broken arrows: "Major incidents involving nuclear warheads where there is significant damage to the warhead or actual detonation of the high explosive trigger are called broken arrows by the U.S. Department of Defense." (Zimmerman & Dennis,1984)
boosting: Boosting refers "to the notion of using a fission bomb to initiate a small thermonuclear reaction with the possibility that...the neutrons from the reaction might increase the efficiency of the use of the fissile material." (York,1976.P.23). The first true thermonuclear (H-bomb) test, Nov. 1, 1952, evaporated the islet of Elugelab in the Marshall Islands.
Science's circuitry: "There is a special bit of irony in this matter. Although the King-type (A-bomb) was originally suggested as an alternative to the super (H-bomb), as so often happened in the technological arms race, both programs were pursued and both were successful, and the number of different ways of achieving mass destruction was once again needlessly increased." (York,1976)marshaling: "The secret of how a hydrogen bomb is made protects a more fundamental 'secret': the mechanism by which the resources of the most powerful nation on Earth have been marshaled for global catastrophe." (Morland,1987)
Palomares: On Jan. 17, 1966, a B-52 carrying four nuclear weapons collided with another aircraft near Palomares, Spain, resulting in a scattering of radioactive materials. On Jan. 21, 1968, a B-52 crashed seven miles southwest of Thule Air Base, Greenland, contaminating 237,000 cubic feet of biota with radioactivity. (In both cases only the bombs' high-explosives detonated.)
bombing: The most serious reported accident in New Mexico took place about 4 miles south of Kirtland AFB's control tower, on land owned by The University of New Mexico, when, on May 22, 1957, a B-36 "Peacemaker" released a Mark 17 thermonuclear bomb, "possibly the most powerful bomb we ever made." According to the Department of Defense, between 1950 and 1986 there were 32 "serious" accidents involving American nuclear weapons.
retina: 'the thermal radiation from a nuclear detonation causes more immediate damage at greater distance from the explosion than any other prompt catastrophic effect...An example of this property is retinal burn...which is in fact the most far-reaching?though not necessarily lethal?prompt pathogenic effect of the nuclear weapon." (Tsipis,1983)
counterforce: Counterforce is a strategy of aiming nuclear missiles at military instead of civilian targets. "The theorists of arms control strongly oppose the counterforce policy on the ground that...if I aim my weapons at your weapons instead of at your population, then I have a greater incentive to strike first. This argument against counterforce is theoretically valid....In the real world (however), the only way I can be sure of saving lives is not to strike at all." (Dyson,1984.)
tripod: The Pythian tripod stood in Apollo's temple at Delphi. "Those who came for advice could probably have seen what was happening only from a distance; they would have seen the consecrated woman sitting on a tripod, would have heard her altered voice and thus have known that Apollo's word was passing through her lips." (Burkert,1983.P.123). The tripod also represents the triad of U.S. strategic deterrence: ICBMs, SLBMs, and manned bombers.
fire and dust: "And then in dream--not knowing/if this device, this explosion, were radioactive or not,/but sure that where it had centered/there must be wreck, terror,/fire and dust--" (D. Levertov. From, "Age of Terror.")
nothing: The Mark 17's non-nuclear explosives carved a crater approximately 25 ft. in diameter and 12 ft. deep. Only minor radioactivity was released. When the Albuquerque Airport tower asked the B-36's pilot what had just fallen from his aircraft, he replied, "Ah...nothing."