What was the Vela Incident (1979)?

Introduction The Vela incident, also known as the South Atlantic Flash, was an unidentified double flash of light detected by an American Vela Hotel satellite on 22 September 1979 near the Prince Edward Islands in the Indian Ocean. The cause of the flash remains officially unknown, and some information about the event remains classified by… Read More

Advertisements

A Brief Overview of US Military Nuclear Incident Terminology

Introduction The United States Armed Forces uses a number of terms to define the magnitude and extent of nuclear and radiation accidents and incidents in order to reduce the time taken to report the type of incident, thus streamlining the radio communications in the wake of the event. Origin United States Department of Defence directive… Read More

RAF Lakenheath Nuclear Near-Disasters

Introduction RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk, one of several air bases in the United Kingdom (UK) used by the United States Air Force (USAF) to store nuclear weapons during the Cold War, was the site of two nuclear near-disasters, in 1956 and 1961. Two incidents involving aircraft crashes and subsequent fires causing damage to nuclear weapons… Read More

What was the Demon Core?

Introduction The demon core was a spherical 6.2-kilogram (14 lb) subcritical mass of plutonium 89 millimetres (3.5 in) in diameter, manufactured during World War II by the United States nuclear weapon development effort, the Manhattan Project, as a fissile core for an early atomic bomb. It was involved in two criticality accidents, on 21 August… Read More

What was the Strategic Defence Initiative?

Introduction The Strategic Defence Initiative (SDI), nicknamed the “Star Wars programme”, was a proposed missile defence system intended to protect the United States from attack by ballistic strategic nuclear weapons (intercontinental ballistic missiles and submarine-launched ballistic missiles). The concept was first announced on 23 March 1983 by President Ronald Reagan, a vocal critic of the… Read More

What was the 1966 Palomares B-52 Crash?

Introduction The 1966 Palomares B-52 crash, also called the Palomares incident, occurred on 17 January 1966, when a B-52G bomber of the United States Air Force’s Strategic Air Command collided with a KC-135 tanker during mid-air refuelling at 31,000 feet (9,450 m) over the Mediterranean Sea, off the coast of Spain. The KC-135 was completely… Read More

Developing a New Method to Confirm the Absence or Presence of Nuclear Weapons & Fissile Materials

Research Paper Title A physical unclonable neutron sensor for nuclear arms control inspections. Background Classical sensor security relies on cryptographic algorithms executed on trusted hardware. This approach has significant shortcomings, however. Hardware can be manipulated, including below transistor level, and cryptographic keys are at risk of extraction attacks. A further weakness is that sensor media… Read More