I don't know about you, but I get rather nervous when I hear - and we've heard plenty over the years - about incidents and accidents dealing with nuclear weapons or the systems that deliver them. Submarines running aground, ladders puncturing nose cones, cheating on tests, drunkeness... and WHAT?!?!?! Oh yes, accidental firing of torpedoes around nuclear submarines.
That's correct; over in the UK someone "accidentally" fired an unarmed (phew!!!) torpedo from a ship at a nuclear dockyard. The torpedo was stopped by a conveniently placed storage container. I'll let you imagine the possibilities here. Thankfully, no one was injured, and it made for quite a show for those fortunate to witness the spectacle.
It wasn't a nuclear weapon, although the accident occurred in a "high security" area where nuclear submarines are docked for maintenance.
But back to the central question here - There is always a risk, no matter how small it may be, of error with every human activity. And with nuclear weapons we need to ask the question, "Based on the likely severity of the consequences of any accident involving a nuclear weapon (or weapons), do we wish to take even the most infinitesimal risk that it presents?"
This and other questions relating to the risks of continuing to rely on the false security of nuclear weapons are certainly not being brought into any conversations governments are having about building new nuclear weapons (and delivery systems) or improving existing weapons systems. These are questions that we ignore at our (humanity's) peril.
Looking back on the instances in which humanity stood on the brink of nuclear holocaust due to incidents involving system-related errors, it was human intervention that saved the day (and humanity). Ironically, it is also human interaction that could bring about humanity's end.
So, as you read the somewhat the humorous title, really consider the underlying issues it conveys.
There is no room for "blundering" around nuclear weapons, and humans have proven, through the ages, to be great blunderers!!!
Oops! Royal Navy warship accidentally fires TORPEDO at NUCLEAR dockyard
Originally published Fri, March 14, 2014, in the Daily Express
A BLUNDERING Royal Navy warship has accidentally fired a TORPEDO at a nuclear dockyard.
Luckily the torpedo was an unarmed version used for testing Luckily, the torpedo was an unarmed version used for testing [SWNS]
HMS Argyll was moored at Devonport Naval base in Plymouth when the 9ft missile suddenly shot out of its starboard side during a training drill.
Workers watched in disbelief as the tube-shaped projectile flew 200 yards through the air before blasting a hole in a security fence and slamming into a storage container.
The 650-acre site is the sole repair and refuelling facility for Britain's nuclear submarines.
Luckily, the torpedo was an unarmed version used for testing, so it merely thudded into the metal container and did not explode.
Nobody was hurt but red-faced naval chiefs have now ordered a major investigation into the terrifying incident, which took place inside the base's high security area.
A source said: "The torpedo came shooting out of the side of Argyll and flew through the air before going straight through a security fence.
"It's carried on going before hitting a storage container. If anyone was inside it they would have a had a nasty shock - the whole side of the container was stoved in.
"Had the thing been armed it would have let out a 200-metre blast. You could be talking about a major loss of life.
"The Navy guys and the civilian dock workers are understandably appalled by what has happened.
"Someone has obviously pushed the button, presumably by accident - the big question is who."
The 650-acre site is the sole repair and refuelling facility for Britain's nuclear submarines [SWNS]
Had the thing been armed it would have let out a 200-metre blast. You could be talking about a major loss of life.
HMS Argyll is currently the oldest serving Duke Type 23 frigate in the Royal Navy having been launched in 1989.
However, the 4,900 tonne vessel underwent a £20million refit in 2009 to ensure her weaponry was at the cutting edge of naval warfare.
Its armaments include sea wolf anti-aircraft missiles, harpoon launchers, a 4.5 inch mk8 cannon and two twin 12.75 inch sting ray torpedo tubes.
The self-propelled torpedoes are armed with 45kg warheads to take out enemy submarines that they lock onto with acoustic homing sensors.
Argyll's sting ray tubes are normally below the surface of the water but it's understood they were exposed by the tide when the accident took place on Wednesday afternoon.
A spokesman for the Royal Navy said: "We can confirm an incident occurred onboard HMS Argyll on Wednesday 12th. The ship was alongside at Devonport Naval Base in Plymouth.
"During a training exercise, an inert Test Variant Torpedo unexpectedly jettisoned onto the wharf. There was no explosion and no casualties.
"An investigation is now under way to determine the cause of the incident. The torpedo is not an explosive hazard.
"The specific details of the incident are subject to further investigation and it would be inappropriate to comment further.
"The result of the investigation will determine what actions will be necessary to avoid any repeat of this incident in the future.
"However, torpedo system test firing alongside in the naval base has been suspended subject to completion of the investigation."
Original Source URL: http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/464945/Oops-Royal-Navy-warship-accidentally-fires-TORPEDO-at-NUCLEAR-dockyard-in-Plymouth
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