|From:||Lenny Siegel <email@example.com>|
|Date:||Mon, 18 Dec 2017 11:35:35 -0800 (PST)|
|Subject:||[CPEO-MEF] MUNITIONS: "The explosive compound RDX helped make America a superpower. Now, it’s poisoning the nation’s water and soil."|
THE BOMB THAT WENT OFF TWICE The explosive compound RDX helped make America a superpower. Now, it’s poisoning the nation’s water and soil. by Abrahm Lustgarten ProPublica December 18, 2017 IT WAS A SECRET wartime project, with a code name and an urgent mission: develop a more powerful bomb, one that could be mass produced in time to fend off the German forces ravaging Europe. It was 1940. British chemists toiled with a tripod-shaped bond of nitrogen and oxygen molecules linked by carbon and hydrogen they referred to as “research department explosive” — a substance one and a half times as powerful as TNT, but so delicate it had to be mixed with beeswax to be stable and pliable enough to fit into warheads. Even then, it wasn’t good enough. Only 70 tons could be made in a week. Defeating the Nazis would require more. In 1941, American chemists accomplished what their British counterparts could not. John Sheehan and Werner Bachman, University of Michigan researchers, worked with a team of government scientists to invent a new chemical process that made it possible to manufacture what Sheehan described as “super-explosives.” Best, enormous quantities could be churned out quickly — 500 tons a day, an assembly line for destructive might. The Americans called the new formula RDX, and it transformed weapons overnight. RDX enabled the bazooka — the world’s first hand-held anti-tank rocket launcher — to pierce armor. RDX was packed into 10,000-pound underwater bombs dropped by British airplanes to blow up German river dams and disrupt the country’s hydropower in the critical Dambuster campaign. It was even surreptitiously soaked into firewood that would later explode in the furnaces of German locomotives. … For the entire article, see https://features.propublica.org/bombs-in-our-backyard/military-pollution-rdx-bombs-holston-cornhusker/ -- Lenny Siegel Executive Director Center for Public Environmental Oversight a project of the Pacific Studies Center P.O. Box 998, Mountain View, CA 94042 Voice/Fax: 650/961-8918 <firstname.lastname@example.org> http://www.cpeo.org _______________________________________________ Military mailing list Military@lists.cpeo.org http://lists.cpeo.org/listinfo.cgi/military-cpeo.org
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