#Bikini #BikiniAtoll #fallout #ColdWar
The United States was in a Cold War Nuclear arms race with the Soviet Union to build bigger and better bombs. The next series of tests over Bikini Atoll was code named Operation Castle. The first test of that series was Castle Bravo, a new design utilizing a dry fuel thermonuclear hydrogen bomb. It was detonated at dawn on March 1, 1954.
The 15 megaton nuclear explosion far exceeded the expected yield of 4 to 8 megatons (6Mt predicted), and was about 1,000 times more powerful than each of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II. The nuclear weapon was the most powerful device ever detonated by the United States (and just under one-third the energy of the Tsar Bomba, the largest ever tested). The scientists and military authorities were shocked by the size of the explosion and many of the instruments they had put in place to evaluate the effectiveness of the device were destroyed.
The Bravo fallout plume spread dangerous levels of radiation over an area over 100 miles (160 km) long, including inhabited islands. The contour lines show the cumulative radiation dose in roentgens (R) for the first 96 hours after the test.
Map showing points (X) where contaminated fish were caught or where the sea was found to be excessively radioactive.
B = original "danger zone" around Bikini announced by the U.S. government.
W = "danger zone" extended later.
xF = position of the Lucky Dragon fishing boat.
NE, EC, and SE are equatorial currents.
Read also: A Short History of the People of Bikini Atoll