History’s Worst Nuclear Submarine Disasters
War Is Boring
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Although not a nuclear-powered sub, the K-129 story is by far the most interesting of all these and technically would fall into the nuclear submarine catastrophe category. The CIA’s salvage operation alone was a feat of modern engineering considering they lifted the wreckage from 16,000 feet but what they discovered from the wreckage was far more mind blowing. It turns out the sub sank because of a low order detonation of one of its missile warheads. Some of the high explosive charges in the plutonium warhead went off, but out of sequence, so that the warhead was destroyed but did not reach critical mass meaning it did not result in a nuclear detonation. That explosion touched off the missile’s fuel, which burned a hole in the bottom of the sub, and took it to the bottom. This didn’t occur because of a malfunction or an accident. This was actually Soviet protocol in the event of an unauthorized attempt to arm the warhead and fire the missile. Additionally, according to the Soviets the K-129 missed two different communication check-ins prior to this and was hundred of miles from where it was supposed to be. I’m no conspiracy theorist but the facts seem to back up the notion that a rogue Russian submarine tried to launch its nuclear payload at the US in 1968. And now you know :)

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