Nuclear weapons are made up of different parts. Some can lie indefinitely, like a piece of uranium or plutonium, while others do not live long. This was told in a conversation with The Insider by an expert who took part in the production and testing of tactical nuclear weapons.
Speaking about the organization of work with such things, the expert drew attention to the fact that before the moment when your special forces received a nuclear bomb in a suitcase, several other stages and activities must go through at key points that cannot be overlooked. In order for the weapon to function, you need to check the electronics, fill with tritium, which must be fresh, polonium initiator, which has a half-life of 100 days.
“In the case of nuclear weapons, this is a system in which there are a lot of very complex technologies, and if you undertake to reproduce them, then at each stage everything must be done accurately. To say that some person from the FSO comes, receives this nuclear suitcase and blows it up - this is from the category of a Hollywood movie. If something is done incorrectly, then nothing will work, you won’t even weld the correct plutonium. To think that you have a warhead and that you take it and blow it up at any moment is not. There are several levels of protection, and as you prepare, launch and approach the goal, you remove one level of protection after another. Many people are involved, in addition, this is movement from certain places, ”the expert notes.
In the 60s, during the exercises, it became clear that it was impossible to deliver tactical nuclear weapons from the USSR along destroyed roads and bridges to European countries. And then the Yavor program arose to create storage bases in the territories of the Warsaw Pact countries, and in a special period, nuclear weapons were issued from these storage bases to the armies of Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Poland. In the early 80s, at the height of the Cold War, all tactical nuclear weapons were removed from the troops, because this is too dangerous a thing. During Perestroika, ammunition was dismantled at central storage bases. It is impossible to collect them immediately and immediately put them into action. They need to be moved - and not by teleportation or in a suitcase, but by special vehicles, including wagons.
“Or you have special cars, which are also very complex and rather big. Since the metro between these central storage bases and other places was not built, the movement activity can be recorded, ”the expert says.
Intelligence knows the main storage bases, the source of The Insider notes, and these protected areas are perfectly visible from space with several rows of fences, bunkers and training centers. The process of issuing nuclear weapons components to the troops is very hard to miss. The roads leading to these military installations are always kept in order for safety reasons.
“When everything in Moscow was overgrown with hogweed, the roadsides along which such columns with nuclear weapons could move were kept in order, because if the roadside is trimmed, then you can’t hide a landmine there. Ensuring movement is a very thoughtful thing. To work with any special products, there are transport technological schemes that are very carefully worked out in case of emergencies, ”the expert notes.
According to him, despite the fact that the wagons for the transportation of parts of nuclear weapons are disguised in every possible way as ordinary wagons, it is impossible not to notice the transportation.
“There is a full-fledged nuclear weapon here, where there are a lot of people, and everyone acts only strictly on the orders of the authorities. Deviation from the regulations is unlikely, so we will observe the movement between the central storage bases, repair and technical bases, the issuance to the troops and the movement of special trains. We should observe algorithms that have been known since the Cold War, and signs of the preparation of weapons for use, ”the nuclear physicist notes.
Earlier, another expert on nuclear missiles, a former employee of the design bureau of the Southern Machine-Building Plant, Alexander Kochetkov, also noted in a conversation with The Insider that the United States and Great Britain would immediately receive information about the possible movement of parts of a nuclear weapon.