Nuclear Weapons and Safety

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Investigative journalist Eric Schlosser uncovers secrets about the management of America’s nuclear arsenal and reveals how the combination of human fallibility and technological complexity still poses a grave risk to mankind. His new book Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety explores the dilemma that has existed since the dawn of the nuclear age:  how do you deploy weapons of mass destruction without being destroyed by them? 


Eric Schlosser

Comments [10]


to amy from manhattan.... the target of nuclear weapons was civilian population centers in order to break the enemies will to fight

Sep. 18 2013 01:19 PM

How truthful was the 2002 Harrison ford movie "k-19 the widow maker'" about a stricken Russian submarine in american waters whose crew refused an American rescue, but was willing to incinerate the east coast rather than let Americans help them. It was marketed as a true story . Does mr. Schleps see know if that was the case?

Sep. 18 2013 12:41 PM
J from NYC

There's a 28% chance in ten years that terrorists use a nuclear bomb to destroy a city. That's a 56% chance in 20 years. According to Professor Bunn from Harvard and separately (and coincidentally), a giant survey of terrorism experts across the globe (diplomats, professors) conducted by Senator Lugar. And according to the Cambridge University Center for Existential Risk, this risk is increasing over time not decreasing. NYC is considered the primary target. I'll gladly have my emails read and phone calls monitored if it helps reduce the chance that NYC and DC disappear.

Sep. 18 2013 12:40 PM
Ed from Larchmont

It shows that clear reason, followed carefully but by reason alone, can lead to disaster and craziness. The history also shows that: if God does not will it or allow it, it does not happen, and this didn't happen.

Sep. 18 2013 12:37 PM
Oscar from NY

..too late, Israel already has an arsenal of nukes that were either stolen, borrowed, or bought, either way not even the iea can tell these ppl anything, when the right time comes it'll be like how we all know already.. Allah akbar Allah akbar Allah Akbar..KABOOM!!!!!..

Sep. 18 2013 12:36 PM
onyesoh from New York

I found this from Jim H

My dad help build silo # 8 back in 1960. In fact he almost died in Nov. 1960. He was running a Cat 977 in the silo at a depth of 80′ when a 3′ rock came loose from the shaft wall hitting his machine crushing his leg and a part hit a labor killing that gentlemen. My father laided on the ground for several hours while they worked getting the elevator that carried the men in and out to work. I found a website (it is on my home computer) that had a typed out report from the start of the construction to the end written by a Air Force Colonel detailing everything about the construction, problems they had at each site and the accidents and what happen the day my dad got hurt and all I can say is if that happen today they would be at the house with there check books open, The report stated that they did not have enough rock bolts , gunit or wire mesh to keep the walls secure from falling rocks. Plus the report stated that the elevator was to be in operations at all times and it was down when the accident happen. My father did not talk much about it but I know he went from a person that water skied, snow skied to a person that had problems with his right leg up to the day he died. He tried suing but retained a crappy lawyer and never got a penny. He ended up going back to work running a huge air compressor since they let him sit in his car until he have to shut it down. But at silo # 8 I want to say two men died in the construction of the one site. But the silos built in upstate New York were much better than the ones constructed in the midwest has far as cost over runs and other issues. You have to remember in the early 60′s before the missiles of October crises they were building these silos all across the country at a very fast pace. The rocket tecknology out paced the construction so once the silos were built the rockets were already obsolete. From what I read the silos in NY were not in uses for a very short period. But there is a site you will have to Google it but I want to say it is maintained by the guys from the Air Force that worked at the silos and someone took the time to do a time line useing the news paper articals from the Plattsburgh Press from the very start when it was announced that they were going to build the silos around a perimeter of the air base 30+ miles out. Also is the report that I mentioned is in PDF form but I learned a ton from it. I was only a year old when my dad got hurt so that is why I have looked high and low to get information about this. All of this is too cool and glad they never had to shot one off.

Sep. 18 2013 12:31 PM
John A from Derevco International

To the first commenter, the science and technology of the 'Mission Impossible' movies was absolutely absurd, to name movies that I have seen. Whatever sells the most tickets has nothing to do with reality, in many, many cases.

Sep. 18 2013 12:16 PM
Amy from Manhattan

Where was a bomb that could destroy an area the size of Arkansas intended to be used? No battlefield or military target is that big.

Sep. 18 2013 12:14 PM
Jenna from UES

Can you ask your guest about the potential for small impacts to defunct nuclear power plants? It seems to me even a meteorite or wayward helicopter could blast radioactive dust up into the atmosphere. Are these areas under any kind of no-fly security?

Sep. 18 2013 12:12 PM
Robert from Brooklyn

In the recent Hollywood production "Olympus Has Fallen" there is a situation where the main terrorist, got an access to American nukes' deactivation mechanism, which as I understood, was a small detonation which supposed to damage the system, controlling initiation of nuclear process in the the bomb, so the bomb cannot be used.
I was wondering if there is even remotely possible to initiate a chain reaction in the bomb being in a tight space surrounding the nuke, like silos, with the deactivation detonation (if this system works like this) and possibly using the power of the fuel powering the rocket in the mix? And Is there any possibility to start the nuclear process in the nuclear bomb, with any other outside conventional detonation or bombing, not that one which was precisely designed to reach critical mass in some type of nuclear bombs.
Were we fooled by Hollywood again?

Sep. 18 2013 11:40 AM

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