Response team prepares for potential nuclear accident in New Mexico
December 04, 2018 06:28 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - A team of experts in New Mexico is preparing for potential accidents involving nuclear weapons.
There have been 32 incidences, known as a "Broken Arrow," since the 1950s. Two of them happened in New Mexico.
In 1950, a B-29 bomber crashed into a mountain on Manzano Base. A nuclear capsule was on board the aircraft, but not inserted, so a detonation was not possible.
In 1957, a bomb was accidentally dropped south of the Sunport on the way to Kirtland Airforce base. It created a crater 25-feet across and 12 feet deep.
"We do drills and exercise on an annual basis. We do one very high-level national exercise and then a series of other technically focused smaller exercises," said Accident Response Group project lead Harry Cincotta.
Cincotta is based at Sandia National Labs. He says there are volunteers from Sandia and Los Alamos National Laboratory who are on-call should a nuclear accident happen.
"Each lab facilities brings their own specialty. Sandia, their approach is their holistic view of the weapon, Los Alamos is on the nuclear explosive package," he said.
Officials say the ARG group is in touch with other sites around the country, helping them field questions about certain issues.
Cincotta believes the risk of a nuclear accident is low.
"The threat of something bad happening is greatly reduced with modern safety," Cincotta said.
Updated: December 04, 2018 06:28 PM
Created: December 04, 2018 01:38 PM
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