The U.S. Air Force will remove a nuclear missile from an underground silo in western North Dakota because snowmelt from thawing ice has seeped into the facility, the Associated Press reports.
Minot Air Force Base spokeswoman Laurie Arellano told the wire service that it’d pose “no danger to the public.” As a precaution, however, the device would be “tested,” she added.
The base is the command post for the 165 Minuteman III land-based intercontinental missiles, stored in vertical cylinders, in 150 sites in the area.
Record seasonal snowfall, together with heavy flooding in the state since March, this year, put at risk a lot of the sites. 41 of these are in flood-prone areas with poor drainage.
Though earlier this month, Air Force crew had barricaded them with sandbags and earthen dikes to protect them against damage from possible runoff, water still penetrated the “protective berm” of the said silo.
The missile will be disassembled in stages and taken to the base for inspection, Arellano said.