26 Photographs of the Frightening Strength of Nuclear Weapons from the Bikini Atoll Tests

US Nuclear Weapons Test at Bikini Atoll, Pacific Ocean. imgur

The nuclear testing at Bikini Atoll was a series of 23 nuclear detonations by the United State between 1946 and 1958 on the reef, on the water, in the water, and in the air.

The first series of tests in July, 1946, was code named Operation Crossroads. This test series included an explosion an aerial denotation at 520 feet. The second detonation, Baker, was an underwater explosion. The Baker test produced a Wilson cloud, a large condensation cloud produced by the blast.

The second series of tests occurred in 1954 was codenamed Operation Castle. The first detonation, Castle Bravo, was intended to yield 6 megatons (Mt) but produced 15 Mt and was about 1,000 times more powerful than the atomic bombs dropped on Japan. Because of Castle Bravo’s surprisingly yield, there was a significant accidental radiological contamination. The fallout spread across the islands of Rongelap, Rongerik and Utrik. Many of the islanders developed acute radiation syndrome. The debris also reached a Japanese fishing boat leading to the death of one of the fisherman. The fallout continued to spread trace amounts of radioactive material as far as Australia, India, Japan, parts of the United States and Europe.

The military had removed the native Bikini residents, telling them that they would be able to return to the island after the tests. Most of the residents were moved to Rongerik Atoll and later to Kili Island. After these tests and continued testing, the islands proved to be unsuitable to sustain life after the tests, resulting in famine and requiring the residents to receive aid. The United States government paid the native islanders and their descendants $125 million in damages. Radiation levels remain higher than the recommended safe levels for habitation.

1) According to the Navy’s caption, “Natives going aboard LCM [Landing craft mechanized].” According to the photo this event was in July 1946 but it was probably in late February or early March. NARA
Baker Test. mymodernnet
Right after detonation. mymodernnet
The blast radius. Notice the battle ships as a size comparison. mymodernmet
Soldiers look on at the blast. mymodernmet
Sailors watch the ‘Able Test’ burst miles out to sea from the deck of the support ship USS Fall River on 1 July 1946. Daily Mail
This image reveals damage to the vessel following these tests. It was sunk near the Farallon Islands on 26 January 1951 loaded with 55-gallon drums of radioactive waste. Daily Mail
US nuclear weapon tests known as Operation Crossroads in 1946, a 23-kilotun nuke called Baker was blasted at about 90 feet underwater at Bikini Atoll. mymodernmet
Aerial view of the Able test, a 23 kilotons of TNT (96 terajoules) device detonated on July 1, 1946 at an altitude of 520 feet. wikiwand
1) The size of the Castle Bravo test on 1 March 1954 far exceeded expectations, causing widespread radioactive contamination. The fallout spread traces of radioactive material as far as Australia, India and Japan, and even the United States and parts of Europe. Though organized as a secret test, Castle Bravo quickly became an international incident, prompting calls for a ban on the atmospheric testing of thermonuclear devices. wikiwand
Photographers and observers on the bridge of the USS Mt. McKinley watch a huge cloud mushroom over Bikini atoll in the Marshall Islands July 1, 1946 following an atomic test blast, part of the U.S. Military’s Operation Crossroads. AP
Previously declassified, these images from the files of Hunters Point Shipyard document USS Independence’s condition and how access was controlled to the ship while moored there. Daily Mail
The head of one of the crew members of Daigo Fukuryū Maru, showing radiation burns caused by fallout that collected in his hair. Dated on 7 April 1954, 38 days after the nuclear test. wikiwand
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