Ever since her commissioning in 1982, the nuclear submarineUSS Houston
has been spreading Space City's good name across the oceans. Why, even its hull number -- 713 -- is as Houston as you can get.
The area-code connection isn't the only tres-Houston thing connected with the ship, though.
It has now become famous for something Houstonians are very familiar with -- accidental leaks of noxious materials.
U.S. Navy officials are dealing with the embarrassment of informing allies that, well...the good ol' Houston developed a nuclear leak, one that may have affected any ports it visited, not to mention any parts of the Pacific Ocean it transited.
Even China's People's Daily has gotten in on the act, reporting that Houston's mishap "shows that 'the safety myth the U.S. Navy (equipped with nuclear-powered submarines) has been boasting has collapsed,' says a noted Japanese commentator on world affairs."
Dangerous leaks of dangerous materials: Maybe there's a reason they called the ship the Houston.
-- Richard Connelly
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