Castle bravo bikini
The blast spread radioactive fallout across a number of Pacific atolls and left a devastating legacy. The detonation of the Bravo shot at Bikini Atoll was estimated to have been 1, times as powerful as the bomb dropped on Hiroshima and was the largest nuclear device ever tested by the United States. It was also its worst nuclear disaster. In the aftermath of the explosion, inhabitants of the neighbouring atolls, US servicemen and a passing boat of Japanese fishermen were exposed to radioactive fallout. Initially wanting to test the effects of its newly developed weapons on naval vessels, it sought a remote, sheltered location with stable weather that was in reach of its heavy air bases. The low-lying archipelago of five islands and 29 atolls in the North Pacific met these requirements.
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March 1 marks the 60th anniversary of Castle Bravo, the largest thermonuclear device ever detonated by the United States. The test was part of a larger operation for testing high-yield nuclear devices, known as Operation Castle, conducted by the U. Atomic Energy Commission and Department of Defense. While the test advanced thermonuclear weapons design, miscalculations about the yield resulted in the largest U. The United States tested its first thermonuclear device, known as Ivy Mike, two years earlier in , also in the Marshall Islands. In the wake of the Ivy Mike test, U.
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The Bravo shot was the first test of Operation Castle , a series of thermonuclear tests. The explosion was more than two and a half times greater than expected and caused far higher levels of fallout and damage than scientists had predicted. The explosion yielded 15 megatons of TNT and released large quantities of radioactive debris into the atmosphere that fell over 7, square miles.
Fourteen months later, on March 1, , a deliverable hydrogen bomb using solid lithium deuteride was tested by the United States on Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands. By missing an important fusion reaction, the scientists had grossly underestimated the size of the explosion. Within seconds the fireball was nearly 3 miles in diameter. However, a total of people were living on the atolls of Rongelap and Utirik, and miles east of Bikini, respectively. The residents of Rongelap were exposed to as much as rems of radiation.