Communion Of Dreams


British nukes secured by bike locks.
November 23, 2007, 12:39 pm
Filed under: Bruce Schneier, Government, Humor, Nuclear weapons, NYT, Predictions, Society, tech

Via Bruce Schneier, this delightful little BBC story of the nuclear age:

Newsnight has discovered that until the early days of the Blair government the RAF’s nuclear bombs were armed by turning a bicycle lock key.

There was no other security on the Bomb itself.

While American and Russian weapons were protected by tamper-proof combination locks which could only be released if the correct code was transmitted, Britain relied on a simpler technology.

Woo-hoo! Yeah, see, you just had to open a plastic cover, use an Allen wrench to select the yield on the warhead and fusing options (air burst? ground contact?), and then insert and turn a bicycle lock key 90 degrees – and you’re good to go!

Sheesh, and we worry about what safeguards the Pakistanis have on their nukes.

It’s simply amazing that we haven’t lost a few cities to nuclear bomb accidents. Simply amazing.

Jim Downey


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