Wednesday, October 31, 2007

What Do Their Artifacts Now Have in Common?

Artifacts from eight (8) U. S. Navy ships were furnished by the Naval Historical Center for incorporation into a special feature. All together, the eight ships span most of the U.S. Navy's history.

Bits of vintage copper sheeting, spikes, hammock hooks and fragments came from 'Old Ironsides' (Constitution) and Constellation (post-revolutionary frigates). Likewise, other details came from the steamer Hartford (Admiral Farragut's flagship in the Civil War era); the USS Maine (battleship); USS Ranger (iron-hulled steamer/sailing ship); the USS Biloxi and USS Hancock (World War II-era cruiser and aircraft carrier, respectively); and a last-minute addition from today's Navy, the National Defense Service Medal.

Note that most of ships had also earlier and/or later represntations of their name by other naval vessels of different classes. The fourth USS Maine, for instance, is SSBN-741. It just would not seem right, however, if a uniquely submarine name were not included with the seven (7) ships named above.

So, Question #1(a): Name the submarine whose artifacts were incorporated for this special project. (Hint: Three other U.S. submarines have shared the same christening name with the one whose artifacts were actually used).

Question #1(b): Why do you suppose that particular submarine's artifacts were chosen?

Question #2: What feature, on display in Washington, D.C. incorporates artifacts from the eight (8) ships? (Hint: An award naming the feature has been presented to sea service veterans who have distinguished themselves, including: Eddie Albert, Ernest Borgnine, Jonathan Winters, Roger T. Staubach, Tony Curtis, and James A. Michener).

Answers #1(a), 1(b) and #2, tomorrow.

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Quote of the Week: and the standard banana

UPDATE: TEGUCIGALPA, Oct 29 (Reuters) - Honduras authorities have found strong traces of radioactive material in a Hong Kong-bound shipping container carrying steel debris from an Atlantic coast port, officials said on Monday. story

Countries worldwide have installed radiation detection instruments to detect shipments of illegal radioactive material crossing their borders. Some common cargoes contain naturally occurring radioactive material (bananas, fireworks, brazil nuts, keychains, kitty litter, granite, etc.) that trigger radiation alarms.

The following excerpts come from A Look Ahead for NRC and the Industry:

The Customs agents told me about one particular port that receives nothing but bananas – and virtually every shipment sets off the detectors. That struck a chord with me, because some of my fellow Commissioners have joked for some time about creating the “standard banana” as a harmless unit of radioactivity.

Now, as all of you know very well, the first step in explaining things properly is having the right metrics. So let me take this opportunity to propose a new calibration that you could put before your Standards Committee, and perhaps the National Institute of Standards and Technology. The new metric or quantification method that I am suggesting would be called… “The Standard Banana.”

Quote of the Week: The public needs to understand there is such a thing as harmless exposure—which I think most people would grasp if you explain it in terms they can understand… like a standard banana. - NRC Chairman Dr. Dale E. Klein (photo above), Canberra User’s Group, Indian Wells, CA, June 27, 2007

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Do you ever remember consuming Brazil nuts (0.5 millirem from eating one-half pound of Brazil nuts), or Gatorade (0.2 millirem from drinking a quart of Gatorade each week) served onboard your nuclear submarine? Bananas? Cigarettes (1300 millirem per year for the average cigarette smoker )? What about taking self-powered (tritium) keychain lights onboard? [Tritium is an integral part of thermonuclear devices at quantities thousands of times larger than those in a keychain. Devices containing tritium are considered dual-use by the U.S. and are illegal for export. However, they are widely available in the U.K., most of Europe, Asia and Australia]. Please do not answer any of the foregoing rhetorical questions.

However, do you have your own radiation story (not connected with the Hamiliton incident)?

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Monday, October 29, 2007

Bushehr, Iran - Five Targets in One Coastal Area


Molten Eagle has never believed a U.S. attack on Iran is necessary or in the cards, as long as alternatives exist to ridding Tehran of Ahmadinejad. Is he committing a slow political suicide or will he be a victim of a quick transportation or radiological accident?

In order for covert action to be authorized, the President first has to provide the CIA with an official presidential finding to carry out covert actions. President Bush had already signed a 'nonlethal presidential finding' that put in motion CIA plans to pressure the Tehran government. More recently, the U.S. also designated Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps (the 125,000-member elite, military branch) as a 'specially designated global terrorist.' According to U.S. officials, this designation allows Washington to target the group's business operations and finances overtly. What can be done covertly? No one can say.

[T]he Iranian stock market was undergoing "one of the most serious crises in its entire existence...[in the form of] a continuous slump ever since last June's presidential election. ... The downturn has been attributed to uncertainty over the future based on the nuclear question, as well as to President Mahmud Ahmadinejad's seemingly negative attitude toward the stock market. October 8, 2005


Iran is one of the few countries in the world to have converted its entire financial sector to an Islamic system... Countering US Administration claims that Iran is heading towards isolation and economic hardship as a result of the nuclear stand-off, Dr Seyed Mohammad Hossein Adeli downplays the impact of sanctions on Iran... October 25, 2007


The United States is not going to attack Iran overtly. It does not need to attack Iran to prevent nuclear weapons competence. Stressing Iran out militarily, diplomatically, politically, and economically is all the U.S. needs pursue. Iran's military, scientists and leadership will incur everyday accidents of their own making, reflecting their inexperience, incompetence and inability to endure stress and internal dissidents who may receive covert help.

Since a preemptive strategy was first announced by the Bush White House in December 2002, and since the Pentagon maintains contingency military planning to deal with conceivable threats, the unthinkable must be reviewed from time to time:

Bushehr is a coastal city on the Persian Gulf. It is Iran's primary seaport, the provincial capital, and a few kilometers from Iran's Nuclear Energy College and the Bushehr reactor. Bushehr is also the site of three dams. In other words, Bushehr may be one of the primary targets for bunker busting munitions.
Surprise munitions and delivery options may include:

+ SSGN launched 30,000 pound MOPs
+ Dam bursting UUVs laden with 5,000 pound MOPs (drawing above)
+ RNEPs (Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrators) - Since is still illegal for the U.S. to use this weapon, the technology could be shared with an ally without such inhibitions. Iran's development of nuclear weapons would be accompanied preemptively as its doomsday.

No one would be more surprised than El Presidente for life, Hugo Chavez!

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Sunday, October 28, 2007

What Do Automobiles and Submarines Have in Common?


Consider the average speeds of automobiles and submarines. Admittedly, the ordinary cruising speed for both is in the double digits even if ranges do differ somewhat. In autombiles drivers can see where they are going over 99% of the time, while in modern submarines the inverse probably applies (drivers may see where they are headed less than 1% of the time).

Now a new steel is available to improve automotive safety. Weight matters in auto fuel economy, but safety has become a primary requirement of personal transportation. In submarines, mission completion is a primary requirement with weight and fuel economy hardly considerations at all.

Submarine accidents can have significant, negative impacts on both mission completion and availability for more missions. Can TWIP steel be applied to improving submarine safety (i.e. reducing collision injury and damage)? Could bow sections be latticed with this material without impairing critical factors such as sonar performance and anechoic characteristics? One would hope, since air bags are not a viable option on subs.
The crude concept shown applied to USS Texas's (SSN-775) hull would cause potential fouling as well as sonar detection, so please chalk it up to my wish for all you guys who serve to have only fair winds.




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Friday, October 26, 2007

WeekEnd Submarine RoundUp

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Short Timer Humor - Submariners have always been volunteers, so did the term 'short timer' disappear when involuntary conscription (the draft) did? No, but perhaps the slack attitude it described did. And submariners have at least one thing in common with inmates.

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All of the Hospital Corpsmen I have ever known on various boats or later (worked with one in industry for more than 15 years) were intelligent, upstanding gentlemen upon whom we could rely as much as our Marines had. And every one was something of an unique character in his own right. One kept a monkey in his home as a pet; one sold serapes he would buy in Tijuana, etc. Now, thanks to "Doc" MacDonald, we are reminded of another hospital corpsman everyone probably knows. He is a character, too, of course.


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Submariners during extended submarine patrols, 1997 to 1999 - Rates of accidents and injuries during U.S. Navy submarine deployments have not been evaluated previously. A database designed to monitor the health of submarine crewmembers was used to examine the rates and causes of accidents among deployed crewmembers aboard 196 submarine patrols between 1997 and mid 1999. Does this surprise anyone else? - Among submariners working in supply departments, the rates were more than two times those of crewmembers working in other departments. source


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EXCLUSIVE: Did You Read What a Kitsap 'Banger' is? (Hint: Not a sausage) Would the U.S. ever convert missile tubes on SSGNs to fire Massive Ordnance Penetrators (MOP) at enemies, if necessary? It goes hand-in-hand with the stealth nature of those submarines," he said. "Being able to launch them from platforms famous for being very hard to find is an inventive use of those platforms," said Philip Coyle, also of the Center for Defense Information. link The thinking behind this move dates back to 2000 or earlier.


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After the Hampton (SSN-767) incident, the aftermath should not be an eye-opener for submariners. Some very bad apple stuck roaches in our noses while we slept. Here's the 'mickey-mouse' page for the nukes who still have not got it right:

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Exciting "New" Role for SSGNs: A Much Larger Wallop Than Most Expect?

UPDATE: Oct. 29, 19:10 - The new Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP) being developed by The Boeing Company, is a GPS-guided weapon containing more than 5,300 pounds of conventional explosives inside a 20.5-foot long enclosure of hardened steel. source The 44- foot length of a Trident II missiile (SSGN missile tube capacity) easily accomodates the MOP. Which is the more stealthy method of launching 10 MOPS at ten underground bunkers: from 10 (corrected from 5) flying B-2 bombers, or from 1 hidden SSGN?

Publicly... [color emphasis mine]
Oct. 22 (Bloomberg) - Pentagon Wants B-2 Bomber to Carry 30,000-Pound Bomb (Update1) - The Defense Department's new Iraq war funding request proposes upgrading the B-2 stealth bomber to carry the military's largest satellite-guided bomb capable of penetrating deeply buried bunkers. The new 30,000-pound bomb is six times bigger than the Air Force's current 5,000-pound bunker-buster. ... The B-2 is the only U.S. bomber capable of penetrating an adversary's most dangerous air defenses such as those believed in use by North Korea and Iran. - source

Also, according to Anthony Cordesman in a TV interview this week, the public has only heard about penetrating weapons from the 1990s, not what the U.S. now has that may work great.

Oct 14, 2007 (NavyTimes) - First converted SSGN to deploy overseas - Ohio will depart from its pier at Kitsap Naval Base in Bremerton, Wash., for a deployment expected to last 15 months, said Lt. Kyle A. Raines, a Submarine Group Nine spokesman. source
The Bangor-based submarine is the first of four Tridents to be converted from carrying nuclear to conventional weapons to adapt to changing world threats. Trident II SLBM weight: 130,000 lb each (in up to 24 tubes). How many empty tubes (not the tubes filled with 7 cruise missiles) does an SSGN really have available?

Secretively ? ...
October 13, 2007 (kitsapsun.com) - USS Ohio to Deploy With New Weapons, a New Mission - "I think the use of Tomahawks, especially in the beginning stages of a war or battle, is pretty well established," said Philip Coyle, also of the Center for Defense Information. "At this point in the situations in Iraq or Afghanistan it wouldn't be appropriate anymore because now they're trying to find small groups of individuals, sometimes individual car bombers. Tomahawks just don't have that kind of precision."

Publicly ... (this link may suddenly disappear, although that would just be quite coincidental)
Spring 2000 Vol. 2, No. 3 (Undersea Warfare) - by RADM Richard P. Terpstra, USN: OH, How Offensive - Hard and deeply buried targets will remain a difficult task. The large volume of an SSGN missile tube also lends itself to the possibility of housing a powerful conventionally-armed penetrating missile should we need it. Such a weapon could change an enemy's calculus and make bunker duty a lot less desirable for our foes. Development and deployment of the SSGN will allow us to keep this fearsome conventional option open.

Submarines are always silent and strange. You get the point with this YouTube



Trident Launch...







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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Submarine Quote of the Week Quandary and a Longhaired, Patriotic Art Video ...

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This week's selection for Quote of the Week is from the Royal Navy's captain of submarines at Faslane. His quotation is a public relations bite marking a very significant accomplishment by HMS Sceptre. The Sceptre achieved one of the longest patrols in submarine history. There is only one problem, and he admits it, 'A nine-month deployment is something that probably only another submariner could appreciate.'

So, what is Quote of the Week (#6a) that will be promptly misinterpreted by all non-submariners. Here it is:

"Believe me, to keep a submarine at sea for nine months is no mean feat."
- Captain Richard Baum, HM Naval Base Clyde; BBC News; 24 October 2007

As submariners know, keeping hardware at sea is not the tough part. Keeping humans at sea more than several months in a craft too small for adequate food stores is problem number one. There are only three choices: Replenishments at sea involving surfaced, or submerged stores transfers; or space-type, dehydrated foods. (All 3 methods have been conducted during various, undisclosed submarine trials). More here

Submarines are always silent and strange.

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Due to interpretation issues above, a second Quote of the Week is offered. Asked about a scenario where Syria might launch a pre-emptive strike against Israel using a missile with a chemical warhead, one of JCPA’s Program Directors responded (#6b):

“What I talked about is conventional, and we should not be the first to move it from conventional to non-conventional. If the Syrian’s or others will use non-conventional mass destruction systems, it is a totally different story.”
- Major General (Res.) Yaacov Amidror; The New Battle Strategy in Israel; ThreatsWatch.org, October 24, 2007

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Longhaired Art
Remember the artists who have used a submarine genre in their well-meaning, just mean, or well-received expressions? This will help: well-meaning; just mean; well-received. And, we have all seen Old Glory desecrated by long-haired, liberal geniuses who cannot express themselves adequately without infantile methods. Well, this is certainly refreshing art (from Boston Scientific): Turn on your sound. YouTube

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

News You May Have Missed


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Have you heard the fantasy of THE SUBTERRANEAN KINGDOM and a high-ranking but unnamed Naval officer relating the discovery of huge tunnel networks under California? The tunnels are supposedly accessible just off the continental shelf, and have been followed them inland for several hundred miles. A well-known, U.S. Nuclear submarine allegedly lost its way in one of the passages and was never heard from again. here Which submarine would that be?

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My daily must read list includes uplifting facts from the same news industry that routinely bars publication of good news from Iraq. This comes courtesy of a newsman who's job is the editing. He calls it, The Truth from Iraq,
"News that mysteriously disappears down the liberal media rat hole." here

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New currency for space travellers Scientists have come up with a new currency designed to be used by inter-planetary travellers. 'None of the existing payment systems we use on earth - like cash, credit or debit cards - could be used in space,' said Professor George Fraser from the University of Leicester. 'Anything with sharp edges, like coins, would be a risk to astronauts while the chips and magnetic strips used in our cards on Earth would be damaged beyond repair by cosmic radiation,' he added. Using any sort of technology that involved sending and receiving information from Earth would also be impractical because of the distances involved. It is called the Quasi Universal Intergalactic Denomination, or Quid. See them here.

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No videos of WW2 German AIP submarine(s) have appeared yet on YouTube, UNFORTUNATELY, but to have an idea of the brass ones those lads had you can take a look at an amazing German rocket plane video and one of its gutsy test pilots (90% did not survive apparently). YouTube video here

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Have you heard about the two "Blonde Submarines"?

Early AIP (Air-Independent Propulsion)

Development of air-independent propulsion systems began in Russia and Germany in the 1930s. In World War II the Soviet Union and Germany developed AIP systems for their submarines. The Soviet-designed AIP system used liquid oxygen and diesel fuel to operate a closed-cycle diesel (CCD) engine that was installed on submarine M-401 for an experiment that lasted from 1940 to 1945.

In 1946 U-boat U-1407 was salvaged and commissioned into the Royal Navy as a model for High Test Peroxide (HTP) submarines. U-1407 was a prototype for two British experimental submarines, HMS Explorer and Excalibur. Built for speed, their HTP engines were steam turbine generators from the exothermal reaction of HTP with diesel oil and a catalyst.

Explorer and Excalibur known as the 'blonde' submarines because hydrogen peroxide was also a popular dying agent for blonde hair. Units of the 3rd Submarine Squadron, the subs (capable of 25 knots submerged) were intended as high-speed targets for Royal Navy practice.

Stored outside the pressure hulls, the HTP was prone to exploding unexpectedly. On at least one occasion the crew were forced to evacuate. The fuel proved to be so toublesome that the boats eventually became known as Exploder and Excruciator.

USS Nautilus (SSN-571) got "underway on nuclear power" in January 1955. Nuclear power was a much more satisfactory method of AIP, so the HTP project was abandoned, and Explorer and Excalibur were decommissioned (1960s).




Nautilus AIP submarine...

Today's fuel cell AIP submarines use a variety of fuels to generate electrical power. Have nuclear powered submarines finally been leapfrogged? In performance no, but in sheer number perhaps that time will arrive.
"... new underwater weapons will help equalize the performance disparity between AIP boats and nuclear-powered submarines and it may well happen that the U.S. Navy will want to reassess the desirability of developing an AIP submarine of its own, if only to learn how to counter this new and potentially revolutionary undersea challenge."
- Don Walsh, The AIP Alternative Air-Independent Propulsion: An Idea Whose Time Has Come?; Navy League of the United States

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Saturday, October 20, 2007

Cherchez la femme: This Does not Happen on Submarines (with video)

First, there had been a high-profile incident back in August 29-30th ( so serious it required President Bush and Defense Secretary Robert Gates to be quickly informed.)

Why has it taken so long to identify the colonel who commanded the 5th Maintenance Group (Minot Air Force Base) responsible for the 5th Bomb Wing's 35 B-52H Stratofortress aircraft as well as weapons maintenance for the 91st Space Wing's Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles? The first mystery colonel (we'll call her #3) commanded 1,200 personnel.

Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell said, "The munitions squadron commander has been relieved of his duties, (we'll call him/her #4) and final action is pending the outcome of the investigation. In addition, other airmen were decertified from their duties involving munitions." source Washington (AFP) Sept 5, 2007 [emphasis mine]

Over a month later, still hiding la femme ...
4 Colonels Lose Their Air Force Commands source Washington Post; October 20, 2007 -
Air Force Maj. Gen. Richard Y. Newton III said that the 5th Bomb Wing commander at Minot, Col. Bruce Emig, was removed from command (#1), along with his chief munitions officer (#4)and the operations officer of the B-52 unit at Barksdale (#2). Also, Air Force Major Gen. Polly A. Peyer has been asked to examine potential individual culpability, Newton said. He did not rule out other disciplinary action, including courts-martial.

Now ...
Col. Todd Westhauser (#2), commander of the 2nd Operations Group at Barksdale Air Force Base, is one of four top officers relieved of duty in the wake of a late-August incident involving a Barksdale bomber and an unscheduled nuclear munitions transfer.Also relieved of command were Col. Bruce Emig (#1), head of the 5th Bomb Wing at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., and Col. Cynthia M. Lundell (#3), commander of the 5th Maintenance Group at Minot, where the munitions were errantly loaded. Emig and Lundell only assumed their commands in June.
The 5th Munitions Squadron commander at Minot, whose name was not immediately available (#4) , was relieved of command soon after news of the incident first was reported by Gannett's Military Times in early September. source The Shreveport Times October 20, 2007

and, ...
Four officers -- including three colonels -- have been relieved of duty... source WASHINGTON (CNN) October 19, 2007

Does any one else detect a possible cover-up attempt? Could the unidentified officer (#4) be a female USAF Academy graduate? Is the unidentified officer even a colonel? Oh, one more thing ...

Rep. Ellen O. Tauscher (D-Calif.), chairwoman of the House Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee, said yesterday that she is "satisfied" with the report.

The Brits think a similar incident could not happen on their subs: US nuclear error 'impossible in UK'. Well, the US silent service is equally safe. Here's a YouTube from phinko called Air Force Deployment B-52's (recommend fast forward to -2:18 minutes).




The 5th Brings the Pain!...















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Friday, October 19, 2007

SSN 767 Update(s): USS Hampton

UPDATE (Nov. 2nd): USS Hampton Incident Getting A 'Hard' Look'I Think They Were Pushing The Easy Button,' Commander Of Sub Force Says M.E.: ELTs and CRAs fleetwide will be individually debriefed by their XOs (Engineers may be present) and the UCMJ will be addressed with recent examples at hand.

UPDATE (09:25 Friday): The aftermath of the unfortunate Hampton incident is provided in its simplest form here for adults. (check out *****5*****)

UPDATE (20:32 Thursday): Nuclear sub commander relieved of duty Navy: He failed to do safety checks on reactor, tried to cover up omissions
Cmdr. Michael B. Portland was relieved after a Navy investigation found the ship failed to do daily safety checks on its nuclear reactor for a month and falsified records to cover up the omission.
“His oversight of the crew’s performance did not identify these issues” without an outside inspection, Navy Lt. Alli Myrick, a public affairs officer, told The Associated Press.

UPDATE (11:48 Monday) : Navy: Submarine Safety Checks Skipped WASHINGTON (AP) — Sailors on the submarine USS Hampton failed to do daily safety checks on the ship's nuclear reactor for a month and falsified records to cover up the omission, a Navy investigation shows.
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Th above lends credence to the sub community's rumored story of malfeasance by Hampton's ELTs (see Brian in comments).

The notion that there are 5 ELTs in an SSN crew nowadays underscores how much "necessary overhead" fills first-line subs. While these are qualified submariners and fine people, they take up space, a fact which tends to help those pushing the Navy to make AIP subs one of their new construction imperatives. - Vigilis


It is too early for flurries (not the frozen precipitation, the Admiralty kind). When the squadron admiral speaks publicly, the investigation will be over. At that point, no one contradicts his final words. This is not a criticism, it is a time-honored necessity we should all applaud.

People had suggested a music video posted to YouTube.com by Hampton crew members might be part of the investigation. It shows them joking around some sensitive sections of the sub.

After NewsChannel 3 (WTKR) aired a related story, the Navy did confirm the video is not part of the investigation. That is credible.

This is simply diificult to fathom:
In fact, officials told us [WTKR] they didn't even know about it. [Truth or incompetence alarms going off]. Since submariners are anything but incompetent, I pick the truth alarm.

How could anyone say the Navy did not know about a video created in a secret stealth platform?
Answer: the Navy has shrunk, but its still large enough to find an official spokesperson who can honestly say with a straight face that they did not even know something was on the world wide web. Betcha there was not a CPO in the submarine fleet who did not know the authorized video was out there. If chiefs knew, guess who else had to know?

Right. But, even though the YouTube video has little to do with the ongoing investigation, why pretend YouTube videos slip out of submarines without a submarine admiral's staff's notice? A responsible party at least had to send an e-mail to a squadron clerk, I'll bet you. By the way, the video seen below, looks like an excellent recruiting tool to me (in fact, that is how it is registered on YouTube).





This IS a Recruiting Video...






Now, some experienced bloggers lean more toward problems in the sub's aft end administration that have sidelined one of the Navy's starfleet vessels. If true, that could be one more reason to de-emphasize construction of nuclear submariners in favor of modern AIPs (which, in fact are under consideration). Shhh.

By the way, it looks like whatever the problem, the sub's captain, Jaenichen, who ordered an investigation originally (last month) is off the hook. Six crew members so far have received NJP.

Once an asset like a nuclear sub is taken out of service, someone's head is going to feel the axe. Will we ever find out what the root cause was? No, not officially. We may only know whose unidentified misconduct or error contributed to or created a bad problem.

Submarines are always silent and strange.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Submarine Challenge: How Many?

Update (Friday Oct 26, 2007, 11:39) - The CO of USS Hampton (SSN-767) was relieved of command for 'loss of confidence in his ability to command' Thursday. Commander Portland's biography indicates clearly that he is not a USNA graduate (Nebraska '87). This is documentary proof (assignment #3) that not all post- Cold War submarine COs are USNA graduates. On the other hand, we still do not yey have a single instance of a WW2 U.S. submarine service CO who was not a USNA graduate (assignment #1). Thanks to reddog, however, we learned that during the Cold War, exceptions were made. Reddog provided an example in the Comments section.

Before WW1 and during WW2, U.S. submarine skippers were exclusively Naval Academy graduates. Did all of them, including Nimitz ('05), actually volunteer for submarine duty (assignment #1).

During the Cold War, tradition was broken, if rarely, by commmanders of merit in their own right. Name a Cold War sub skipper who was not a USNA grad (assignment #2).

Post Cold War, Molten Eagle has yet to hear of a single sub skipper who did not graduate from the USNA. We all know that there may be exceptions to a general rule. Name at least one (assignment #3).

Why is any of this relevant at all? Perhaps you have not been reading enough of Molten Eagle's postings? That is strictly your decision, but you may have been missing something. Whatever the criterion to separate submarine commanders from the "I was just in it for the free education" clique obviously works. Taxpayers should demand longer service after academy graduation and higher standards for academy entrance.

As early as 2005, and again just this week, Molten Eagle addressed the issue of "gaming" taxpayers out of military academy tuition. In 2005, 4-year tuition at the USNA was a relative bargain at only about $275,000 per graduate. Compare that to Harvard and other military academies.

Here is a grand opportunity: submarine skippers are intelligent and dedicated gentlemen (even the many canned for happenstance). How the heck can they be so carefully selected when admission to military academies includes sons and daughters of politicians more intent on careers in law (politics) or NASA than lifelong military service? Why do admissions officers accept any immature cadets, when history has proven there is no need?

Something stinks, politics and Senatorial influence (predominantly lawyers) are ruining our military academies. Here is a recent example for you doubters: Gaming the Taxpayers Out of $349,000 .

How many thought, albeit foolishly, that successful candidates for military academy adsmission (who replaced dedicated career aspirants) were intent on military careers in excess of the requisite 5 years? Taxpayers are being ripped off and the academies are becoming infested by political parasites. [Vigilis made this point today on "talk radio". Some fool tried to contradict these points with VP Cheney's irrelevant draft deferments (irrelevant because educational draft defements were common during Viet Nam (Vigilis, for instance, was the only male in his H.S. graduating class to volunteer or to serve in the military). The foolish caller was unceremoniously set back adrift.

Anyone who can correctly answer even one of the questions # 1 -# 3 is welcome to comment.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Gaming the Taxpayers Out of $349,000

More than two years ago, Vigilis, a self-described sentinel of wasted American tax dollars, described an ongoing scandal at our military academies. Politicians encourage favored constituents and sometimes their own kin (who may have doubtful military career ambitions) to attend West Point, Annapolis or the Air Force Academy at full taxpayer expense, while incurring active duty obligations that are only 5 years beyond graduation. Retention has declined over the decades.

As taxpayers and as parents, we should rightfully expect serious (lifelong) commitments to a military career as the first and foremost qualification for admission to our prestigious U.S. military academies of those admitted. Afterall, there is no shortage of bright, physically qualified applicants, many of whom must now be rejected due to limitations on class size.

Even West Point's mission statement describes "... [candidates] prepared for a career of professional excellence and service to the Nation as an officer in the United States Army. (In 2005, West Point cost taxpayers an estimated $349,327 per graduate). Free tuition

Definition of "To game", verb, transitive: to take dishonest advantage of; to cheat, as in "gaming the taxpayers".

Current evidence suggests that screening has been perfunctory and woefully inadequate. Remember, for instance, Naval Academy graduate Lisa Nowak? She still has her O-6 commission, but what use is she to our military?

Now, there is a more egregious example. West Point Grad Wins Objector Status. What was he, too young to make a serious commitment to the military (lifelong), or just bright enough to see how the "game" is being played nowadays? While in Iraq, Brown applied for discharge from the Army as a conscientious objector. The ACLU (lawyers) sued in July, asking a federal court to order the Army to reverse its decision. Submitting to political pressure (Senate lawyers), the Army did reconsider! You won, Capt. Brown, and taxpayers and parents lose.

Brown testified he had no conflict between his faith and military service until after he graduated from West Point in 2004 and began to study scripture and his belief. Duh, can we think of a better screening criterion? Army officials at Fort Drum had no immediate comment. According to government figures, there were 426 applications for conscientious objector status from 2002-06, with 224 approved, 188 denied and 14 still pending. But Brown gamed West Point on his own. Congratulations, Capt. Brown, this will not be the end of your public story.



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Submarines Nuclear Throw Update and a Hiroshima Survivor's Remarks Become Our Quote of the Week

The updated chart below shows Russia's dated advantage in sub launched ballistic missile ranges, but also adds China.


The November 2007 issue of Scientific American features The Nuclear Threat A look at strike capabilities worldwide, and how a bomb would affect single cities and people. By Mark Fischetti [contributing editor to Scientific American, and co-author of Weaving the Web with Sir Timothy John Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web with the help of (not Al Gore) Robert Cailliau.]

Fischetti's SciAm article presents gripping perspectives and graphics (e.g. what a one megaton detonation over Manhattan would likely do). His article is available online here for you.

Quote of the Week (also from the article)
"I have been hospitalized 10 times by radiation diseases, three times ... my family called to my bedside. I have to admit I am getting bored with death.”
Hiroshima survivor Sanao Tsuboi, quoted by Torcuil Crichton in “Hiroshima: The Legacy,” U.K. Sunday Herald; July 31, 2005.

Below is historic YouTube footage from Fredrik of various atomic detonations; vintage, colorful, or awesome:



Hugo Chavez must be beside himself...

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Monday, October 15, 2007

Stealth Between the Time Lines: "El Diablo cazador" lurks

Curious forecasts from filmmakers, writers, an Undersecratary of State, a U.S. Commission on National Security and a Subject Matter Expert on confidence artists, terrorists, hot years, and a nuclear detonation (Was the submarine stuff relevant? Yes and no, somewhat like Y2K, as a pretext).

Prediction: In the next 20 -30 years, the name Gore will come to be associated with junk science the way Ponzi is associated with a particular confidence scheme. Al Gore will escape his inevitable legacy only if something far more ominous shows up in the timeline. Juan Caruso D. (aka Juan Caruso al-Humacao)
October 14, 2007 - Dr William Gray, a pioneer in the science of seasonal hurricane forecasts, told a packed lecture hall at the University of North Carolina that humans were not responsible for the warming of the earth. ... "We'll look back on all of this in 10 or 15 years and realise how foolish it was," Dr Gray said. Gray also said, that same cycle meant a period of cooling would begin soon and last for several years. [emphasis added] "It bothers me that my fellow scientists are not speaking out against something they know is wrong," he said. "But they also know that they'd never get any grants if they spoke out. I don't care about grants." source

October 12, 2007 - Film maker Al Gore and the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change jointly won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize Friday for their efforts to spread awareness of man-made climate change and to lay the foundations for fighting it.

2006 - An Inconvenient Truth (8.2/10 ), an Oscar-winning film directed by Davis Guggenheim was released. Plot outline: Documentary of Al Gore's campaign to popularize the notion of mankind-induced global warming as a problem worldwide. [editor's opinion: in this instance, the word plot is synonymous with scheme].

September 11, 2001 - The devestating 9-11 Attacks

October, 2000 - Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Walter B. Slocombe: "The greatest threat to our national security -- war on a global scale against an adversary with nuclear weapons and aggressive global ambitions -- has been all but eliminated." After the Cold War

January 1, 2000 - Y2K largely uneventful (Y2K was hardly about computer glitches, by the way, but for corporate preparations to shelter from and survive terrorist WMD attacks).

September 1999 - The U.S. Commission on National Security for the 21st Century (the Hart-Rudman Commission) "warned that, in the course of the next quarter century, terrorist acts involving weapons of mass destruction were likely to increase. "Americans will likely die on American soil, possibly in large numbers," it said.

January 1994 - Contract awarded to develop the Predator UAV. It provides reconnaissance and may also wield two AGM-114 Hellfire missiles. Predators (in service since 1995) have been deployed in combat over Afghanistan, Bosnia, Serbia, Iraq, and Yemen.

1994 - True Lies (7.1/10), a film by director James Cameron was released. The blockbuster features a spectacular nuclear weapon detonation in the Florida Keys by a terrorist network called the Crimson Jihad.

1993 - World Trade Center bombed

1991 - the Soviet Union collapsed and was dissolved

1989 - The Abyss (7.4/10), a film directed by James Cameron was released. Plot outline: A civilian diving team are enlisted to search for a lost nuclear submarine and face danger while encountering an alien aquatic species.

1988 - The Rescue (4.0/10 rating), another film written by Predator's writers (Jim and John Thomas) was released. Plot summary: A team of Navy Seals are sent to destroy a disabled submarine so it will not fall into the "wrong" hands. (North Korea)

1987 - The motion picture Predator (7.6/10 rating) was released. It starred 3 future, gubernatorial candidates, two of whom would became state governors. Writers: Jim and John Thomas. Plot outline: A team of commandos, on a mission in a Central American jungle, find themselves hunted by an alien predator.

When I was little, we found a man. He looked like - like, butchered. The old woman in the village crossed themselves... and whispered crazy things, strange things. "El Diablo cazador de hombres." Only in the hottest years this happens. And this year, it grows hot. We begin finding our men. We found them sometimes without their skins... and sometimes much, much worse. "El cazador trofeo de los hombres" means the demon who makes trophies of men.

- Quote from Anna in the Predator. [color highlighting added]

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Submarines are always silent and strange.

Caruso's first corollary to submarines are always silent and strange: On the topic of military submarines facts are often conveniently obscured among games and toys, whereas in the realm of fiction apparent masquerades may or may not be.















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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Suddenly, Venezuelan Skies Were Darkened by SLLBs

Don't know what SLLBs are? What if you were reminded that SL stands for submarine launched? Still blocked?

Well, be happy you are not El Presidente Hugo Chavez.

SLLBs are submarine launched leaf blowers. Why will they descend on Caracas? Tabebuia chrysantha is native to Caracas. Not surprisingly, since it is the National Tree of Venezuela, Tabebuia's deep yellow closely resembles that in Venezuela's flag. The broadleaf tree is found not only in deciduous forests, but abundantly throughout the tiny OIL exporting nation's capital.

Therein lies Hugo's problem. Deciduous trees shed their leaves each year. Who should rake them up, illegal Mexican immigrants willing to do work others won't? Cuban refugees just happy to have escaped? No one wants to do it. The city would look unkempt with broad, decaying leaves lying all about.
Remember Hugo's oil largesse for residents of Massachusetts? Now the favor will be returned in kind with super leaf blowers launched from nearby submarines. Obviously, leaf blowers are not Trojan horses, so Hugo's fear will turn to a happy smile. See and hear these SLLBs in action here on YouTube.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

U.S. 4th Fleet (South Atlantic) Operations Black Out


If the 4th Fleet were comprised entirely of submarines it could not be more mysterious.

Fleet numbering was established in 1943, by Admiral Ernest King. Remember, it had been Capt. Ernest King who in 1923 had proposed distinguished uniform insignia (dolphins were later selected) for U.S. submariners.

A few years or ago, Hugo Chavez expressed his concerns that the U.S. was planning to invade Venezuela. Perhaps a war game had even been conducted offshore in his vicinity. The initials for Chavez's concern (invading venezuela), of course are IV, the roman numeral representing 4.

During WW2, the United States 4th Fleet was a major command of the United States Navy in the South Atlantic. The Fourth Fleet waged relentless war against raiders, blockade runners, and submarines in the South Atlantic. In April 1943 Fleet Air Wing 16 transferred from Norfolk to Natal, Brazil, to direct patrol plane antisubmarine operations under the Fourth Fleet in the South Atlantic. There can be no question that the 4th Fleet would have plans to invade Venezuela, if military action ever became necessary. Nothing is new about it.

Ever heard about a SEAL team that does not officially exist? In which theater did it concentrate
its operations that never took place? Me either.

Prior to 1950, the Fourth Fleet was allegedly absorbed into the Second Fleet. Was it? A curious reference to the 4TH FLEET IMAGERY INTERPRETATION UNIT (FIIU) is found here. Look hard enough and you will even come across Klingon and Imperial Japanese Navy 4th Fleets.

But none of that will ever help Hugo Chavez allay his most annoying suspicions. Sleep well, Hugo. We are all going to have to wait and see. The 4th Fleet is silent and strange, like submarines.

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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Quote of the Week: Nuclear Power Risk and Your Pants

When Ralph Nader described plutonium as "the most toxic substance known to mankind", Bernard Leonard Cohen, a tenured professor of Physics, offered to consume on camera as much plutonium oxide as Nader could consume caffeine, the stimulant in coffee and other beverages. In pure form, caffeine has a lethal dose 50 percent kill (LD50) of 13-19 grams for average sized adults (reference MSDS section 11).

Here then, is our quotation for this week:

The genetic risks of nuclear power are equivalent to delaying parenthood by 2.5 days, or of men wearing pants an extra 8 hours per year. - Bernard L. Cohen, Sc.D. Professor, University of Pittsburgh

Professor Cohen's RISKS OF NUCLEAR POWER is enlightening and may be read here in its 13 paragraph entirety.
CAUTION: Anti-nuclear activists with closed minds will not enjoy Cohen's rational treatment of radiation risks and opportunities, until they manage to attain adult minds.

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Monday, October 08, 2007

Insider Compares Submarining and Coal Mining

Every time there is a mining accident, submariners have another reason to pause and wonder about the mining industry's safety practices. In the past 9 months, underground mining fatalities have claimed 16 lives, U.S. Mine Safety and Health Admin. data show. Since 1900, the agency says, coal mines have claimed more than 104,600 lives. In 1998, the UMW had about 240,000 members all told.

Previously, mine mazes gave recruits introduction to safety fundamentals hundreds of feet below ground in 40-hour training programs. Now, 360-hour programs are used to improve safe mining practices. More than 200 new miners have completed the longer, nine-week training course that has a 2-month waiting list.
Has Waychoff (photo) graduated to green hat (Safety Coordinator perhaps)? Who is responsible for safety on a submarine?

Red hats is what mining apprentices are called (from the color of helmets they must wear) before becoming full-fledged black hats. During his six years on a Navy sub, Charles Waychoff underwent training three days a week, six hours at a time on how to handle fires, flooding or low oxygen - the very life-or-death issues that confront coal miners. Waychoff, 28, said there's no way 40 hours of schooling can ready a new miner for such challenges.


"You don't really get any hands-on or in-depth study," said Waychoff, who makes $22 an hour for Maryland-based Foundation Coal Holdings Inc. while attending the two-year mining engineering program the company pays him for taking at Penn State.

Waychoff said he believes his nine weeks of training, along with the guidance of veteran coworkers, keeps him safe. Here you can read the full story, including more about the modern maze that is under construction in Pennsylvania.


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Saturday, October 06, 2007

Something to Remember




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Friday, October 05, 2007

Spanish Advantages: Submarine and Commercial Travel Piracy (by U.S.)

Here are two situations involving Spain in which you must draw your own conclusions. Personally, the U.S. price overcharges fit own my travel observations and are not surprising. Nevertheless, perhaps this information will be useful to you, so here goes:

1) Published September 30, 2007 When the Best Deals Don’t End in .Com
Jorge Cuadros, from Alexandria, Va., turned to the Internet to book a rental car. On Hertz.com, Mr. Cuadros was quoted a price of 626.12 euros for an automatic Mercedes for five days in October. At $1.42 to the euro, that amounted to about $890. He had stumbled upon a little-known trick that many online travel companies would rather keep quiet. Out of curiosity, Mr. Cuadros switched to his native Spanish tongue and checked Hertz’s Spanish Web site, www.hertz.es, where the same car was offered for 263.92 euros — about 58 percent less. He had stumbled upon a little-known trick that many online travel companies would rather keep quiet.

“It seems that the car rental companies are in some cases even charging twice the price to residents of the U.S. than to Europeans,” said Mr. Cuadros. ... Some of the best travel deals on the Web these days don’t end in .com but can be found on a travel company’s foreign offshoot, which usually ends with the country’s domain name, like .fr (France), and .de (Germany). Though the travel companies don’t advertise it, they often charge different prices based on the country of origin. Read the full article for related airfare bargains.


2) Would a rogue, submarine from Spain chase a sailboat all the way back to Norfolk, VA and blow her up?

A 42-foot sailboat exploded late Wednesday afternoon at a marina in Ocean View, sending debris 40 feet into the air, demolishing the boat and leaving a man seriously wounded.

The answer is in the details. Here are the news articles accompanying the top and bottom photos. Did you find the correct answer? (Hint: Remember the basics of journalism: the 5 Ws, as in the title of 1). What is wrong with the photo suggestion? HINT: Norfolk is 3506.4 nautical miles from Alicante, Spain.

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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Fantastic Discovery! Now All the United States Needs Is its Own AIP Submarine or Two

August 27, 2007 Engineers perfecting hydrogen-generating technology
The novel reaction was discovered by Jerry Woodall (center), a distinguished professor of electrical and computer engineering at Purdue University. By adding water to an alloy of aluminum and gallium hydrogen is produced. Hydrogen gas can be be used to run both internal combustion engines and fuel cells.


The possibility of pollution-free energy enables fuel cells to power submarines, hospital carts, cars, emergency portable generators and loads more.

Is a hydrogen power coming to a neighborhood near you? Over 30? Doubtful in your lifetime. Will the U.S. have AIP submarines in your lifetime? One way or another, probably yes.

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John McCain't, Slippery Senator

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is a living paragon of P.O.W. courage and patriotism. For his service to our country as a navy pilot we are indebted. Only Arizona citizens may judge his service to their state.

McCain's inexcusable connection to the Lincoln Savings and Loan Association the S&L industry's Keating Five, and subsequent co-sponsorship of self-serving legislation such as the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Bill, former support for legalizing illegal aliens, and being considered for John Kerry's running mate in 2004, raise important questions of personal integrity. The man appears to be a RINO. John McCain't a Republican.

As an independent voter, I only vote for those who do not attempt to hide what are obvious faults that voters may consistently expect from them. Sometimes even a Democrat lawyer has been more truthful (e.g. Sen. Lieberman), sometimes it is a Republican (Newt), or minor party candidate (Perot) entitled to my vote.

John McCain has often proven that he is really John McCain't. He reinforces his slippery approach almost daily: McCain Backs Off Clinton Critique
CAMDEN, S.C. (AP) - Republican presidential candidate John McCain has decided not to assail Democratic rival Hillary Rodham Clinton for her stance on the Iraq War in a speech Wednesday at a military prep school. On Tuesday, McCain's campaign released excerpts of his speech at Camden Military Academy in which the Arizona senator accuses Clinton of indecisiveness, arguing that won't work for a post-Sept. 11 commander in chief.
Thank you, Senator McCain, thinking voters will need no more surprise examples from you.

Some call you a maverick. Your style is not that complicated. You meet the standard for a very slippery politician. As a future president you simply McCain't get my vote.

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Quote of the Week #5

Rarely do modern lawyers generate quotations deserving of historical note. History chronicles major exceptions, however. These remarks by a thinking, female lawyer recognize what too many American females have failed to see well after the women's suffrage and female liberation movements, and an indeterminate time before invocation of sharia law to reinstate the old ways worldwide. Coulter is not being humorous; she gets it and spells it out loudly:

If we took away women's right to vote, we'd never have to worry about another Democrat president. It's kind of a pipe dream, it's a personal fantasy of mine, but I don't think it's going to happen. And it is a good way of making the point that women are voting so stupidly, at least single women. - Ann Hart Coulter , University of Michigan Law School (1988)

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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

"Osama bin Laden may soon have his hands on three Agosta 90B next-generation stealth submarines ..."



A prolific thinker, author and futurist, Howard Bloom, once during the 1990s tried to warn the press and America, through his books, The Lucifer Principle and Global Brain, and through his radio and television interviews that militant Islam posed an imminent danger. No one in power seemed interested. More recently Bloom warned of a looming, nuclear cataclysm. Had never heard about it, had you? Had this guy?

Here's more:

Osama bin Laden may soon have his hands on three Agosta 90B next-generation stealth submarines capable of carrying sixteen sea-to-land cruise missiles each. Those missiles can deliver atomic warheads. And Osama, I suspect, will have access to the forty nuclear warheads constructed by Pakistan.Washington and New York, two primary targets for Al Qaeda, are near bodies of water from which these nuclear-tipped missiles can be launched. So are many other major American cities.


Here are the skeletal details:In 1994, DCN, the government-owned company that builds France's naval vessels, agreed to help the Pakistanis build and learn to operate a rather amazing shipyard. It was a next-generation facility building next-tech, Agosta 90B stealth submarines. As of today two of these subs have been built and a third is scheduled for launch by 2006.

Here's the link Dodging the Nuclear 9/11, so you can read Bloom's full article.

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Monday, October 01, 2007

Graceful Submarine Exit Portrayed as Radiation Relief in Sardinia

Reasons for departure - select the best answer from #1, #2, or #3 (color and bold emphasis added):

(#1) The US administration announced last November that it was intending to leave the island but did not say when. It said that the "changing international security scenario" meant the Santo Stefano base was no longer strategically important to the United States. source


(#2) The move is part of a general reshuffling of U.S. military forces and resources throughout Europe designed to reflect post Cold War realities and to achieve greater operational mobility. source


(#3) The USS Oklahoma City collided with a commercial Norwegian vessel in the western Mediterranean in 2002, and the USS Hartford ran aground while on manoeuvres in La Maddalena harbour in 2003. The following year, a French research institute CRIIAD [sic]found exceedingly high levels of the radioactive element thorium, used as a nuclear power source, in seaweed samples. ...In 2005, the regional health department found higher than usual levels of cancer in the area. source


(#1) and (#2) are virtually identical, so let's consider the third possibility. The Italian government denied serious consequences from submarine accidents, but tests carried out on seaweed samples by French research institute Criirad [sic] in the immediate aftermath of the incident showed thorium levels 400 times higher than normal. source


---------------------------------DISCUSSION ----------------------------------

Is thorium even a nuclear power source for those U.S. Submarines? Thorium may be used in nuclear reactors instead of uranium as fuel. This produces less transuranic waste. source

[in thorium reactors] Each reactor needs its own facility (synchrotron) to generate the high energy proton beam, which is very costly. No synchrotron of sufficient power has ever been built. Recently, however, the Spallation Neutron Source with 1 GeV protons was completed for other experiments. source So, suppose such a reactor were deployed on some nuclear subs, in order to contaminate the seabed with it (radioactive thorium) the reactor compartment would have to be breached. No such event happened in either of the accidents and thoriated stuff just does not fall off submarines. Finally, there have not been many aircraft crashes into Maddelena Harbor.

Could another source of thorium explain abnormally high levels of thorium off La Maddelena Harbor? Thorium occurs naturally in the environment. Worker exposure comes primarily from mining, milling of uranium, phosphate fertilizer production, coal-fired utilities, welding with gas tungsten welding electrodes, and industrial boilers. Here are three more , common industrial uses of thorium:

+ Thorium has been used in heat-resistant ceramics.

+ As an alloying element in magnesium used in aircraft engines, Thorium imparts high strength and improved high temperature performance.

+ Thorium is used to coat tungsten wire used in electronic equipment, improving the electron emission of heated cathodes.

Except for related mining, milling and phosphate fertilizer production, most of the other activities are not unknown on submarine tenders, where environmental regulations are rigorously enforced.

What industries on Sardinia may be dumping thoriated wastes illegally? The US Navy's departure removes a convenient cover enjoyed by illegal dumpers or international mischief makers.

My guess is that the U.S. is either assisting Italy in identifying the true source of contamination, or has already shared that information. We may never hear about resulting arrests, because submarines are always silent and strange.










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