The United States’ most powerful nuclear weapon is now being dismantled over at Pantex:
AMARILLO, Texas (AP) - The last of the nation’s most powerful nuclear bombs _ a weapon hundreds of times stronger than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima _ is being disassembled nearly half a century after it was put into service at the height of the Cold War.
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.
With its destruction, the next largest bomb in operation will be the B83, said Hans Kristensen, a spokesman for the Federation of American Scientists. It’s 1.2 megatons, while the B53 was 9 megatons.
While I’m sure it would irk some neoconservatives and chickenhawks, it is always a good sign to see such destructive weapons be laid to rest. The time of nuclear deterrance ended in the late eighties, and we’re in a different period where simply having the biggest nuke won’t protect us from foreign threats.