0
   

North Carolina nearly nuked.

 
 
Worzel Gummidge
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 Oct, 2013 04:15 am
@oralloy,
Hi,

I'm new to this but I can confirm that neither of the Mk-39 bombs which fell at Goldsboro detonated. Brodie of Sandia says one did, but he is simply incorrect, and this error has been repeated by others. You might find this interesting:

http://nuclearweaponsaccidents.blogspot.co.uk/

You might also reflect on this:

"Contact fuses for U.S. atomic bombs were developed starting in 1951 and they have often been employed as last-ditch backups to other types of warhead fuses.64 These fuses are also known as "salvage" fuses in that they can "salvage" the bomb and cause it to explode when all other fuses fail. These fuses must function after withstanding extreme deceleration forces and delivery vehicle deformation.65

64 AF ATOMIC ENERGY PROGRAM, Vol. IV, p. 89.
65 Rosengren, RDA-TR-122100-001-Rev. 1, p. 102.

www.ibiblio.org/bomb/hansen.html"

Again, Mssrs. O&M are in lock-step with Sandia and Mr. Hansen on this: they indicate quite plainly that the nose crsytals were both present and "crushed." O&M: bang on as usual with impeccable facts.

So, if all the other fuzes failed and the bomb still didn't go bang (conventionally or otherwise) the bomb obviously was neither armed as a viable nuclear weapon, nor had it run through all the other fuzing processes.

As O&M state: How close was the Goldsboro bomb to producing a nuclear explosion? Not at all.

QED.
oralloy
 
  -1  
Reply Wed 9 Oct, 2013 05:21 am
@Worzel Gummidge,
Worzel Gummidge wrote:
Hi,
I'm new to this but

Welcome to A2K! Very Happy


Worzel Gummidge wrote:
I can confirm that neither of the Mk-39 bombs which fell at Goldsboro detonated. Brodie of Sandia says one did, but he is simply incorrect, and this error has been repeated by others.

The claim is not that the bomb did go off, but that it very nearly went off.


Worzel Gummidge wrote:
So, if all the other fuzes failed and the bomb still didn't go bang (conventionally or otherwise) the bomb obviously was neither armed as a viable nuclear weapon, nor had it run through all the other fuzing processes.

The bomb failed to go off because of one reason only: there was a switch that needed to be activated before the bomb could go off. That switch had not been activated.


Worzel Gummidge wrote:
As O&M state: How close was the Goldsboro bomb to producing a nuclear explosion? Not at all.

The switch that prevented the explosion was problematic and highly unreliable. The odds of the switch failing and the bomb producing a full-yield nuclear explosion were about the same as a game of Russian Roulette.
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 Oct, 2013 09:28 am
@oralloy,
oralloy, It's more than one switch that fuses a bomb. It has to be in sequence for it to have a nuclear explosion. The safety sequence is what makes accidental explosions impossible.

One safety "switch" is the best safeguard that I can't talk about that will never accidentally turn itself on. It's a manual operation.

All these news reports about "nearly" are from people who are just ignorant of facts.

I learned somethings about nukes by working with them for four years in the USAF.

Why do you think with thousands of warheads since WWII, no accidental explosion ever occured?

SAFETY PROCESSES. They have worked, and will continue to work.

I'm sure since the late fifties when I worked with them, they have made improvements to the safety processes.

Foofie
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 Oct, 2013 09:55 am
@cicerone imposter,
Your points are well taken. The lack of knowledge this thread points to might be kept in mind on other threads too. It is one thing to have opposite views, based on personal ideologies, but you present facts that others might not have even either understood, or perceived; yet, the sky was falling, a la Henny Penny, in my opinion.

Knowledge is such a good antidote to drama, in my opinion.
0 Replies
 
Worzel Gummidge
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Oct, 2013 01:49 am
@oralloy,
Hi Oralloy,

Thank you. It's a pleasure to be here.

I think you may have misunderstood: several "experts" claimed that the conventional charge exploded on impact. It did not. This would have created a nasty dirty bomb. I make reference to this only because I believe that it is indicative of a certain amount of casual shilling on the part of Sandia.

I have to disagree about the single switch. That is errant nonsense. If you read the links, you will see that, not only were the weapons not armed, but that the fuzing components did not complete. There is a certain amount of (I believe) wilful ambiguity about exactly which switch saved the day.

The allusion to Russian Roulette is patently silly. Have a look at:

http://nuclearweaponsaccidents.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/goldsboro-19-steps-away-from-detonation.html

Then read the comments. Hansen himself says that the weapons simply cannot have been armed.

oralloy
 
  0  
Reply Thu 10 Oct, 2013 06:47 am
@Worzel Gummidge,
Worzel Gummidge wrote:
I think you may have misunderstood: several "experts" claimed that the conventional charge exploded on impact. It did not. This would have created a nasty dirty bomb. I make reference to this only because I believe that it is indicative of a certain amount of casual shilling on the part of Sandia.

I have not heard anyone claim that the conventional charges exploded on this particular bomb, and certainly not anyone associated with Sandia.


Worzel Gummidge wrote:
I have to disagree about the single switch. That is errant nonsense. If you read the links, you will see that, not only were the weapons not armed, but that the fuzing components did not complete.

Here is a direct quote from the Chuck Hansen preview page you linked:

"During the breakup of the airframe, three of four arming safety devices on one bomb were actuated,"


Worzel Gummidge wrote:
There is a certain amount of (I believe) wilful ambiguity about exactly which switch saved the day.

This is the switch that they are talking about (description quoted from the blog you linked):

"First and foremost, B-52G aircraft power must be applied to the weapon via two crew members using the Aircraft Monitoring and Control System and a specific voltage and amperage (and for a specific amount of time) before the Ready/Safe Switch could be rotated to the 'Arm' position."

Incidentally, the blog is confused about which of the two bombs all the fuss is about. It's the one that the blog refers to as "Bomb 1" that people are saying almost had a full-yield explosion.


Worzel Gummidge wrote:
The allusion to Russian Roulette is patently silly.

The Russian Roulette reference is because that "Ready/Safe Switch" was said to be unreliable and prone to frequent failure.
cicerone imposter
 
  2  
Reply Thu 10 Oct, 2013 09:08 am
@oralloy,
Quote:
"First and foremost, B-52G aircraft power must be applied to the weapon via two crew members using the Aircraft Monitoring and Control System and a specific voltage and amperage (and for a specific amount of time) before the Ready/Safe Switch could be rotated to the 'Arm' position."


I'm not sure where you obtained this info, but that is correct. A nuclear weapon CANNOT arm itself. It doesn't have a "brain." It's a sequential process that has four safety sequences that must be followed, and an accidental drop or an plane crash will not result in a nuclear explosion.

Period.
0 Replies
 
Worzel Gummidge
 
  1  
Reply Fri 11 Oct, 2013 03:58 am
@oralloy,
Hi Oraloy,

You might benefit from reading the following link and an extract from one of the authors below:

http://nuclearweaponsaccidents.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/goldsboro-19-steps-away-from-detonation.html

Michael H. Maggelet | October 10, 2013

The weapons involved at Goldsboro, Thule, Yuba City, etc., were in no danger of detonating. While many critics and well meaning individuals continue to harp on the “one switch” mantra, let’s take a look at what was required for the Mk 39 Mod 2 to produce a nuclear yield. All info is declassified and from DOD and DOE sources.

First and foremost, there is no safety switch in the cockpit. The device is known as the DCU-47 and it’s part of the Aircraft Monitoring and Control equipment (AMAC). Since we’re discussing Goldsboro, I’ll go into some detail and refute some myths also.

AMAC for the B-52 at Goldsboro (actually near Faro, NC) consisted of the DCU-47 and the T-249. The DCU-47 was located near the pilot’s seat and was a toggle operated switch designed to provide power on demand to the T-249. It was safety wired and sealed to prevent inadvertent activation and to detect tampering (per SAC regs). During the bomb run, the pilot would break the seal and open the cover, and toggle a switch for the forward or aft bomb. He had to keep the switch toggled during the entirety of the bomb run, otherwise power would be removed from the T-249 and the weapons would automatically safe.

The T-249 was located in the lower flight deck of the B-52 at the bomb/nav or weaponeer station. During pre-flight or in flight, the T-249 was used to monitor the safe status of the bomb (or safe the bomb, if required). The T-249 could not be used by itself to arm the bombs- that could only be done with the consent of the pilot using the DCU-47. It too was safety wired and sealed to prevent inadvertent operation and to detect tampering.

On a side note, I see mention of the SWESS system occasionally, it was nothing more than an emergency jettison system with mechanical and electrical interlocks which gave the crew the means to emergency jettison the bombs if necessary. It did not “automatically” drop weapons if the crew was disabled or other nonsense.

The Mk 39 Mod 2 had three safety switches, not one as is commonly stated. These consisted of the MC-772 Ready/Safe Switch which was visible through the bomb case and a glass window, the MC-788 Electrical Arming/Safing Switch in the bomb’s electronics cartridge, and the MC-732 Trajectory Arm Switch in the bomb tail subassembly.

The primary means of safing the bomb was through the AMAC controllers and MC-772, which was designed to be electrically rotated to “arm” by aircrew intent following a nineteen step checklist. The bombs internal thermal batteries could not be used to rotate the MC-772. Only aircraft power of 28 volts/3 amps for three continuous seconds, applied via the DCU-47 and T-249 and a special aircraft/bomb cable could pre-arm the weapons before drop. The MC-788 Electronic Arming/Safing Switch in the cartridge could only be operated via the MC-772.

During Goldsboro, the low voltage and high voltage thermal batteries (HVTB) activated after the pulse plugs were removed- that would also happen if the bomb accidentally fell during a ground accident (failure of the U-2 sling during loading, for example). The LVTB’s would activate, however no current could reach the X-unit due to the fact that the MC-772 and MC-788 were in the safe position, and the MC-732 did not sense a pressure change.

Since the bombs were torn from their U-2 racks during the Goldsboro accident, the pullouts were extracted and the LVTB and pulse generators activated. The MC-772, MC-788, and MC-732 prevented any current from reaching the X-unit (which could not be charged).

During the entire sequence of events, the MC-772 and MC-788 prevented any current from the LVTB, pulse generators, HVTB, closing of the baro’s and timers, and piezo’s from reaching the X-unit. Thus, the X-unit could not be placed into a condition to charge the saturable core transformers and the cold cathode tube spark gaps.

The low voltage current from the nose impact switches (piezo’s) could not bypass the R/S switches, and was insufficient to fire the bomb (since the X-unit was not charged).

The detonator bridge wires required very high voltage for initation, and this could only be supplied from the X-unit (with the high degree of precision and simultaneity required for implosion). There were numerous other steps required to place the Mk 39 into a condition to produce a nuclear yield, and without the charging of the X-unit that could not take place. The nuclear system was also one point safe, as shown by the impact of bomb 2 with no HE detonation.

As for claims that “stray voltage” could have resulted in armed bombs during breakup, that’s rather dubious given the complexity of the electrical system of the aircraft and bomb pullout cable. It was a neoprene covered cable (may have been shielded) with numerous pins and contacts, and was torn from the bomb during breakup. Could the cable have been sheared and voltage passed through the correct few pins for an adequate time period to rotate the MC-772? Highly unlikely.

There were several ground incidents during the Cold War where assembly crew smashed cables during weapons assembly, loads crews smashed connectors during loading, and testers failed. When aircraft power was applied, this resulted in activation of the LVTB or stepping of the R/S switch. It should be noted that the R/S is easily safed by manually rotating it to “safe” using a screw driver or pushing a detent (it cannot be manually armed, which would result in breaking contacts in the switch, safing the weapon). Some of the early weapons I worked on, the B43 and the B57, were “antiques” by today’s nuclear safety standards. Never lost a moment of sleep worrying about their safety.
oralloy
 
  0  
Reply Fri 11 Oct, 2013 07:11 am
@Worzel Gummidge,
Quote:
Michael H. Maggelet | October 10, 2013

As for claims that “stray voltage” could have resulted in armed bombs during breakup, that’s rather dubious given the complexity of the electrical system of the aircraft and bomb pullout cable. It was a neoprene covered cable (may have been shielded) with numerous pins and contacts, and was torn from the bomb during breakup. Could the cable have been sheared and voltage passed through the correct few pins for an adequate time period to rotate the MC-772? Highly unlikely.

This is the basis of the Sandia claim that the bomb came very close to going off.

That other stuff about "how the safeties prevented the explosion" wouldn't matter much if those safeties had all been disengaged.

It would be interesting to see what a panel of experts made of the likelihood of it happening.
Worzel Gummidge
 
  2  
Reply Fri 11 Oct, 2013 07:31 am
@oralloy,
Nah, the basis of Parker F. Jones's claim was that a single microswitch saved the day. This is (to use the expression he used to rubbish another expert) "patently erronious" as we know that the weapon needed a number of tasks to be performed, sequentially, by more than one member of crew. Furthermore, not all of the fuzing processes executed.

It's a great story, but it's guff. What's astonishing is how, if you repeat it often enough, guff becomes the Revealed Truth.
Worzel Gummidge
 
  2  
Reply Fri 11 Oct, 2013 07:42 am
@oralloy,
I certainly agree that it would be interesting to hear what a panel of experts had to say.
0 Replies
 
oralloy
 
  0  
Reply Fri 11 Oct, 2013 08:05 am
@Worzel Gummidge,
Worzel Gummidge wrote:
Nah, the basis of Parker F. Jones's claim was that a single microswitch saved the day.

Here is the Sandia report in question:
http://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.documentcloud.org/documents/796426/pages/goldsboro-revisited-pp-1-2-copy-p1-large.gif
http://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.documentcloud.org/documents/796426/pages/goldsboro-revisited-pp-1-2-copy-p2-large.gif

Note the last line of the report:

"If a short to an 'arm' line occurred in a mid-air breakup, a postulate that seems credible, the Mk 39 Mod 2 bomb could have given a nuclear burst."


Worzel Gummidge wrote:
This is (to use the expression he used to rubbish another expert) "patently erronious" as we know that the weapon needed a number of tasks to be performed, sequentially, by more than one member of crew.

Most of those tasks ended up being performed by the plane itself during the act of disintegrating in the air.

The one task that the disintegrating plane did not perform on the bomb was sending it that electrical signal.


Worzel Gummidge wrote:
Furthermore, not all of the fuzing processes executed.

But only because that electrical signal was never sent to the bomb.
BillRM
 
  1  
Reply Fri 11 Oct, 2013 09:20 am
@Worzel Gummidge,
You do not sell books/newspapers by stating that nuclear weapons are safe from accidental nuclear explosives now do you?
Worzel Gummidge
 
  1  
Reply Fri 11 Oct, 2013 10:49 am
@oralloy,
Nope. You've posted the original Sandia report, which was subsequently rubbished by Parker F. Jones (of Sandia) who also indicates, clearly, that the Bisch Generator was isolated.

I don't wish to appear rude, but you really do need to start at the beginning and read through:

http://nuclearweaponsaccidents.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/goldsboro-19-steps-away-from-detonation.html

You will also find that Henson (inadvertently, I suspect) knocks the whole issue into a cocked hat:

Here is an excerpt which I think should have been easy enough for any reasonably diligent journalist to find:

"Contact fuses for U.S. atomic bombs were developed starting in 1951 and they have often been employed as last-ditch backups to other types of warhead fuses.64 These fuses are also known as "salvage" fuses in that they can "salvage" the bomb and cause it to explode when all other fuses fail. These fuses must function after withstanding extreme deceleration forces and delivery vehicle deformation.65

64 AF ATOMIC ENERGY PROGRAM, Vol. IV, p. 89.
65 Rosengren, RDA-TR-122100-001-Rev. 1, p. 102.

www.ibiblio.org/bomb/hansen.html"

Again, Mssrs. O&M are in lock-step with Sandia and Mr. Hansen on this: they indicate quite plainly that the nose crsytals were both present and "crushed." O&M: bang on as usual with impeccable facts.

So, if all the other fuzes failed and the bomb still didn't go bang (conventionally or otherwise) the bomb obviously was neither armed as a viable nuclear weapon, nor had it run through all the other fuzing processes.

As O&M state: "How close was the Goldsboro bomb to producing a nuclear explosion? Not at all."

QED.
cicerone imposter
 
  2  
Reply Fri 11 Oct, 2013 11:25 am
@Worzel Gummidge,
I don't know who gave you the thumb's down, but you are right. There was no possible way for any nuclear weapon to have an "accidental" nuclear explosion.

The sequence of arming a nuclear weapon has too many safeguards.

The proof is in the pudding; with tens of thousands of nuclear warheads, not one had a nuclear explosion - even when they were dropped "accidentally," or when the plane crashed. IT AIN'T GONNA HAPPEN.

Worzel Gummidge
 
  2  
Reply Fri 11 Oct, 2013 03:32 pm
@cicerone imposter,
Hi CI,

A "thumbs down?". Really? That's the level of intellectual vigour here?

Astonishing.

cicerone imposter
 
  2  
Reply Fri 11 Oct, 2013 04:05 pm
@Worzel Gummidge,
Unfortunately, yes, but there are many people who are well educated and experts in their field on a2k. I'm one of the many old-timers on a2k, and have met many face-to-face at meets in San Francisco, Chicago, Houston, Austin, Philadelphia, London, and Lippstadt. My area of some knowledge is in the Travel forums - having traveled to over 190 countries (about 86 unique ones). It's a good place to meet some well informed folks from around the globe. Stick around and enjoy.



0 Replies
 
oralloy
 
  0  
Reply Sat 12 Oct, 2013 11:03 am
@Worzel Gummidge,
Worzel Gummidge wrote:
oralloy wrote:
Worzel Gummidge wrote:
oralloy wrote:
Worzel Gummidge wrote:
Michael H. Maggelet | October 10, 2013

As for claims that “stray voltage” could have resulted in armed bombs during breakup, that’s rather dubious given the complexity of the electrical system of the aircraft and bomb pullout cable. It was a neoprene covered cable (may have been shielded) with numerous pins and contacts, and was torn from the bomb during breakup. Could the cable have been sheared and voltage passed through the correct few pins for an adequate time period to rotate the MC-772? Highly unlikely.

This is the basis of the Sandia claim that the bomb came very close to going off.

Nah, the basis of Parker F. Jones's claim was that a single microswitch saved the day.

Here is the Sandia report in question:
http://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.documentcloud.org/documents/796426/pages/goldsboro-revisited-pp-1-2-copy-p1-large.gif
http://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.documentcloud.org/documents/796426/pages/goldsboro-revisited-pp-1-2-copy-p2-large.gif

Note the last line of the report:

"If a short to an 'arm' line occurred in a mid-air breakup, a postulate that seems credible, the Mk 39 Mod 2 bomb could have given a nuclear burst."

Nope. You've posted the original Sandia report, which was subsequently rubbished by Parker F. Jones (of Sandia)

Isn't the original Sandia report what all the fuss is about?

Aside from an article you posted by Michael H. Maggelet (who thinks it unlikely that such an electrical charge could happen in a disintegrating aircraft), I am unaware of anyone addressing the claims of the Sandia report.


Worzel Gummidge wrote:
which was subsequently rubbished by Parker F. Jones (of Sandia) who also indicates, clearly, that the Bisch Generator was isolated.

Let me guess, it was isolated because the MC-772 switch did not receive an electric current from the bomber's power system??


Worzel Gummidge wrote:
I don't wish to appear rude, but you really do need to start at the beginning and read through:
http://nuclearweaponsaccidents.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/goldsboro-19-steps-away-from-detonation.html

That page acknowledges that three of the four safeties were disengaged on the bomb.

While they go into detail about how the fourth safety prevented the bomb from going off, they do not address Sandia's claim that the disintegrating bomber could have sent power to the bomb and disengaged that fourth safety.


Worzel Gummidge wrote:
You will also find that Henson (inadvertently, I suspect) knocks the whole issue into a cocked hat:

Here is an excerpt which I think should have been easy enough for any reasonably diligent journalist to find:

"Contact fuses for U.S. atomic bombs were developed starting in 1951 and they have often been employed as last-ditch backups to other types of warhead fuses.64 These fuses are also known as "salvage" fuses in that they can "salvage" the bomb and cause it to explode when all other fuses fail. These fuses must function after withstanding extreme deceleration forces and delivery vehicle deformation.65

64 AF ATOMIC ENERGY PROGRAM, Vol. IV, p. 89.
65 Rosengren, RDA-TR-122100-001-Rev. 1, p. 102.

www.ibiblio.org/bomb/hansen.html

Here is a direct quote from the Chuck Hansen preview page you linked:

"During the breakup of the airframe, three of four arming safety devices on one bomb were actuated,"


Worzel Gummidge wrote:
Again, Mssrs. O&M are in lock-step with Sandia and Mr. Hansen on this: they indicate quite plainly that the nose crystals were both present and "crushed." O&M: bang on as usual with impeccable facts.

They all seem to be in lockstep on the fact that three of the four safety systems were successfully disengaged on the bomb.

The others do not seem to address Sandia's claim that there had been a grave risk that the disintegrating bomber could send an electrical current to the bomb and disengage the fourth safety as well.


Worzel Gummidge wrote:
So, if all the other fuzes failed and the bomb still didn't go bang (conventionally or otherwise) the bomb obviously was neither armed as a viable nuclear weapon, nor had it run through all the other fuzing processes.

Only because the fourth safety was not disengaged.

The point of the Sandia report was that they think there had been a grave risk that the disintegrating bomber could have sent power to the bomb and disengaged that fourth safety.


Worzel Gummidge wrote:
As O&M state: "How close was the Goldsboro bomb to producing a nuclear explosion? Not at all."
QED.

How close the bomb was to going off depends on the odds of a disintegrating bomber sending an inadvertent electrical current to a bomb.
oralloy
 
  0  
Reply Sat 12 Oct, 2013 11:04 am
@BillRM,
BillRM wrote:
You do not sell books/newspapers by stating that nuclear weapons are safe from accidental nuclear explosives now do you?

The fact that three of four safeties were disengaged on that bomb, and the fact that Sandia felt there had been a grave risk of the fourth disengaging as well, seems to be somewhat newsworthy.

I note that Sandia felt that the B41 and B53 had the same vulnerability!

I remember that during the Clinton Administration there was a big push to incorporate ENDS into the B53. I guess now I know why.
cicerone imposter
 
  2  
Reply Sat 12 Oct, 2013 11:39 am
@oralloy,
Quote:
While they go into detail about how the fourth safety prevented the bomb from going off, they do not address Sandia's claim that the disintegrating bomber could have sent power to the bomb and disengaged that fourth safety.


What you are claiming can't happen. It must be sequential, and one of the safety devices requires manual manipulation. It can't happen accidentally or on its own. IT'S IMPOSSIBLE!

Those people at Sandia who claims it can happen accidentally don't know what they're talking about. I don't give a crap who they work for.

Take my word for it; I've worked on them for four years.
0 Replies
 
 

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