Nuclear weapons safety: The case of Trident

John R. Harvey, Stefan Michalowski, "Nuclear weapons safety: The case of Trident," Science & Global Security, 4, no. 3, (1994): 261-337.
An accidental detonation or ignition of propellant in a Trident missile, or of explosive material in one of the warheads, could lead to dispersal of toxic plutonium into a populated area. We examine the details of Trident nuclear weapons safety and assess the feasibility, cost and consequences of safety-enhancing modifications to the missiles and warheads. We find that the operational impacts of such modifications would be minor, especially if the number of warheads per missile is decreased as a result of START II. Several billion dollars, and a small number of nuclear tests, would be needed to enhance safety for Trident.

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