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Thursday, 19 February 1987
Page: 234


Senator JESSOP(10.50) —I wish to comment on the safety of nuclear armed ships in port compared with the safety of conventionally armed ships. I have made a few inquiries about this matter and discussed it with ballistic experts. I understand that if a ship is armed with nuclear weapons those weapons are not attached to the trigger mechanism which is required to make that weapon a dangerous ha-zard. The trigger mechanism is not attached until the extremely unlikely event of that particular weapon being used in active warfare. On the other hand, the conventionally armed ship is far more hazardous because, when exposed to fire or accidental explosion, those weapons can explode. But that is not so with respect to nuclear armed ships. I thought that I would make that comment because some of the arguments used on this topic are somewhat fallacious when confronted with advice from ballistic experts.