioactive fallout. If you're thinking this a deep water dud, think again. First, it isn't in deep water. Derek Duke, a retired U.S. Air Force colonel, and Harris Parker, treasure hunter and former boat-racer, appear to have located the bomb in shallow water (about 12 ft. deep) and about 20 miles from downtown Savannah. Second, it may not be a dud. Although the Air Force has stated that the nuke lacked its plutonium trigger, a recently declassified letter written by W. J. Howard, Secretary of Defense at the time, identified the nuke as a 'complete' nuclear bomb, with its plutonium capsules installed and capable of detonation. Before the appearance of Howard's letter, the main concern was the weapons-grade uranium, just waiting for someone to come fetch it. Now, it appears the problem is a potentially live H-bomb off the coast. Why isn't it being recovered? Danger of detonation? Expense? Duke and Parker submitted a recovery proposal to the military, estimating search costs at about $1 million, but the military apparently told them that the bomb was better 'left buried in the seabed'. Um... the seabed is practically a sandbar. Haven't they seen the Bikini Island film? Read the details at the Post & Courier (free registration required). As for me, I guess I'll brush up on my Duck and Cover technique.

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October 10, 2009 at 2:31 pm
(1) BadGirl30 says:

Indeed, very few people, on any side in Afghanistan, could still be classed as part of the anti-Soviet mujahidin struggle, since that ended 20 years ago. ,

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