B-52 Bomber Nuclear Fire was Almost Chernobyl

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These photos show a B-52 Stratofortress bomber in flames as a firefighter team races against the clock. Inside its burning hulk were nuclear weapons that threatened to ignite.

The world was at the brink of a new nuclear disaster that reportedly could have been much worse than the accident at Chernobyl.

The incident took place when the US Air Force bomber was sitting on the runway fueled and ready to go in a high-alert status at the Grand Forks Air Force Base in North Dakota. The B-52 caught fire during an engine start while loaded with eight nuclear AGM-69A Short Range Attack Missiles in addition to four B28 nuclear gravity bombs.

At the time, the US Air Force did everything in its power to cover up the story and to mitigate public panic. Yet, the photos of firefighters are undeniable, and the situation was incredibly perilous. It was only years later that the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory finally admitted that the incident could have led to a major catastrophe.
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