Friday, December 22, 2006

Amarillo sky high

The president of Pantex, the company in charge of dismantling nuclear weapons at their plant in Amarillo, has issued a statement categorically denying that the panhandle almost blew up last year.
A warning that an accident last year at the government's Pantex nuclear weapons factory near Amarillo could have led to a nuclear detonation "is an outright falsehood," the head of the company that runs the plant said Thursday.
Whew, that's a relief. So don't worry about those letters alleging "unthinkable" hazards, or the history of safety violations (who knew duct tape was so versatile?), or the on-going investigation into the latest accidents, or the whistleblower citing concerns about security.

According to one site that sounds like it might know, even if there were an accident, the possibility of a nuclear explosion is really, really unlikely. And even if an explosion occurred, it wouldn't be a melt-down, just a conventional explosion, you know, like setting off a little TNT.

Wait a minute.....isn't that the definition of a dirty bomb?

Basically, the principal type of dirty bomb, or Radiological Dispersal Device (RDD), combines a conventional explosive, such as dynamite, with radioactive material. In most instances, the conventional explosive itself would have more immediate lethality than the radioactive material......A dirty bomb is in no way similar to a nuclear weapon. The presumed purpose of its use would be therefore not as a Weapon of Mass Destruction but rather as a Weapon of Mass Disruption.

Not to be confused with Weapons of Mass Deception, that's a whole 'nother story.

The gurus describe a likely scenario.
Anyway, yield or no yield, an accidental explosion of the HE in a W56 primary would be extremely lethal to nearby workers, create a major environmental cleanup problem and seriously erode the public’s confidence in operations at Pantex.
Ya think?

Just in case, if you're sending Christmas cookies to anyone in Amarillo, don't forget the potassium iodide tablets.

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