Bravo bikini test
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 Marshall Islands consist of two chains of 29 coral atolls, and are located north of the equator, between Hawaii and Australia. On each atoll there are a number of islands. The Marshallese have lived there for thousands of years. In , Japan captured the Marshall Islands and built military bases.
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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.
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. The explosion resulted in the radioactive contamination of the inhabitants of nearby atolls, U.