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Nuclear Weapons Accidents

Since 1950, a total of 32 U.S. nuclear weapons accidents are known to have occurred resulting in the loss or destruction of nuclear warheads.

Most of these accidents involved a single warhead an onboard aircraft that crashed or a missile that blew up, but some accidents destroyed up to four nuclear weapons.

The most recent known accident occurred in 1980 when a nine megaton warhead was blown out of an ICBM silo in Arkansas when missile fuel vapors ignited and exploded.

U.S. Air Force bombers no longer fly with live nuclear weapons, but thousands of nuclear warheads are still on alert on top of potentially volatile missiles. Nuclear warheads are frequently transported on military cargo aircraft and trucks within the United States and to forward deployed locations in Europe.

» Background: Nuclear Weapons Accident In Georgia, 1958

» Fact Sheet, "U.S. Nuclear Weapons Accidents: Danger in Our Midst," The Defense Monitor, Center for Defense Information, 1981.

© Hans M. Kristensen | www.nukestrat.com | 2004-2005



  © Hans M. Kristensen