Nuclear detonators sent to Taiwan were from 1962

Here's a gem from William Gurstelle's Notes from the Technology Underground blog. After newspapers reported that the U.S. military accidentally sent four nuclear-missile detonators to Taiwan in 2006 without until just now realizing it, Gurstelle looked into the history of the Mark 12 missile and found out it was retired in 1962.


The triggers were for Mark -12 nuclear weapons. The Mark 12, nicknamed "Brock" by those who have pet names for atomic bombs, hasn't been part of the nuclear arsenal since 1962. These things have been outdated for 46 years. I think (this is no joke) that a Mark-12 trigger uses vacuum tubes.

So, my question is, why are we keeping so much junk in our nuclear attics? Even my mom finally cleared out her basement (throwing away my collection of vintage Archie comics, but that's another issue.)

No doubt there are still a thousand crates of horse liniment for the cavalry or a million sticks of slowmatch for flintlock rifles piled next to the Mark-12 triggers as well.