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To clarify the following: A plane flying over North Carolina actually falls apart, two bombs stronger than those used on Japan (WWII) were dropped, one nearly activates.
From The Guardian:
This document was written on 22 October 1969 by Parker F Jones, the supervisor of the nuclear weapons safety department at Sandia national laboratories. The document has recently been declassified having been acquired under freedom of information provisions by the investigative reporter Eric Schlosser for his new book Command and Control. It is published here for the first time.
In the document, Jones gives his response to a passage in a book by Dr Ralph Lapp, a physicist involved in the Manhattan Project that developed the first nuclear bombs, that describes the accident in 1961 in which two hydrogen bombs were dropped inadvertently over North Carolina. An extract of Lapp’s book is reprinted on the left hand column of the first page of this document, and Jones’s expert response is printed on the right hand column.
From the first page of the document, Lapp writes:
[T]he 24 megaton warhead [Jones: bomb, not warhead] was equipped with six [Jones: not six, four] interlocking safety mechanisms, all of which had to be triggered in sequence to explode the bomb. When Air Force experts rushed to the North Carolina farm to examine the weapon after the accident, they found that five of the six had been set off by the fall [Jones: one "set off" by the fall. Two rendered ineffective by aircraft breakup.]
From the second page of the document, Jones writes:
One simple, dynamo-technology, low voltage switch stood between the United States and a major catastrophe!
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.