Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Hundreds of Nuclear Bombs Lost in the Wild!

I stumbled upon a few articles today mentionning surprisingly high number of lost nuclear bombs. Nuclear bombs were invented in the early 1940's and have known many incidents since then. Many bombs have been lost when bombers crashed at sea, when navy boats collided or when nuclear submarines needed to be abandonned.

The most recent incident dates back to the year 2000 when the Kursk, a Russian submarine, encountered a terrible accident in the Barents Sea where all crew members drowned. This was the 7th nuclear submarine to be lost at sea (5 Russians + 2 Americans).
In total, it is said that there are so far 92 known cases of lost nuclear bombs around the world (15 of which we have an approximate idea of the location). Some of which could also be hiding in your backyard or farm field! This figure would be different in reality as I am certain some have been retrieved by now, but other cases might have not been reported for safety reasons. Some rumors raise that number to several hundreds.

This raises questions on many aspects:
-Obviously, nuclear bombs are not something you want to be playing around with. Imagine if a nuclear head is retrieved by an organisation which does not have good intentions. This could have dramatic consequences if one came to detonate. Radioactive material would not only harm humans, but also animals, plants and all sorts of wildlife/ecosystems in the region of the blast. Remember the Tchernobyl disaster in Ukraine where not only locals but all populations located on the path of the 'nuclear clouds' were affected (see map).

-The second thing that we should really be worried about is the hazardous aspect. A nuclear bomb cannot be triggered without a special detonator. It is safe to say that it is very unlikely that one will explode. However, the bomb itself does contain radioactive material and sooner or later, water will do its job on its armature. What now keeps the radioactive elements safe will end up rusting and one day a radioactive leak will escape from the wreck and spread into the wild. This could also have some disastrous consequences for the environment, especially with currents transporting the hazardous material accross thousands of kilometers.

Anyway, these are just some thoughts on the topic. But it shows once again how we humans act in selfish manners regardless of the environment. If you have any additional and interesting information, please share in the comments below.

Did you know? Lost nuclear bombs
Tchernobyl radioacve cloud path map
Nuclear sign image
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