January 13, 2009
Let me start off with a basket of chips, then move on to the pollo asado taco…no wait, nevermind, Id like some rip-roarin, good old nuclear mishaps, with a side of guacamole.
Let me actually start off by saying that I am a proponent of nuclear energy, in theory. Because, theoretically, nuclear energy is the cleanest, most efficient and cost-effective form of energy production that humanity is currently capable of achieving. France, for example, runs almost entirely on nuclear energy, about 80%, while about 20% of the United States is powered by nuclear power plants.
So, obviously, it works, and France is really a shining example of how it can be done correctly. They have a virtually pollution free method of supplying 80% of their energy, they haven’t had any major accidents since the first reactor went online, (although there was one incident involving a small release of barely radioactive, but still toxic material, it was no more dangerous than a spill of any toxic liquid), and French nuclear power has generally been very successful. This is all well and good, but we all know about Chernobyl, we all know about Three Mile Island, and most of us understand what could, theoretically, go wrong.
The problem here, in my opinion, is basically that we are too stupid and unreliable to be fully trusted with something that could potentially ‘fuck our shit up good’. And America, as usual, has displayed a most cavalier attitude about nuclear power and weapons.
Case in point: The Ford Nucleon.
Yup. It’s a car with a nuclear reactor.
Granted, in 1957, it mustve seemed like everything would be powered by uranium in the very near future. This still doesn’t explain what the developers of this concept car thought would happen in an accident – does it? I mean, a breach of the portable reactors core would surely result in the deaths of, at the very least, the passengers inside the Nucleon, and more likely, the slow, painful deaths of a few hundred other motorists on the highway. This wasn’t an issue that stopped the research and development of such a vehicle, even though it was ultimately decided that production was probably not in Fords best interests, as the American public slowly learned the real face of radiation and nuclear energy.
Still, this little tidbit fits in with the way the atomic bomb itself came into existence, an arrogant attitude towards a relatively unknown source of power. Shoot and ask questions later, all that cowboy bullshit that America is built on. Willful ignorance, in exchange for the perception of having abnormally large genitalia, has been the modus operandi for quite some time. This is obviously not an exclusively American trait, as much as we have come to be known for it….Anyway…Here are some other hilarious nuclear mishaps and close calls: (cue the slide whistle/blooper reel music)
–Hay Ricky! These be the dang gone wrong ones!
We don’t have to look back very far to remember one of the whackiest nuclear mishaps….Back in 2007, a simpler time, our illustrious military itself made a boo-boo, loading 6 live nuclear warheads onto a B-52., and flying them over America. This was simply an inability to follow directions by the individuals loading the bombs. Really. No really, they fucking just plum forgot. ‘Whooops! Didnt realize we had those thangs on there…gosh darnit, ill tell you what… my face is red.’The bombs ended up flying across several states, and landed in Missouri, without incident, before being noticed several hours later on the tarmac. The parties involved were dismissed from duty.
– 1956, The Suez Fuck-Up
If you havent heard about this ridiculousness, during the Suez Canal crisis, the Brits, along with the French, were basically fucking with Egypt for reasons that are much too convoluted and stupid to explain here. The Soviets didnt like this too much, and told England that they were about to get fucked up, conventional style. But the Brits were all like, ‘piss off, wankers’ and shit got hectic. After this threat of conventional retaliation by the Soviets, a series of happenstance events occurred which made a massive Soviet attack anticipated, and caused a retaliatory strike to be readied. Long story short, a flock of geese and an innocent Soviet training exercise nearly led to full scale global nuclear war. Thats right, a flock of geese, mistaken for ‘100 Soviet MIGs’, almost tricked a jittery radar guy into commencing WWIII. Seems logical.
– Aurora Borealis…wtf.
The U2 spy plane incident, (not the one youre thinking of), this one in 1962, was just plain whacky (derp!). By 1962, we had agreed to not overtly fuck with the Soviets, this included not spying on them. We had agreed to keep at least 100 miles away from the Soviet border. Well, one of our guys made the mistake of flying his U2 over Siberia by accident, because those god damn pain in the ass northern lights fucked his shit all up, with their solar wind particles and whatnot. So he got a little off track and just nipped the tip of Siberia…the ruskies did not take this type of bullshit likely, and sent out some migs to shoot his ass down. Kennedy, having already watched Eisenhower have his balls removed by Khrushchev in the first U2 incident, was like, ‘aww hell no, bitch’, and sent some of our fighters to escort the spy plane back home. Here is the kicker – they had nuclear missiles armed and onboard, and it was at the pilots discretion to use them. Luckily, they thought better of nuking the USSR for shits and giggles, and we can live above ground to this day.
– We dont need no water, let the motherfucker burn
Right here at home, at McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey, on June 7, 1960, there was an incident that just blows my mind. A nuclear air-defense missile caught on fire after a tank of helium exploded, which melted the missile itself, and the plutonium warhead which was attached burned in a fucking fire for THIRTY minutes. If anything, this should be a testament to the engineering genius of the warheads designers. On the other hand, they let a nuclear warhead burn in a fucking fire for THIRTY minutes. 1.5 kilograms of plutonium was ‘lost’ in the incident, contaminating the surrounding area, and obviously, a much more serious situation was miraculously averted. 30 fucking minutes…they didnt have a fire truck there, or a hose or some shit? I mean, fuck.
– Vasiliy Arkhipov, ‘The Sober Russian’
You know that guy, when youre out drinking, that is always like, ‘nah man, Im gonna stay sober tonight, Im driving’?
Me neither. But I know now that he actually does, or did, exist.
On October 27th, 1962, Vasiliy and his crew were aboard their B-59 Foxtrot class sub, cruising in the pacific, rollin with some nuclear heat, just in case. All of the sudden, eleven American destroyers, and an aircraft carrier surrounded the subs position, and started dropping practice depth charges in order to force the sub to surface and identify itself. The subs captain, Valentin Savitsky, who had presumably been drinking Stoli all morning, was all riled up and ready to put an atomic foot up the yanks ass. Vasiliy, Savitsky, and a soviet political advisor named Ivan Maslennikov had to all agree before launching a nuke by inserting and twisting their Ovaltine decoder rings into the ships launch mechanism.
Maslennikov and Savitsky were good and toasted at this point, and got their rings out, giggling wildly and jumping up and down with excitement. But Vasiliy was all like, ‘dudes, calm down, lets just see whats up’. After being taunted and called a pussy for well over half an hour, his crewmates eventually passed out, and he was able to surface the sub, averting what most certainly wouldve escalated into a massive nuclear exchange.