You’ve Probably Passed A Nuclear Weapon On I-90
If you've spent much time traveling the interstate highways in Washington State, you've probably passed or driven next to a nuclear warhead that's rolling down the road and not even known it.
It's currently estimated that there are over 5,200 U.S.-owned nukes bunkered in secret locations around the world, but did you know that not all of them stay in the same place?
Every year, hundreds of these warheads - each of which is capable of leveling a major city to dust and instantly killing millions of people upon impact - are moved from clandestine here to cloak-and-dagger there for routine maintenance.
And how might you ask are these 500+ kiloton killers taken from place to place?
Why, in a semi truck on the interstate, of course.
Now, in the event this little factoid might worry you just a bit, you should sleep somewhat easier knowing that these aren't your standard issue big rigs that also carry boxes of Cap'n Crunch and bath bombs to your local Fred Meyer or Target store. Nope! These babies are just like something straight out of a James Bond film for the ridiculously paranoid...and rightfully so!
Known as USSTs (United States Secure Transporters) or SGTs (Safeguards Transporter), these specially- and highly-modified tractor trailers include a wealth of high-tech equipment that all comes standard with the job of making certain its volatile and dangerous cargo doesn't fall into the wrong hands or accidentally go boom.
Every USST is outfitted with a 12-inch-thick steel trailer that's both fireproof and bullet resistant; tires which are specially designed to prevent flats and blowouts; locking rear axles to prevent theft; and quick-expanding foam to ensure its load (or payload in this case) doesn't detonate in the event of a rollover.
In addition to these known safeguards, USSTs are also rumored to possess the ability to electrocute anyone who attempts to access them without permission, and are armed with a robotic gun turret in the rear should anyone who is unauthorized manage to get onboard.
And the Inspector Gadget-inspired list of extras doesn't end there!
When a USST hits the road, it's also accompanied by at least two unmarked SUVs occupied by specially-trained agents who are heavily armed, as well as a surveillance death drone flying overhead.
Of course, these super security semis aren't easy to spot either, since all of them are said to be unmarked with plain-clothes drivers who also bear no government or military insignias.
Not much else is known about these 18-wheelers that make you hope and pray that the movie Maximum Overdrive never actually happens, but it's safe to say that if you should see a plain-looking semi flanked by two equally-plain-looking SUVs, all with government plates, you should probably move over and yield the right-of-way.
And it's fair to say that a lengthy stop at a roadside café for lots of coffee and at least three slices of pie might also be in order.