US Nuclear Weapons, Past and Future

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During the Cold War, atomic bombs fell out of the sky over North Carolina. A missile tipped with a hydrogen bomb blew up in Arkansas. Most Americans never knew about 700 "significant" incidents that could have produced historic catastrophes — here in the US. We talk with investigative reporter Eric Schlosser, who spent five years searching declassified documents to discover how often dumb luck made the difference.

Two men involved in the Damascus incident were interviewed for The Missileers, an episode of UnFictional, a program produced and broadcast here at KCRW radio in Santa Monica. The first voice is that of Greg Devlin, a Titan II liquid fuel systems maintenance specialist. The next is Ronald Gray, who was in charge of quality control at McConnell Air Force base and asked to investigate two days after the Damascus explosion.

Listen to the full story of The Missileers.



  • Eric Schlosser - investigative reporter and author
  • Steven Pifer - Former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine (1998 - 2000); a William J. Perry fellow, Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University; senior fellow at the Brookings Institution - @steven_pifer


Warren Olney