nuclear weapons


Atomic Annie — The M65 Atomic Cannon,

Designed in 1949 by the American Engineer Robert Schwarz, the M65 “Atomic Annie” was inspired by German railway guns used during World War II.  The M65 however, was designed to deliver a nuclear payload to its target.  The gun and carriage itself weighed around 85 tons, was manned by a crew of 5-7, and was transported by two specially designed towing tractors.  At 280mm in caliber and capable of firing a projectile over 20 miles, the gun was certainly powerful enough as a conventional weapon, but the Atomic Annie was certainly no conventional weapon.  In 1953 it was tested for the first time at the Nevada Test Site, where it fired a 15 kiloton nuclear warhead, creating a blast similar in size to the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  

After the successful test, 20 M65 cannons were produced for the US Army and deployed in Europe and Korea.  They were almost always in constant motion so the Soviets never knew where they were and could not target them.  While an interesting weapon, the Atomic Annie suffered from limited range, especially after the development of ballistic missiles which could strike a target from thousands of miles away.  The last M65 Atomic Cannon was retired in 1963.  Today only 8 survive, and are displayed in museums across the country.

Why have we spent $10 trillion on nuclear weapons over 70 years, when that could have been used for life-enhancing alternatives?
—  Sister Megan Rice, an 85-year-old Catholic nun, spent two years in prison for breaking into the Y-12 nuclear facility in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, in 2012. Four days after her release from prison, she spoke to Democracy Now! about the experience.

Whether you’re a child of the ‘80s, a fan of the Terminator films, or just really bad at Missile Command, you’ve probably seen some pretty grisly images of nuclear holocaust. We assume that the people who defend against that looming apocalypse are all grim-faced, serious experts with decades of training. We spoke to one such defender – a former soldier responsible for guarding a nuclear missile site in West Germany during one of the Cold War’s most uncomfortably warm chunks – and here’s what he told us about how hilariously wrong all that “grim-faced expert” stuff was.

5 Things You Won’t (Want to) Believe I Saw Guarding US Nukes

Sandra Schoenberg and N-11. Mohall, North Dakota. 2014

Sandra moved to her husbands’ family’s farm 35 years ago, when his parents grew too old to tend the land. Not much has changed over that time. She still wakes each morning just a stones throw from N-11, at left, a Minuteman III ICBM tipped with a nuclear warhead. The 150 missiles spread across North Dakota are living relics of the Cold War, and remain on active duty as a deterrent to the same forces they were designed to dissuade more than 50 years ago. Despite the passing of time, the most powerful weapons on the planet still operate on the same antiquated equipment they were originally outfitted with, running on floppy disks and refrigerator sized computers with less computing power than a smartphone. 

AP Confirms: Obama “deal” allows Iran to operate 6,000 nuclear centrifuges

Once again, Benjamin Netanyahu was right on the money.  Under the Obama administration’s “deal,” Iran can keep moving towards a nuclear bomb and still be perfectly compliant. And as Iran openly proclaims their mission to be the destruction of Israel, who can blame Netanyahu for loudly sounding the alarm?

from AP:

A draft nuclear accord now being negotiated between the United States and Iran would force Iran to cut the amount of hardware it could use to make an atomic bomb by about 40 percent for at least a decade, while offering immediate relief from sanctions that have crippled Iran’s economy, officials told The Associated Press on Thursday.

As an added enticement, elements of a U.N. arms embargo against Iran could be rolled back.

The very existence of the draft provided perhaps the clearest indication that the sides were nearing a written agreement as they raced to meet a March 31 deadline for a framework pact. The deadline for a full agreement is the end of June.

Officials said the tentative deal imposes new limits on the number of centrifuges Iran can operate to enrich uranium, a process that can lead to nuclear weapons-grade material. The sides are zeroing in on a cap of 6,000 centrifuges, officials said, down from the 6,500 they spoke of in recent weeks.

That’s also less than the 10,000 such machines Tehran now runs, yet substantially more than the 500 to 1,500 that Washington originally wanted as a ceiling. Only a year ago, U.S. officials floated 4,000 as a possible compromise.

But U.S. officials insist the focus on centrifuge numbers alone misses the point. Combined with other restrictions on enrichment levels and the types of centrifuges Iran can use, Washington believes it can extend the time Tehran would need to produce a nuclear weapon to at least a year for the 10 years it would be under the moratorium. Right now, Iran would require only two to three months to amass enough material if it covertly seeks to “break out” toward the bomb.

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It’s almost as if the Obama administration wants Iran to develop a nuclear bomb.  Of course, that’s not what they say they want, but you can’t ever take anything they say at face value.  If we’re judging their actions, they’re either actively trying to make the world a more dangerous place, or they’re the most naive people on the face of the earth.