How many nuclear incidents have occurred in the United States?
Nuclear accidents and incidents are quite rare, but when they do occur they hold the potential to inflict serious injuries. A team of nuclear experts in New Mexico have formed the Accident Response Group to prepare should an accident happen in the state. While the overall risk of a nuclear accident remains low, the team believes preparation to ward off potential disaster is the wisest option. Our New Mexico personal injury lawyers discuss the nuclear incidences that have occurred throughout U.S. history and the potential implications of a nuclear accident below.
“Broken Arrow” Incidents
Nuclear incidents are referred to as “broken arrow” accidents. There have been at least 32 such incidences in the U.S., with two of the most well-known accidents happening in New Mexico. One such accident occurred in 1957 at the Kirtland Air Force Base. On May 22, residents in the area of the base felt a sudden explosion. Investigations revealed that a plane carrying a nuclear weapon from Texas to New Mexico somehow dropped the device through the bomb bay doors. The nuclear weapon fell some 1,700 feet. The conventional explosives in it detonated, creating a crater 12 feet deep and 25 feet wide. Miraculously, the nuclear capsule remained intact. No one was injured in the incident.
In another accident, a B-29 bomber carrying a nuclear capsule crashed into a mountain on Manzano Base. Again, the capsule did not detonate. Other accidents involving nuclear weapons happened in South Carolina, North Carolina, California, Georgia, and Texas, among other states. Each incident is unique, with some resulting in detonation of the weapon. In a few accidents, the nuclear weapon was lost and never recovered.
Injuries Caused by a Broken Arrow
Nuclear weapons hold the potential to destroy entire cities and states. In addition to causing explosions and fires, a nuclear weapon releases deadly radiation. The aftereffects of a nuclear weapon could include long term contamination of soil and homes, disabilities, birth defects, and death among those in the area. It is important to recognize that most of us should not spend time being concerned about nuclear accidents. These incidences are extremely rare. However, those who work around nuclear plants or are involved in the creation of weapons of war will want to be aware of the risks innate to the field.
Posted in: Personal Injury