It’s probably safe to say that we all have some kind of vague idea that there have been a number of close calls when it comes to nuclear misunderstandings. And that humanity has been lucky to escape, by the skin of its collective teeth.
But just what, exactly, were some of the specifics?
The Union of Concerned Scientists hopes to answer that question with its interactive nuclear roulette wheel—described as “real-life tales of close calls, screw ups, and nuclear near misses.” Press the button marked “Spin wheel,” and read of some of the events — such as the time that the moon rising above the horizon caused a radar station in Greenland to mistakenly say that a Soviet nuclear attack was underway. Or the time that a failed, 46-cent computer chip set US nuclear bombers and missiles on full alert. Or the day that a maintenance worker accidentally dropped the socket from a wrench into a missile silo, causing an explosion and throwing a nuclear warhead hundreds of feet up into the air.
After you’ve read a few, you’ll probably want to press the button that says “Take action.”
The Bulletin elevates expert voices above the noise. But as an independent nonprofit organization, our operations depend on the support of readers like you. Help us continue to deliver quality journalism that holds leaders accountable. Your support of our work at any level is important. In return, we promise our coverage will be understandable, influential, vigilant, solution-oriented, and fair-minded. Together we can make a difference.