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自分が読んで興味深く感じた英文記事を中心に取り上げる予定です

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Under controlについて

 


Fast Food Nationという本が有名なEric Schlosserの新刊は核兵器についてのようです。The situation is under control.という言葉をとやかくいうつもりはありませんが、大事には至らなかったものの、ちょっとして不注意で起きた事件から核兵器管理の問題を検討していっているようなのです。(発売前でまだ購入できていません)。


Command and ControlCommand and Control
(2013/09/17)
Eric Schlosser

商品詳細を見る


今週のNew York TimesのSunday Book Reviewで書評が出ていました。今週のPodcastでも15分あたりからご本人のインタビューを聴くことができます。

Atomic Gaffes
‘Command and Control,’ by Eric Schlosser

By WALTER RUSSELL MEAD
Published: September 12, 2013

A little over 50 years ago a South Carolina doctor (and the grandfather of this reviewer) treated a family for injuries sustained when a sudden, inexplicable explosion tore through their backyard. The injuries were not serious, and after spending the night at the doctor’s house they returned home to discover that the object in the 50-foot crater left behind their house was an atomic bomb that had fallen from a passing Air Force plane. The bomb had not been “armed” with its nuclear core; the blast came from the explosives intended to trigger a chain reaction. The crater can still be seen today.

That incident, which led to an anti-­nuclear movement in Britain, where the plane was bound, is one of many stories Eric Schlosser, the author of “Fast Food Nation,” tells in “Command and Control.” During the cold war, nuclear bombs fell out of the sky, burned up in plane ­crashes and were lost at sea. In the incident Schlosser describes in greatest detail, “the Damascus accident” of Sept. 18, 1980, the warhead from a Titan II missile was ejected after a series of mishaps that began when a repairman dropped a socket wrench and pierced a fuel tank. Tactical nuclear weapons scattered across Europe had minimal security; misplaced tools and failed repairs triggered serious accidents; inadequate safety procedures and poor oversight led to dozens of close brushes with nuclear explosions. People have died in these accidents, sometimes as a result of their own carelessness or bad luck, but often while doing their best to protect the rest of us from an accidental nuclear blast.

自分はそんな事故があったのを知らなかったのですが、作業員がレンチを落としてしまうことはありえますよね。そんなことで核弾頭ミサイルが爆発する恐れがあったなんて考えるだけでも恐ろしいです。。。

(ウィキペディア)
1980年9月、タイタンIIのサイロで作業員の不注意から工具を落下させたことにより、ミサイルの表面に穴が開いて推進剤が漏れ、点火して8,000 lbの核弾頭がサイロの外へ飛ばされた。数百フィート飛ばされて着地したが無害だった。[8]この事故はタイタンIIをICBMとしての使用をやめるきっかけの一つとなった。

下記の記事が当時のTimeの報道です。幸いなことに放射能漏れはなかったそうですが、核兵器を持つことは自国で誤って爆発させてしまう事故がありうるということなんですね。

Nation: Light on the Road to Damascus
Monday, Sept. 29, 1980

Titan terror explodes in the Arkansas hills

Shortly after sunset one day last week, a maintenance worker on the third level of a silo housing a 103-ft. Titan II intercontinental ballistic missile near Damascus, in the Arkansas hills north of Little Rock, dropped the socket of a wrench. The 3-lb. tool plummeted 70 ft. and punctured a fuel tank. As flammable vapors escaped, officials urged the 1,400 people living in a five-mile radius of the silo to flee. The instructions: "Don't take time to close your doors—just get out."

And with good reason. At 3:01 a.m., as technicians gave up trying to plug the leak and began climbing from the silo, the mixture of fuel and oxygen exploded. Orange flames and smoke spewed out, lighting up the sky over Damascus. The blast blew off a 750-ton concrete cover. One worker was killed; 21 others were hurt.


もう少しくわしく説明してくれているサイトです。
Titan II Missile Explosion

当時の写真を見えるサイトです。

歴史を振り返るBBCのコーナーではこの事故はのっていないので、チェルノブイリのような大きな事故とは認識されていないようです。

ウィキペディアの軍事関係の核関連事故には説明がありました。

September 18, 1980 – At about 6:30 p.m., an airman conducting maintenance on a USAF Titan-II missile at Little Rock Air Force Base's Launch Complex 374-7 in Southside (Van Buren County), just north of Damascus, Arkansas, dropped a socket from a socket wrench, which fell about 80 feet (24 m) before hitting and piercing the skin on the rocket's first-stage fuel tank, causing it to leak. The area was evacuated. At about 3:00 a.m., on September 19, 1980, the hypergolic fuel exploded. The W53 warhead landed about 100 feet (30 m) from the launch complex's entry gate; its safety features operated correctly and prevented any loss of radioactive material. An Air Force airman was killed and the launch complex was destroyed.[59]

ちなみに民間の原子力関連事故の表もあり、福島の事故だけでなく、90年代の東海村の事故も載っていました。東海村の事故もずさんな管理で起きたものだったので、他人ごとではないですよね。

• June, 1999 — INES Level 2[35] - Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan - Control rod malfunction
• Operators attempting to insert one control rod during an inspection neglected procedure and instead withdrew three causing a 15 minute uncontrolled sustained reaction at the number 1 reactor of Shika Nuclear Power Plant. The Hokuriku Electric Power Company who owned the reactor did not report this incident and falsified records, covering it up until March, 2007.[36]

• September 30, 1999 — INES Level 4 - Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan - Accidental criticality
• Inadequately trained part-time workers prepared a uranyl nitrate solution containing about 16.6 kg of uranium, which exceeded the critical mass, into a precipitation tank at a uranium reprocessing facility in Tokai-mura northeast of Tokyo, Japan. The tank was not designed to dissolve this type of solution and was not configured to prevent eventual criticality. Three workers were exposed to (neutron) radiation doses in excess of allowable limits. Two of these workers died. 116 other workers received lesser doses of 1 mSv or greater though not in excess of the allowable limit.[37][38][39][40]
See also: Tokaimura nuclear accident

日常業務もそうだし、英語学習もそうですが、理想的なシナリオで進むことはほとんどないですよね。ついついうっかりミスなんてしないと想定しがちですが、恥ずかしいほどの思い違いをしやすいことはTOEIC受験でもしたことがある人には思い当たりますよね。この書評の最後にあったThe human race was smart enough to build these bombs. So far we appear to lack the intelligence needed either to get rid of them or to store them safely.という言葉が身にしみます。

Over all, Schlosser is a better reporter than policy analyst, and his discussion of what we should do about the problem he so grippingly describes is disappointingly thin. Nevertheless, his core recommendation that the United States explore the possibilities of operating a minimal deterrent, the smallest number of nuclear weapons needed to prevent adversaries from contemplating a nuclear attack on us, may be the most hopeful direction in which we can look. But as technological progress makes nuclear weapons cheaper and easier to build, and creates new and ever more dangerous weapons of mass destruction, the intractable problems of safe storage and nuclear war-fighting doctrine are likely to remain with us for the long term.

The human race was smart enough to build these bombs. So far we appear to lack the intelligence needed either to get rid of them or to store them safely. Schlosser’s readers (and he deserves a great many) will be struck by how frequently the people he cites attribute the absence of accidental explosions and nuclear war to divine intervention or sheer luck rather than to human wisdom and skill. Whatever was responsible, we will clearly need more of it in the years to come.

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