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Last Cold War-era B53 nuclear bomb dismantled in Texas

The last of America's most powerful Cold War-era nuclear bombs - the B53 - has been dismantled in Texas.

Experts have separated around 300lb (136kg) of high explosives from the bomb's uranium "pit".

Weighing 10,000lb, the B53 was the size of a minivan and said to be 600 times more destructive than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, in 1945.

It was first put into service at the height of the Cold War in 1962, and remained in the US arsenal until 1997.

The bomb was designed to hit targets deep underground, such as bunkers in which military and civilian leaders might be sheltering.

Carried by B-52 bombers, the "bunker busters" used five parachutes to land softly on their targets before detonating a nine megaton explosion, in effect simulating an earthquake.

They have been superseded by bombs that burrow into the ground and then explode.

The first B53s were destroyed in the 1980s but several remained in service until 1997, when they were all retired.

'Significant milestone'A dismantling program had to be specially designed for the B53s, which were made with older technology and by scientists who have since retired or died.

Continue reading the main story“Start QuoteThe B53 was a weapon developed in another time for a different world. Today, we're moving beyond the Cold War nuclear weapons complex”

Thomas D'AgostinoNational Nuclear Security AdministrationThe US Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) has said the program, which was completed once this final bomb had been dismantled, is a year ahead of schedule.

The head of the NNSA, Thomas D'Agostino, called the decomissioning of the last B53 a "significant milestone".

"The world is a safer place with this dismantlement," he said.

"The B53 was a weapon developed in another time for a different world. Today, we're moving beyond the Cold War nuclear weapons complex that built it toward a 21st Century nuclear security enterprise."

After disassembly, the uranium pits from the bomb will be temporarily stored at the Pantex plant near Amarillo, Texas, where Tuesday's dismantling was carried out.

The plant is the only nuclear weapons assembly and disassembly facility in the US.

The plant is likely to be involved with future disassembly projects as older weapons are retired.

According to figures released by the US state department in May 2012, the US has 5,113 nuclear warheads in its current stockpile, down from 31,255 in 1967.


Added: Oct-25-2011 Occurred On: Oct-25-2011
By: ccfc
In:
Science and Technology
Tags: Nuclear Bomb, Cold War, USA
Location: Texas, United States (load item map)
Views: 8135 | Comments: 23 | Votes: 1 | Favorites: 1 | Shared: 0 | Updates: 0 | Times used in channels: 1
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  • Comment of user 'Twinkle_toes' has been deleted by author (after account deletion)!
  • Shame, that baby could have been put to good use in the middle east

    Posted Oct-25-2011 By 

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  • Comment of user 'Gusr' has been deleted by author (after account deletion)!
  • have a look at this website you can drop a bomb on where you live to see what damage it would do,

    http://www.carloslabs.com/projects/200712B/GroundZero.html

    Posted Oct-26-2011 By 

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  • And suddenly we have enough nuclear fuel to power all of LA for free for 18 months

    Posted Oct-25-2011 By 

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    • Comment of user 'uschairforcesgt' has been deleted by author (after account deletion)!
  • Nuke the fuckers!

    Posted Oct-25-2011 By 

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  • Comment of user 'ReplicantDeckard' has been deleted by author (after account deletion)!
  • Kind of a pop gun compared to Russia's Czar bomb, a 70+ megaton anihilator.

    Posted Oct-25-2011 By 

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    • @Dick Fabulous have a look at this website you can drop a bomb on where you live to see what damage it would do,http://www.carloslabs.com/projects/200712B/GroundZero.html

      Posted Oct-26-2011 By 

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    • @matspur32 You know, I dont think thats too accurate. It doesnt take into account city structures and such. If you go strictly by I guess, flat land, burn only, no blast damage kind of analysis, I'm surprised how limited even the biggest weapon is. The full kill damage doesnt even hit the top of Manhattan if you center it on Wall St., and thats with the 50 Megaton size.

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    • @Dick Fabulous i hope we never have to find out for real,i think the tsar bomb was made to detonate above ground,more a radiation killer than a blast killer?even though many people would die from the blast

      Posted Oct-26-2011 By 

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  • Comment of user 'fresnopete' has been deleted by author (after account deletion)!
  • too big for a suicide vest, but a terrorist's wet dream nevertheless...

    Posted Oct-26-2011 By 

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  • spare it for afghanistan

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