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Nuclear Chicago

Some will never get over the shock of learning that the U.S. Army missile sites at Belmont Harbor and Jackson Park were nuclear-equipped during the Cold War without the civilian population and the local government knowing. Just thinking of all the times I played or passed by both locations gives me shivers.

The A-bombs were not like "Fat Man and Little Boy" from WWII fame. These were nuclear-tipped missiles. When they conducted on site drills and raised missiles to firing positions those nukes were there, right out in the open, but we just didn't know. This revelation is one of the most disturbing reports of government lying I have ever heard.

Before we get a little technical, understand that a nuke on the end of a missile launched right in the city was supposed to explode without even hitting the target. With an atomic warhead all you have to do is be in the neighborhood. A direct hit was never the objective. Nice if you could do it, but close is good enough.

The targets of these Army missiles were Soviet bombers. This was before the intercontinental ballistic missile. Russian Bear Bombers would be the target. Fire off a nuke at an incoming squadron of Ruskies approaching the Wrigley Building, Comiskey Park, or - with radar intercepts - catching them inbound from Hammond or Gary. A nuke tipped Nike Hercules missile need only be in the ballpark to hit a mushroom cloud home run.

The nuke tipped missiles "on duty" in Chicago were of different magnitudes. Rich Samuels recently interviewed a former soldier from the Belmont Harbor facility for a report on Channel 11's Chicago Tonight. The veteran reported they had nuclear warheads from 2 kilotons all the way up to 30 kilotons. Where did the Army think it was going to fire off a 30-kiloton atomic blast? The atom bomb dropped on Hiroshima was only 10 kilotons. The monsters of Belmont Harbor were the size of three Hiroshima bombs. Had one ever "accidentally" detonated, the City of Chicago would have been left uninhabitable till the end of never. Should the Army have ever launched such a warhead, the air burst fireball, radiation and smoke would probably have taken out Lake Michigan along with everything for 360 degrees for miles around.

Imagine all the thousands of people living along Sheridan Road, Lakeview, Belmont, Fullerton and the dozens of other streets that passed close to the Belmont Launch Site every day for years. Even a small accident involving radiation would have been our nuclear nightmare. Remember, there were no disaster plans, the fire department was not trained or equipped to handle an "incident" at either Belmont or Jackson Park. It's ironic that the South Side nukes were almost neighbors to The University Of Chicago where their genesis occurred. I don't think Fermi would have approved.

Just filling in the blank here, the Nagasaki bomb two days after Hiroshima was a bit more powerful at 12.5 kilotons.

Time to suggest some fascinating reading. A computer will make this a quick project in terms of gathering information, but once you start reading, it's like popcorn. You can't stop. Here we go.

Choose your favorite search engine, Google, AOL, etc, and use search terms like these: "U.S. Military Nuclear Accidents," "Atomic Bombs," "Warheads and Weapons," or "Atomic Bomb Accidents and failures." Similar questions to your search engines will present you with enough to turn your hair gray. We haven't been nearly as careful or safe as these weapons demand. Things got so bad some years ago the Air Force was ordered to not fly with atomic weapons on planes even if they were un-triggered. You don't need a nuclear detonation to have a nuclear disaster. We've had a bunch, but few people know about them. When read how many times our planes have "accidentally" dropped or lost A-bombs both at sea and on land you will have to catch your breath.

The tribulations of flying around with A-bombs is only part of the available data. Back to the search engine and take a look at: "Accidents In Nuclear Power Plants," "Nuclear Research Facility Accident," or "Nuclear Accidents Involving All Forms of Transportation." Take a look back at Chernobyl and Three Mile Island, too.

Most of the problems, disasters, accidents and incidents involving nuclear weapons, nuclear power and all things atomic seem to be the result of human error and failure. Mechanical failures occur as well, but most of the machines do what their human operators order them to do.

Those who fear the atom have history on their side. We ended WWII with the only two A-bombs ever used in anger. We then focused on a new campaign. Remember "Atoms For Peace"? For the government it was a slogan. For many of us it was a stretch, and still is.



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Posted on September 11, 2007


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BOOKS - All About Poop.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Don't Let Your Pet OD.


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