National Nuclear Security Administration via Reuters
Workers unload a B53 bomb last Feb. 14 ahead of its dismantling this week. (Yes, this is a Lift-a-Load Trailer!)
By BETSY BLANEY updated 10/25/2011 6:08:46 PM ET
AMARILLO, Texas — The last of the nation’s most powerful nuclear bombs has been taken apart in Texas.
Technicians at the Pantex Plant near Amarillo removed the uranium Tuesday from the last of the nation’s largest nuclear bombs, a Cold War relic known as the B53.
The bomb put into service in 1962 was 600 times more powerful than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, that killed as many as 140,000 people at the end of World War II.
Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman watched workers take the bomb apart. He says it’s “a milestone accomplishment” and a step toward President Barack Obama’s mission to rid the world of nuclear weapons.
Thomas D’Agostino, the nuclear administration’s chief, called the bomb’s elimination a “significant milestone.”
Put into service in 1962, when Cold War tensions peaked during the Cuban Missile Crisis, the B53 weighed 10,000 pounds and was the size of a minivan. According to the American Federation of Scientists, it was 600 times more powerful than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, killing as many as 140,000 people and helping end World War II.
The B53 was designed to destroy facilities deep underground, and it was carried by B-52 bombers.
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