Amarillo Once Had America’s Most Powerful Bomb — 50 Of Them!
We all know that we have Pantex in our backyard. It's located between Amarillo and Panhandle.
What does Pantex do?
According to the Pantex website, they are the primary assembly, disassembly, retrofit, and life-extension center for nuclear weapons.
To put it into simple terms, nuclear bombs come to the facility and Pantex takes them apart so they are not functional bombs anymore.
However, they do way more out at the plant than anyone will ever know, but it is a government facility that facilitates the dismantlement of nuclear bombs.
What is the oldest nuclear weapon in the U.S.?
The B53 Thermonuclear Bomb is the oldest lived weapon in the US. It was put in commission in 1962. It was a cold war creation. This nuclear bomb yielded 9 megatons.
- a unit of explosive power chiefly used for nuclear weapons, equivalent to one million tons of TNT."H-bombs of fifteen megatons each"
They were the most powerful weapon in the U.S. arsenal. This bomb was what they called a Bunker Buster. This was designed to penetrate hardened targets or targets buried deep underground.
Has this bomb been retired?
The B53 was retired in 1986, but the U.S. brought back 50 of those particular nuclear weapons in 1988 with certain modifications. They were once again retired in 1997 and were supposed to be immediately disassembled, but due to a lack of resources at the time they were not. Pantex finally disassembled the 50 B53s in 2010. Special training and special tools were developed to be able to disassemble this particular weapon.