The last of the United States' most powerful nuclear bombs — a weapon hundreds of times more destructive than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima — is being disassembled nearly fifty years after it was put into service, informed Tuesday the newspaper Texas Star-Telegram.
According to the newspaper, the weapon was deployed at the height of the Cold War and was targeted at Russia. This was a big part of our Cold War strategic plan, said Steve Erhart to the newspaper, the top federal official at the Pantex weapons plant, about 17 miles northeast of Amarillo.
News international agencies informed the final components of the B53 bomb will be broken down Tuesday. The completion of the dismantling program is a year ahead of schedule, according to the US Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration, and aligns with President Barack Obama's goal of reducing the number of nuclear weapons.
First 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, at the end of World War II.
The B53 was designed to destroy facilities deep underground, and it was carried by B-52 bombers, informed the Texas newspaper.
Thomas D'Agostino, the nuclear administration's chief, called the bomb's elimination a significant milestone.