A photo in a Los Alamos National Laboratory student briefing from 2022 shows four people inspecting what appears to be a damaged B61 nuclear bomb. PHOTO: COURTESY/Federation of American Scientists
One of the US nuclear bombs stored at a Dutch air base may have been damaged in a recent accident, The Guardian quoted a report as saying on Monday. The report comes at a time when a new generation of the weapons are due to arrive on the continent.
According to the report, Federation of American Scientists (FAS) found a picture of US soldiers, including two from an explosive ordnance disposal unit, and a civilian, allegedly inspecting a B61 bomb.
The back of the bomb looks warped from the impact, and one of the fins at the end is absent. There seems to be a hole in the bomb covered by pink sticky tape.
The report stated that the photograph was shown in a presentation for student job applicants by Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, which is a nuclear weapons facility.
The report also indicated that the location of the image was traced to the Volkel air force base in the Netherlands. The air base is one of six bases situated in five European countries that currently store 100 B61 nuclear gravity bombs as part of an agreement to share nuclear weapons with the US.
Hans Kristensen, the director of the FAS nuclear information project and author of the report, emphasised that there is no official verification that the photo was taken at Volkel AB, that the distorted B61 shape in the photo is a genuine weapon (rather than a training model), or that the damage was caused by an accident (as opposed to a simulation).
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“If the picture does depict a nuclear weapon event, it would be the initial recorded instance of a current nuclear weapon accident occurring at an airbase in Europe.”
An occurrence where a nuclear weapon is damaged is referred to as a “bent spear” incident, and these are usually kept confidential.
When asked about the photograph, a spokesperson for the US air force in Europe declined to make a direct comment. Instead, they stated that the US takes extreme precautions when it comes to personnel and equipment that support the strategic arsenal. “This includes regular training, upkeep, and security measures to protect America’s crucial capabilities.”
The spokesperson declared that according to the US policy, they are unable to confirm or deny the existence or non-existence of nuclear weapons at any general or specific location, be it a real-world operWe eagerly await your return soon. An image sourced from a Los Alamos National Laboratory student briefing in 2022 displays four people examining what looks to be a malfunctioning B61 nuclear bomb. PHOTO: COURTESY/Federation of American Scientists.
A report recently issued by The Guardian revealed that a US nuclear weapon held at a Dutch air base may have suffered some damage in an accident. This news arrives as the continent is poised to welcome a new generation of these weapons.
The report states that Federation of American Scientists (FAS) obtained a photograph of two soldiers from an explosive ordnance disposal unit and one civilian, purportedly inspecting a B61 bomb. From the photograph, the rear of the bomb is distorted from the impact and one of its fins is missing. Additionally, there appears to be a hole in the bomb, which is sealed by pink sticky tape.
The report referred to a photograph included in an application to the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, which specializes in nuclear weapons.. The photo was said to be taken at Volkel air force base in the Netherlands. Currently, there are 100 B61 nuclear gravity bombs in this and five other bases, which is part of a US-agreed arrangement to share these weapons.
The report’s author, Hans Kristensen, the director of the FAS nuclear information project, expressed that the validity of the photo has not been confirmed yet. This includes the authenticity of the B61 weapon (whether it is real or just a training model) and the source of the damage (if it was from an accident or from a simulation).
According to Kristensen, a photo of a nuclear weapon accident at an airbase in Europe would be unprecedented. Such incidents, in which a nuclear weapon is harmed, are commonly kept hidden, referred to as a “bent spear” incident.
When questioned about the photo, a US air force in Europe spokesperson refused to make a direct statement. Instead, they declared that the US takes every precaution necessary for personnel and equipment which aid the strategic arsenal. This includes frequent training, maintenance and security measures in order to safeguard America’s indispensable abilities.
The spokesperson additionally stated that, as per the US policy, they are unable to validate or repudiate the presence or absence of nuclear weapons in any general or specific location, regardless if it is a real operation or a particular exercise.ation or a specific exercise.