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

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

Jacob Miller - July 11, 2017

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.

26 Photographs of the Frightening Strength of Nuclear Weapons from the Bikini Atoll Tests
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
26 Photographs of the Frightening Strength of Nuclear Weapons from the Bikini Atoll Tests
Baker Test. mymodernnet
26 Photographs of the Frightening Strength of Nuclear Weapons from the Bikini Atoll Tests
Right after detonation. mymodernnet
26 Photographs of the Frightening Strength of Nuclear Weapons from the Bikini Atoll Tests
The blast radius. Notice the battle ships as a size comparison. mymodernmet
26 Photographs of the Frightening Strength of Nuclear Weapons from the Bikini Atoll Tests
Soldiers look on at the blast. mymodernmet
26 Photographs of the Frightening Strength of Nuclear Weapons from the Bikini Atoll Tests
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
26 Photographs of the Frightening Strength of Nuclear Weapons from the Bikini Atoll Tests
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
26 Photographs of the Frightening Strength of Nuclear Weapons from the Bikini Atoll Tests
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
26 Photographs of the Frightening Strength of Nuclear Weapons from the Bikini Atoll Tests
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
26 Photographs of the Frightening Strength of Nuclear Weapons from the Bikini Atoll Tests
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
26 Photographs of the Frightening Strength of Nuclear Weapons from the Bikini Atoll Tests
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
26 Photographs of the Frightening Strength of Nuclear Weapons from the Bikini Atoll Tests
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
26 Photographs of the Frightening Strength of Nuclear Weapons from the Bikini Atoll Tests
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

26 Photographs of the Frightening Strength of Nuclear Weapons from the Bikini Atoll Tests
USS Saratoga sinking after Operation Crossroads. wikiwand
26 Photographs of the Frightening Strength of Nuclear Weapons from the Bikini Atoll Tests
View of the USS Independence’s port quarter, showing severe blast damage caused by the Able Day atomic bomb air burst over Bikini Atoll on 1 July 1946. wikiwand
26 Photographs of the Frightening Strength of Nuclear Weapons from the Bikini Atoll Tests
Bakini Atoll test. strangevehicles
26 Photographs of the Frightening Strength of Nuclear Weapons from the Bikini Atoll Tests
A sheep under study after the Operation Crossroads nuclear weapons tests at Bikini Atoll. ABC
26 Photographs of the Frightening Strength of Nuclear Weapons from the Bikini Atoll Tests
Official observer and civilian photographer of Opperation Crossroads Fritz Goro. Time
26 Photographs of the Frightening Strength of Nuclear Weapons from the Bikini Atoll Tests
A Navy decontamination center, 1946. Fritz Goro—Time & Life Pictures:Getty Images
26 Photographs of the Frightening Strength of Nuclear Weapons from the Bikini Atoll Tests
American sailors shield their eyes during a nuclear test at Bikini Atoll, July 1946. Time
26 Photographs of the Frightening Strength of Nuclear Weapons from the Bikini Atoll Tests
Feeding a goat used as a test animal during Operation Crossroads in July 1946. Fritz Goro—Time & Life Pictures:Getty Images
26 Photographs of the Frightening Strength of Nuclear Weapons from the Bikini Atoll Tests
Gathering up dead birds on a south pacific island for radiation testing, 1946. Time
26 Photographs of the Frightening Strength of Nuclear Weapons from the Bikini Atoll Tests
Monitoring the beach and beach craft on a South Pacific island during radiation testing, 1946. Fritz Goro—Time & Life Pictures:Getty Images
26 Photographs of the Frightening Strength of Nuclear Weapons from the Bikini Atoll Tests
The USS Crittendon, damaged during nuclear testing in the Pacific, July 1946. Fritz Goro—Time & Life Pictures:Getty Images
26 Photographs of the Frightening Strength of Nuclear Weapons from the Bikini Atoll Tests
Navy workers cross the boundary line on the floor from contaminated to clean after scrubbing off radioactive dirt and debris. Fritz Goro—Time & Life Pictures:Getty Images

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