View Full Version : N-Bombs.......11 missing during Cold War

09-15-2004, 07:10 AM
One of these...a US Gov. pre-owned..never used issue... :D .. is sitting one mile off Savanah Georgia in only 12 feet of water since the early fifties....accidentally dropped!...and US Gov. never bothered to recover!?...how sloppy. web page (http://www.savannahnow.com/stories/091404/2441929.shtml)

[ 09-15-2004, 08:16 AM: Message edited by: Norske3 ]

09-15-2004, 09:49 AM
"...I wish they'd forget about the whole thing," City Councilman Jack Youmans said. "They're just wasting their time. It ain't going to hurt anybody. And it scares the hell out of the tourists."

Yeah! Scardy cats!
...It's only a 7,600-pound hydrogen bomb...!

09-15-2004, 10:01 AM
You mean all al-Qaeda needs is scuba gear and a couple of lift bags?

So much for "homeland security"...

09-15-2004, 10:02 AM
no wonder we all are getting cancer...They have to retrieve it now, before the terrorists get it. :mad:

John of Phoenix
09-15-2004, 10:42 AM
OK thinking caps on...

According to the article, a 7600 lb nuclear bomb contains 400 lbs of TNT. Assume a casing of 1600 lbs.(to keep the math simple). How much fissionable material is contained in the bomb?

:eek: :eek:

[Oh yea, where are the other TEN missing nukes?]

[ 09-15-2004, 11:47 AM: Message edited by: John Teetsel ]

James R
09-15-2004, 11:01 AM
Originally posted by John Teetsel:
How much fissionable material is contained in the bomb?Very roughly, 22 to 33 lbs depending on the material.

Oyvind Snibsoer
09-15-2004, 02:45 PM
I'd be more concerned with the Lithium Deuteride in the secondary. Although a non-radioactive material, lithium reacts violently with water. That secondary, at least, must be pretty well sealed, or there would've been an explosion a long time ago. However, water WILL get in there sooner or later and cause a pretty massive explosion. Although there is no way that explosion will set off the nuke, you will have radioactive material spread over a large area. There is no way the nuke itself can be set off accidentally by this explosion, however, especially considering the fact that this is a very early design, and the bomb is 46 years old.

As I understand it, the bomb must be well buried in the mud. It would take extremely sophistcated subsea equipment to recover it unnoticed in the shallow water, and it's not a capability that a terrorist organization is likely to possess.

The Gentleman Sawyer
09-15-2004, 03:23 PM
Why wouldn't it have the plutonium capsule?

The Gentleman Sawyer

09-15-2004, 03:27 PM
CNN reports 50 H-bombs missing worldwide!!..how do you misplace a bomb?......Russia leads with highest score....I wonder how many the terrorists have found.

[ 09-15-2004, 04:32 PM: Message edited by: Norske3 ]

Oyvind Snibsoer
09-16-2004, 08:05 AM
I can't really understand that it doesn't have the "plutonium capsule". I believe it would've been a pretty labor intensive task to fit and remove the entire "capsule" when arming and disarming the bomb. However, at least for the early nukes, a polonium initiator was required in the very core of the bomb. The particular polonium isotope had a very short half-life, on the order of a few hundred days, so it was required to insert a fresh polonium core just prior to using the bomb. For this purpose, a "wedge" of the plutonium shell was removed and fitted with the polonium core. And unless the plutonium shell is perfectly spherical, and the detonators fire at the exact same time, the whole thing will fizzle and burn like a wet match at best. BTW, the detonators aren't simply TNT, either. A lot of effort went into the R&D of the detonators in the Manhattan Project, and they're made from several different kinds of explosive to fire in a very precise and predictable manner.

Although the physics of nuclear explosions may be in the public domain, detonator design certainly isn't. And without the proper detonators, there's no way you're gonna make a plutonium bomb work.

On a sidebar, I believe Oppie, Szilard et al. were correct in pushing for and developing the Bomb during WWII. Physicists around the world knew about the possibility of making a nuclear explosion well before the war, and it was a race between the Americans/British, the Germans and the Japanese. In the end, it turned out that only the Americans had the industrial resources to do it, and only by, "turning the country into one big factory", as Niels Bohr said. The Manhattan Project employed as many people as the entire US automobile industry at the end of the war. (It also leaked information like a sieve to the Russians. They were well aware of the effort long before the Trinity test, and had already started their own development efforts). Especially the separation of U-235 from U-238 required vast resources.

Although the development of the Bomb was inevitable, it is very regretful that the scientists' attempts at forming some international body of control did not succeed. Although the internationalist Roosevelt was positive, Churchill held a different view and was able to turn Roosevelt around.

The criminal physicist, IMHO, was Edward Teller, who single-mindedly pushed for development of the super. A fission bomb can only be made so big, while a thermonuclear has no inherent limits to its yield, and it's perfectly feasible to destory the entire world with one single bomb. In fact, Edward Teller already had a conceptual design for such a device on his blackboard at Los Alamos. The method of delivery for this device was simply stated as "back yard". Since the bomb would destroy the entire globe anyways, there would be no point in taking it anywhere.

[ 09-16-2004, 09:05 AM: Message edited by: Oyvind Snibsoer ]

09-16-2004, 09:39 AM
Some statements in the newspaper article bother me. I don't know the design of the bomb, but probably has a U235 or plutonium trigger, which at this point in time won't work.

The statement about sensing a high level of radioactivity at the site is suspicious. U235 is a beta and gamma emitter but is not very radioactive. Its half life is nearly a billion years.

Plutoniam is an alpha and gamma emitter and the activity is greater since it has a shorter half life. However, the alpha's would be stopped in a very short distance by almost anything , including water, and the gammas are low energy about equal to what your TV set generates. Not much risk there either

If the trigger is plutonium, that could still be a real concern since plutonium is an extreamly poisonous material. Sooner or later it will escape. If U235 it can be ignored.