Nuclear weapons accidents are too common

Tom Mayer’s informative column (May 11) cites several instances that illustrate the insanity of the continued global production and maintenance of nuclear weapons. But nonbelligerent technical accidents involving nukes also occur, even here in the USA.

For example, on Jan. 24, 1961 (that’s 57 years ago), a B-52 bomber carrying two hydrogen bombs disintegrated in midair near Goldsboro, N.C. Subsequent investigations into the accident revealed that the failure of just one electrical circuit to close prevented detonation of a multi-megaton weapon over North Carolina.

Then there was the Damascus, Ark., disaster of Sept. 18, 1980. A dropped wrench caused a propellant leak from a Titan launch vehicle. The escaping vapor eventually exploded and blew the missile’s 9-megaton warhead out of its silo and into a ditch 200 yards away. Mere luck prevented the warhead from detonating.

Palomares, Spain, was not quite so fortunate. On Jan. 17, 1966, a B-52 carrying four thermonuclear weapons collided mid-air with a KC-135 refueling aircraft. Three of the weapons dropped on Palomares, with two of the conventional explosive triggers detonating and dispersing radioactive plutonium debris over a wide area. Even dictator Franco’s Fascist minions were not impressed with the accident and its political repercussions.

Eric Schlosser, author of “Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety,” cites a U.S. Government publication titled “Accidents and Incidents Involving Nuclear Weapons.” The document is 247 pages in length and deals only with the period of July 1, 1957, through March 31, 1967.

The report is 51 years old. Think about it.

By Dave Morton, Longmont

Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has been good for economy

I’ve co-owned the Denver-area small business Summit Heating and A/C for nearly 20 years. The experience has not only instilled a sense of pride and self-reliance, but it’s shown me how difficult it can be for an entrepreneur to get ahead — especially in today’s high-tax and regulatory environment.

Luckily, we’ve seen some inroads on both these fronts over the course of the last year. Not only are costly regulatory mandates falling by the wayside, but the federal small business tax burden has decreased significantly as a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

Now we find ourselves in a largely pro-growth, pro-business environment. As a result, job creation continues, wage growth has accelerated, and the unemployment rate has fallen to the lowest level since the year 2000.

I’ve been in business a long time, and rarely have I seen such an electric economy with nowhere to go but up.

By Bill Leech, Denver

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