In this episode, we leave our boring jobs and become Jason Borne Bureaucrats, because we watch the 1997 action-thriller, The Peacemaker. How easy is it to steal a Russian nuclear warhead? What the heck does SS-18 mean? Is it really a good idea to try and stab a plutonium core and smash it with a gun? We answer these questions and more.
Apologies for the audio issues in this episode. We went mobile from our usual podcast studio and we think some of the wires got frayed in the process. The problem was identified and vaporized. There is some great content in this one so hopefully everyone will enjoy it.
Before we jump in the pool to wash off our radioactive debris, we recommend reading Leslie and Andrew Cockburn's One Point Safe (Doubleday, 1997) and John McPhee's The Curve of Binding Energy: A Journey into the Awesome and Alarming World of Theodore B. Taylor (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1994). And have fun on NukeMap (http://nuclearsecrecy.com/nukemap/)!
Other sources to check out include:
-Ben Travers, "Is 'The Peacemaker' George Clooney's Calamity? Not Quite," PopMatters, September 26, 2010 (http://www.popmatters.com/review/131263-the-peacemaker/)
-Janet Maslin, "The Cold War Is Back, Nuclear Bombs and All," New York Times, September 26, 1997 (http://www.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9E05E4DA1F3BF935A1575AC0A961958260)
-Various press clippings on Jessica Stern's website (https://jessicasternbooks.com/about/the-peacemaker/)
-Props from the movie (http://www.golive.com.au/action/action-films-1990s/the-peacemaker/nuclear-bomb-prop-from-the-peacemaker)
-ABC News, "Secret Government Team Fights to Negate Nuclear Threat," June 11, 2005, (http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/LooseNukes/story?id=1200558&page=1)
-Mirage Gold - Official After Action Report (http://nsarchive.gwu.edu/nukevault/ebb2, February 1995, 67/16.pdf)
-Robert Windrem, "Spy Satellites Enter a New Dimension," NBC News, August 8, 1998
-Federation of American Scientists, "R-36M / SS-18 SATAN," (http://fas.org/nuke/guide/russia/icbm/r-36m.htm)
-Pavel Podvig, "The Window of Vulnerability That Wasn’t," Russian Forces Blog, June 27, 2008
-Raphael Minder, "Even Without Detonation, 4 Hydrogen Bombs From ’66 Scar Spanish Village," New York Times, June 20, 2016
We aim to have at least one new episode every month. Let us know what you think about the podcast and any ideas you may have about future episodes and guests by reaching out at on Twitter @NuclearPodcast, Facebook.com/SuperCriticalPodcast, SuperCriticalPodcast@gmail.com, or www.youtube.com/channel/UCLkSAcA8FdC0yyLjxVhjWmw.