A Trident nuclear missile may have been damaged while being removed from the USS GEORGIA in Bangor, Washington. The Seattle P-I has this:
As the P-I reported in December, the top leadership of the Strategic Weapons Facility, Pacific — responsible for handling intercontinental ballistic missiles at Bangor — was sacked on the spot. Three officers have been reassigned and three enlisted men face courts-martial on lesser charges.
According to Fitzpatrick, the Nov. 7 incident happened when the missile from tube No. 16 was hauled up and smacked into an access ladder that had been left in the tube, slicing a 9-inch hole in the missile’s nose cone.
Civilian agencies were not notified of the accident as they should be if such an accident occurs.
MO readers will know that the GEORGIA is slated for conversion to an SSGN Cruise Missile Submarine next year, and is currently participating in a proof-of-concept exercise called Silent Hammer. Although not yet converted, the GEORGIA is acting the part of an SSGN. Perhaps the missiles were removed in preparation for this role? (via Free Republic)
UPDATE: From About.com:
As a tool for indicating the severity of a nuclear weapons accident, DoD officials are provided the following codeword key to be used only in internal communications: (Listed in order of most to least serious.)
“A Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff term to identify and report an accident involving a nuclear weapon or warhead or nuclear component.” (Broken Arrow is the worst case scenario.)
“A Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff term used in the Department of Defense to identify and report a nuclear weapon significant incident involving a nuclear weapon or warhead, nuclear components, or vehicle when nuclear loaded.”
“A reporting term to identify and report the seizure, theft, or loss of a U.S. nuclear weapon.”
“A reporting term to identify an event involving a nuclear reactor or radiological accident.”