Friday, October 31, 2008

Nuke Missile Silo Fire Undetected For Five Days

The W78 is the warhead for the Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missile, shown here in silos undergoing maintenance checks by U.S. Air Force personnel. Photographs courtesy of U.S. Air Force.(Photo from Y-12 National Security Complex)

Air Force: Nuke Missile Silo Fire Went Undetected -- Breitbart/AP

DENVER (AP) - A fire caused $1 million worth of damage at an unmanned underground nuclear launch site last spring, but the Air Force didn't find out about it until five days later, an Air Force official said Thursday.

The May 23 fire burned itself out after an hour or two, and multiple safety systems prevented any threat of an accidental launch of the Minuteman III missile, Maj. Laurie Arellano said. She said she was not allowed to say whether the missile was armed with a nuclear warhead at the time of the fire.

Arellano said the Air Force didn't know a fire had occurred until May 28, when a repair crew went to the launch site—about 40 miles east of Cheyenne, Wyo., and 100 miles northeast of Denver—because a trouble signal indicated a wiring problem.

She said the flames never entered the launch tube where the missile stood and there was no danger of a radiation release.

The fire, blamed on a faulty battery charger, burned a box of shotgun shells, a shotgun and a shotgun case that were kept in the room, Arellano said. A shotgun is a standard security weapon at missile silos.

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My Comment: I am sure there are numerous safeguards that would prevent a launch and/or accidental nuclear explosion. What I find disturbing about this report is that it took 5 days before anyone realized that there was a problem.

1 comment:

A. McCrory said...

This is NOT a W78 warhead. This is a long retired W56 Minuteman II warhead.

The W78 is this:

The Warhead is actually between the two joints you see. The top is the nose or "forward Section" (like those accidentally sent to Taiwan.) The bottom is the aft section. There is now only 1 warhead under the titanium shroud, not 3, that sits on the top of the Minutement missile.

Do your homework.