US President Barack Obama today announced a revamp of a policy that dictates the conditions under which nuclear weapons would be used by the United States.
The Nuclear Posture Review, which was published on Tuesday, now completely rules out the use of nuclear weapons by the US in response to an attack using chemical, biological, or conventional weapons.
The new document says that the US will use nuclear weapons only in “extreme circumstances,” although it did not specify what those circumstances would be. It also commits the US to not develop new nuclear warheads, although the country’s arsenal of conventional (non-nuclear) weapons will be maintained. Read More…
A partial core meltdown of the Three Mile Island Nuclear Generating Station near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA resulted in the release of an estimated 43,000 curies (1.59 PBq) of radioactive krypton to the environment.
By comparison, up to 600 times more iodine-131 (between 7,000 and 12,000 curies) were intentionally released into the atmosphere by the Hanford Site in the state of Washington in 1949 as part of a military experiment to test air force monitoring equipment.
The accident of 1979 was the most significant accident in the history of the American commercial nuclear power generating industry. Read More…
According to the unnamed officials, some work still remained on the treaty, a successor to the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which was signed in 1991 and expired in December 2009.
An American official said that while “we are still working to finalize the treaty,” diplomats from both sides said they were optimistic that the deal was near completion.
The new-found optimism came after a recent breakthrough in negotiations, which have taken nearly a year, longer than either the Americans or Russians expected. Originally, the treaty was to be negotiated in London of April 2009, but the completion date was then pushed back to December 2009, a deadline that passed with no deal. Read More…
According to senior officials in the Obama administration, the U.S. is to significantly and permanently reduce its stockpile of nuclear weapons by thousands of weapons as part of a major rethinking of American nuclear policy.
As part of the new policy, conventional weapons will have a greater role in the future. According to officials, there are thousands of weapons that could be retired, largely by eliminating those currently stored.
The move comes as a significant step towards Obama’s stated goal of reducing and eventually ending the spread of nuclear weapons worldwide.
The policy changes come as part of the Nuclear Posture Review, a document which is undertaken by all presidents. In addition to the reduction of nuclear weapons, Obama’s review will also adjust the United States’ defense towards non-nuclear options, including missile defense, largely within striking distance of the Persian Gulf to reduce the threat posed by countries such as Iran. Read More…
The Castle Bravo, a 15-megaton hydrogen bomb, is detonated on Bikini Atoll in the Pacific Ocean, resulting in the worst radioactive contamination ever caused by the United States.
Castle Bravo was the code name given to the first U.S. test of a so-called dry fuel thermonuclear hydrogen bomb device, detonated on March 1, 1954, at Bikini Atoll, Marshall Islands, by the United States, as the first test of Operation Castle.
Fallout from the detonation—intended to be a secret test—poisoned the islanders who inhabited the test site, as well as the crew of Daigo Fukuryū Maru (“Lucky Dragon No. 5”), a Japanese fishing boat, and created international concern about atmospheric thermonuclear testing. Read More…
Radium E becomes the first radioactive element to be made synthetically.
Radium (Latin radius, ray) was discovered by Marie Skłodowska-Curie and her husband Pierre in 1898 in pitchblende from North Bohemia, in the Czech Republic (area around Jáchymov).
While studying pitchblende the Curies removed uranium from it and found that the remaining material was still radioactive.
They then separated out a radioactive mixture consisting mostly of barium which gave a brilliant green flame color and crimson carmine spectral lines which had never been documented before. The Curies announced their discovery to the French Academy of Sciences on 26 December 1898. Read More…
A U.S. Air Force B-52 Stratofortress collided with a KC-135 Stratotanker during aerial refueling over the Mediterranean Sea, dropping three hydrogen bombs near Palomares in the municipality of Cuevas del Almanzora, Andalucía, Spain.
The KC-135 was completely destroyed when its fuel load ignited, killing all four crew members.
The B-52G broke apart, killing three of the seven crew members aboard.
Of the four Mk28 type hydrogen bombs the B-52G carried, three were found on land near the small fishing village of Palomares in the municipality of Cuevas del Almanzora, Andalucía,Spain.
The non nuclear explosives in two of the weapons detonated upon impacting the ground, resulting in the contamination of a 2-square-kilometer (490-acre) area by radioactive plutonium. The fourth, which fell into the Mediterranean Sea, was recovered intact after a 2½ month-long search.