Nuclear Issues

 

 

 

Quick links (click to jump)

The History of the RMI's Bilateral Relationship with the US

Nuclear Testing in the RMI: A Chronology of Events

Selected Bibliography

 

List of Nuclear Tests in the RMI

Magnitude of Nuclear Tests

 

A Permanent Exhibit

"The Republic of the Marshall Islands and the United States: A Strategic Partnership"

The History of the RMI's Bilateral Relationship with the United States

Enter Exhibit Here

Exhibit photographs courtesy of:
United Nations
U.S. National Archives
Mr. Jonathan Weisgall
Brookhaven National Laboratory
U.S. Department of Energy
Holly Barker

 

 

Nuclear Testing in the Marshall Islands: A Chronology of Events
From: Nuclear Testing in the Marshall Islands: A Brief History . Majuro: Micronitor News and Printing Company, August 1996.

Relocation Map
Movement of Marshallese from Nuclear Testing

1946

March  - The U.S. Navy evacuates 167 Bikini Islanders to Rongerik Atoll, 125 miles to the east, to make way for the first post World War II nuclear weapons tests.

May - As a safety measure, islanders from Enewetak, Rongelap and Wotho atolls are relocated for the duration of Operation Crossroads. July Operation Crossroads is launched with "Able" and "Baker" nuclear tests at Bikini. Both are Hiroshima-size atomic tests. "Baker", an underwater test, contaminates target fleet of World War II ships in Bikini's lagoon.

1947

July - The Marshall Islands and the rest of Micronesia became a United Nations strategic Trust Territory administered by the United States. Among other obligations, the U.S. undertakes to "protect the inhabitants against the loss of their lands and resources." December Enewetak Atoll is selected for the second series of U.S. nuclear tests, and the Enewetak people are quickly moved to Ujelang Atoll. In 1947, the Marshall Islands becomes a United Nations strategic Trust Territory administered by the United States. Among other obligations, the U.S. undertakes to "protect the inhabitants against the loss of their lands and resources."

1948

March - On the verge of starvation, the Bikinians are taken off Rongerik Atoll and moved to Kwajalein, where they stay for six months while a new home is found for them. April Operation Sandstone begins at Enewetak and includes three atomic tests. The Bikini community moves to southern Kill, a single island with no protected lagoon or anchorage.

1951

April - Operation Greenhouse starts at Enewetak. Four atomic tests are conducted.

1952

November - Operation Ivy opens at Enewetak and includes the first test of a hydrogen device. The Mike test vaporizes one island and is estimated at 10.4 megatons, or some 750 times larger than the Hiroshima bomb.

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1954

January - Preparations commence at Bikini Atoll for Operation Castle, to test a series of megaton range weapons, including America's first deliverable hydrogen bomb.

February 28 - 6 p.m. On the eve of the Bravo test, weather reports indicate that atmospheric "conditions were getting less favorable." At midnight, just seven hours from the shot, the weather report reports there are "less favorable winds at 10,000 to 25,000-foot levels." Winds at 20,000 feet "were headed for Rongelap to the east."

March 1 - Bikini's weather outlook downgraded to "unfavorable" and Joint Task Force 7 directs several ships to move 20 miles to the south to remove them from the expected fallout zone. Despite weather reports showing that winds are blowing in the direction of inhabited islands, the March 1 Bravo hydrogen bomb test is detonated at Bikini. At 15 megatons, it is 1,000 times the strength of the Hiroshima bomb. Within hours a gritty, white ash is enveloping islanders on Rongelap and Ailinginae Atolls. A few hours later, American weathermen are exposed to the snowstorm of fallout on Rongerik, and still later the people of Utrik and other islands experience the fallout "mist". Those exposed experience nausea, vomiting and itching skin and eyes. March 3 Rongelap islanders are evacuated 48 hours later, and Utrik is evacuated 72 hours after Bravo. Both groups are taken to Kwajalein for observation. Skin burns on the heavily exposed people begin to develop, and later their hair falls out. The U.S. Atomic Energy Commission issues a statement to the press calling Bravo a "routine atomic test", and stating that some Americans and Marshallese were "unexpectedly exposed to some radioactivity. There were no burns. All were reported well."

March 7 - Project 4.1, "Study of Response of Human Beings Exposed to Significant Beta and Gamma Radiation due to Fallout from High Yield Weapons," establishes a secret medical group to monitor and evaluate the Rongelap and Utrik people.

April - A Project 4.1 memo recommends that the exposed Rongelap people should have "no exposure for (the) rest of (their) natural lives." April 29 Department of Defense report states that the "only other populated atoll which received fallout of any consequence at all was Ailuk...It was calculated that a dose...would reach approximately 20 roentgens. Balancing the effort required to move the 400 inhabitants against the fact that such a dose would not be a medical problem it was decided not to evacuate the atoll."

May - Utrik Islanders allowed to return home because, according to U.S. officials, "Their island was only slightly contaminated and considered safe for habitation."

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1956

May - Operation Redwing begins at Enewetak and Bikini. A total of 17 nuclear tests, including several hydrogen bombs, are detonated. November U.S. officials give the Enewetak Islanders living on Ujelang $25,000 cash and a $150,000 trust fund (earning 3 1/3 percent annually) as compensation. Bikini Islanders living on Kili are given $25,000 cash and a $300,000 trust fund (yielding about $15 per person annually). Throughout the  1950s, both the Bikinians and Enewetakese face food shortages and repeated bouts of near starvation, as their "temporary" islands prove difficult and inhospitable.

1957

July - Rongelap is declared safe for rehabitation "in spite of slight lingering radiation." The Rongelap people, who have been living temporarily in Ejit Island, Majuro, return to Rongelap. Brookhaven National Laboratory scientists report about Rongelap: "Even though the radioactive contamination of Rongelap Island is considered perfectly safe for human habitation, the levels of activity are higher than those found in other inhabited locations in the world. The habitation of these people on the island will afford most valuable ecological radiation data on human beings."

1958

May - Operation Hardtack begins at Enewetak and Bikini, with 32 tests, including several hydrogen bombs. August The last nuclear detonation in the Marshall Islands takes place on August 18, bringing to 66 the total of nuclear weapons tests at Bikini and Enewetak.

1963

The first thyroid tumors begin appearing among the Rongelap people exposed to the Bravo test in 1954. Also, a higher than normal incidence of growth retardation among young Rongelap Islanders is noted by U.S. doctors.

1966

January - The U.S. Congress approves an exgratia payment of $950,000 (about $11,000 per capita) to the exposed Rongelap people for injuries resulting from their exposure in 1954.

1969

October - Bikini Atoll is declared safe for rehabitation by U.S. officials. "There's virtually no radiation left and we can find no discernible effect on either plant or animal life," says the AEC.

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1972

October - Because it is not satisfied with information provided by the AEC, the Bikini Council votes not to return to Bikini as a community, but says it will not prevent individuals from returning. Several Bikini families move back to Bikini into newly built homes.

November - John Anjain's son, Lekoj, who was one year old when exposed to fallout on Rongelap in 1954, dies of leukemia at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland.

1973

AEC draft report, not publicly released, concludes that Bravo fallout may have contaminated as many as 18 atolls and islands, including Kwajalein and Majuro.

1975

June - During regular monitoring at Bikini, radiological tests show "higher levels of radioactivity than originally thought" and it "appears to be hotter or questionable as to safety," states a Department of Interior official.

August - AEC surveys suggest some Bikini ground wells are too radioactive for safe use, and that the consumption of pandanus, breadfruit and coconut crabs needs to be prohibited.

October - The Bikinians file suit in U.S. federal court demanding a complete scientific survey of Bikini and other northern Marshall Islands be conducted.

1976

July - The U.S. Congress approves $20 million and military logistic support for a nuclear cleanup of Enewetak Atoll. A Brookhaven National Laboratory report on Rongelap shows that 20 of 29, or 69 percent of the Rongelap children who were under 10 years old in 1954 have developed thyroid tumors. The people of Utrik, whose original exposure in 1954 of 14 rads of radiation was less than one-twelfth that of Rongelap, suddenly show a higher rate of thyroid cancer than the Rongelap people, indicating the long latency period before health problems develop from low level radiation exposure.

1977

May - The nuclear cleanup at Enewetak Atoll begins. About 700 U.S. Army personnel carry out the cleanup's first phase, which includes scraping and collecting 100,000 cubic yards of radioactive soil and debris, and 125,000 cubic yards of uncontaminated debris and dumping it in a bomb crater on Runit Island to be sealed with a cap of cement.

June - A Department of Energy study reports: "All living patterns involving Bikini Island exceed Federal (radiation) guidelines for 30 year population doses." About 100 Bikinians continue living on Bikini. The U.S. Congress approves about $1 million in compensation for Rongelap and Utrik ($100,000 each goes to the Rongelap, Utrik and Bikini for building community facilities; $1,000 each to the 157 exposed Utrik people; and from $25,000 for people with thyroid tumors to Q00,000 for people the families of those who have died).

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1978

May - Interior Department officials describe the 75 percent increase in radioactive cesium found in the Bikini people as "incredible." Plans are announced to move the people within 90 days.

August - A Department of Energy survey of the northern Marshall Islands reveals that in addition to Bikini, Enewetak, Rongelap and Utrik, 10 other atolls or islands "received intermediate range fallout from one or more of the megaton range tests." These included inhabited atolls and islands of Ailuk, Likiep, Mejit, Ujelang and Wotho.

September - The 139 people living on Bikini Atoll are evacuated by U.S. officials. The U.S. government funds a $6 million trust for the Bikini people.

1980

March - The U.S. Defense Nuclear Agency announces that the Enewetak nuclear cleanup is completed. The estimated cost of the cleanup and rehabilitation was $218 million. Enewetak Islanders begin returning home to the southern islands in the atoll.

1981

The Bikinians file a class action law suit against the U.S. government in U.S. courts seeking $450 million in compensation. Attorneys for the Marshall Islands Atomic Testing Litigation Project file lawsuits on behalf of several thousand Marshall Islanders seeking about $4 billion in compensation from the United States for personal injuries from the nuclear testing.

1982

The U.S. establishes a second trust fund of $20 million for the Bikini people. Later, it will increase this with an additional $90 million appropriation in the late1980s.

1983

Compact of Free Association is approved in a plebiscite by about 60 percent of Marshal Islands voters. The Compact includes a Section 177 trust fund of $150 million that is to provide $270 million in compensation payments over the 15 year life of the Compact (Bikini $75 million; Enewetak $48; Rongelap $37 million; Utrik $22 million; Nuclear Claims Tribunal $45 million; $2 million annually for medical care for the "four atolls" 53 million for a nationwide radiological survey; etc.).

1985

March - In a statement delivered to Rep John Seiberling, chairman of the subcommittee on public lands and national parks, Dr. Thomas Hamilton states: "I have performed examinations on over 7,000 people from the northern atolls and from three southern atolls...There are several northern atolls in which the prevalence rates of thyroid neoplasia (benign and malignant) are equal to or greater than those observed by Brookhaven on Utirik Atoll where the radiation dose is known."

May - Rongelap people evacuate their atoll, moving to Mejatto, a small island in the northwestern section of Kwajalein Atoll. Rongelap leaders say they fear that continued residence on Rongelap will expose them to dangerous levels of radiation.

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1986

The U.S. Congress approves the Compact of Free Association. The Compact includes an espousal provision, prohibiting Marshall Islanders from seeking future legal redress in U.S. courts and dismissing all current court cases in exchange for a $150 million compensation trust fund. October The Compact between America and the Marshall Islands goes into effect.

1991

August - The Nuclear Claims Tribunal approves its first compensation awards, based on a list of health conditions presumed to be caused by radiation, and therefore eligible for compensation. Because of concerns that the $45 million available may not be adequate to pay all claims, the Tribunal limits initial payments to 25 percent of the total awards.

1994

January - U.S. Rep. George Miller writes to President Bill Clinton: "Some Rongelapese have said they believe they were used as 'guinea pigs' to further U.S. understanding of the effects of radiation on humans. In light of recent disclosures regarding actual radiation experimentation in the United States during this period, that possibility cannot be ignored." He also comments on an ongoing thyroid study in the Marshalls. "The findings of the thyroid survey are disturbing. The Committee has been informed that even if only 50 percent of the survey results are verified...the incidence rate is still significantly higher, by a factor of 100, than the rate of thyroid cancer found anywhere else in the world." The U.S. Department of Energy begins releasing thousands of previously classified nuclear test era documents, many of which confirm the wider extent of the fallout contamination in the Marshall Islands.

July - U.S. Representatives George Miller and Ron de Lugo write to Dr. Ruth Faden, chairperson of the Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments: "...There is no doubt that the AEC intentionally returned (Marshallese) to islands which it considered to be "by far the most contaminated places in the world,' but which it told the people were safe. Nor is there any doubt that the AEC, through the Brookhaven National Laboratory, then planned and conducted test after test on these people to study their bodies' reaction to life in that contaminated environment. "

December - A five-year study of 432 islands in the Marshall Islands shows that 15 atolls and single islands -almost half of this nation were dusted by radioactive fallout from the U.S. nuclear weapons tests of the 1950s. However, the Nationwide Radiological Survey -funded by the U.S. and conducted by the Marshall Islands government -states that with the exception of islands in Bikini, Enewetak, Rongelap and Rongerik, "the amount of radioactivity remaining in the environment has diminished to levels that are not of concern." Paul C. Warnke, formerly the chief nuclear arms negotiator for the U.S. who held other high level positions for the State Department, states his support for additional compensation, observing that Marshall Islands negotiators of the Compact were unaware of the magnitude of radiation problems in the Marshall Islands when they negotiated compensation levels with the United States.

1995

February - Marshall Islands officials testify before President Clinton's Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments in Washington, D.C. stating that fallout exposed many more than the four atolls acknowledged by the U.S. government, and that islanders were purposefully resettled on contaminated islands so the U.S. could study the long-term effects of radiation.

October - The U.S. Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments issues its final report, including observations and recommendations on the Marshall Islands. The report recommends that at least two more atolls, Ailuk and Likiep, be included in a medical program, and that the Department of Energy's program "be reviewed to determine if it is appropriate to add to the program populations of other atolls to the south and east of the (Bravo) blast whose inhabitants may have received exposures sufficient to cause excess thyroid abnormalities."

December - The Nuclear Claims Tribunal reports that it has awarded $43.2 million, nearly its entire fund, to 1,196 claimants for 1,311 illnesses.

1996

August - The Nuclear Claims Tribunal projects that it will have $100 million in personal injury claims by 2001, when the Compact ends. Land claims for Bikini, Enewetak and other northern islands are also pending before the Tribunal. The Tribunal's claim claim fund, however, is limited to $45 million.

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Selected Bibliography

Alcalay, Glenn. "Marshall Islands Field Report: Cultural Impact of the U.S. Atomic Testing Program." Anthropology Dept., Livingston College, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, N.J. 08903, April 7, 1981)

Annual Report to the Nitijela, 1995 (Majuro: Nuclear Claims Tribunal).

Barker, Holly M. Bravo for the Marshallese : Regaining Control in a Post-Nuclear, Post-Colonial World (Case Studies on Contemporary Social Issues). (Wadsworth Publishing, 2003).

Committee on Energy and Commerce, U.S. House of Representatives. American Nuclear Guinea Pigs: Three Decades of Radiation Experiments on U.S. Citizens (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1986).

Conard, Robert, M.D. A Twenty Year Review of Medical Findings in a Marshallese Population Accidentally Exposed to Radioactive Fallout (Upton, NY: Brookhaven National Laboratory, 1975).

December 31, 1978. "Announced U.S. Washington, D.C.: Summary of Thyroid Findings in Marshallese 22 Years after Exposure to Radioactive Fallout (Upton, NY: Brookhaven National Laboratory, 1977).

Dobyns, Brown M. M.D. Ph.D. "A Study of the Physiological Function and Histiological Changes in Thyroid Irradiated with Radioactive Iodine. Prepared for the Department of Energy." (Cleveland, Ohio: Case Western Reserve University, September 30, 1981)

Gensuikin (Tapan) Medical Team. "Report on the Investigation of Damage Done by the Bikini Hydrogen Bomb Test to the People of the Marshall Islands." Tokyo, Japan: Revised edition, February 1973).

Hines, Neal O. Proving Ground: An Account of the Radiobiological Studies in the Pacific, 1946-1961 (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1962).

Johnson, Giff. Collision Course at Kwajalein: Marshall Islanders in the Shadow of the Bomb (Honolulu: Pacific Concerns Resource Center, 1984).

Tuda, Tomaki, et al vs. the United States of America: "Petition in the Nature of a Class Action for Just Compensation for Unlawful Takings of Property and for Damages for Breaches of Fiduciary Responsibility." (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Court of Claims, March 16, 1981).

Kiste, Robert C. The Bikinians: A Study in Forced Migration. (Menlo Park, CA: Cummings Publishing Co., 1974).

Kotrady, Konrad M.D. "The Brookhaven Medical Program to Detect Radiation Effects in Marshallese People: A Comparison of the Peoples' vs. the Program's Attitudes." January 1, 1977.

Lawrence Livermore Laboratory. Dose Assessment at Bikini Atoll (UCRL-51879, Pt. 5, prepared for the Department of Energy, Tune 8, 1977).

Marshall Islands Chronology, 1944-1983 (Honolulu: Micronesia Support Committee, 1983).

Muller, Phillip. "Statement of the Government of the Marshall Islands to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee." (Washington, D.C.: June 26, 1996).

Niedenthal, Jack. The People of Bikini: From Exodus to Resettlement (Majuro: Bikini Atoll Local Government, 1996).

Niedenthal, Jack. For the Good of Mankind: A History of the People of Bikini and their Islands (Micronitor/Bravo Publishers, 2001).

The Marshall Islands Journal (Majuro: Micronitor News and Printing Company, 1970-1996).

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Listing of Nuclear Tests in the Marshall Islands: A Chronology of Events

Test # Date Site Type Yield (kt.) Operation Test
1 6/30/46 Bikini Airdrop 21.00 CROSSROADS ABLE
2 7/24/46 Bikini Underwater 21.00 CROSSROADS BAKER
3 4/14/48 Enewetak Tower 37.00 SANDSTONE XRAY
4 4/30/48 Enewetak Tower 49.00 SANDSTONE YOKE
5 5/14/48 Enewetak Tower 18.00 SANDSTONE ZEBRA
6 4/7/51 Enewetak Tower 81.00 GREENHOUSE DOG
7 4/20/51 Enewetak Tower 47.00 GREENHOUSE EASY
8 5/8/51 Enewetak Tower 225.00 GREENHOUSE GEORGE
9 5/24/51 Enewetak Tower 45.50 GREENHOUSE ITEM
10 10/31/52 Enewetak Surface 10,400.00 IVY MIKE
11 11/15/52 Enewetak Air Drop 500.00 IVY KING
12 2/28/54 Bikini Surface 15,000.00 CASTLE BRAVO
13 3/26/54 Bikini Barge 11,000.00 CASTLE ROMEO
14 4/6/54 Bikini Surface 110.00 CASTLE KOON
15 4/25/54 Bikini Barge 6,900.00 CASTLE UNION
16 5/4/54 Bikini Barge 13,500.00 CASTLE YANKEE
17 5/13/54 Enewetak Barge 1,690.00 CASTLE NECTAR
18 5/2/56 Bikini Air Drop 3,800.00 REDWING CHEROKEE
19 5/4/56 Enewetak Surface 40.00 REDWING LACROSSE
20 5/27/56 Bikini Surface 3,500.00 REDWING ZUNI
21 5/27/56 Enewetak Tower 0.19 REDWING YUMA
22 5/30/56 Enewetak Tower 14.90 REDWING ERIE
23 6/6/56 Enewetak Surface 13.70 REDWING SEMINOLE
24 6/11/56 Bikini Barge 365.00 REDWING FLATHEAD
25 6/11/56 Enewetak Tower 8.00 REDWING BLACKFOOT
26 6/13/56 Enewetak Tower 1.49 REDWING KICKAPOO
27 6/16/56 Enewetak Air Drop 1.70 REDWING OSAGE
28 6/21/56 Enewetak Tower 15.20 REDWING INCA
29 6/25/56 Bikini Barge 1,100.00 REDWING DAKOTA
30 7/2/56 Enewetak Tower 360.00 REDWING MOHAWK
31 7/8/56 Enewetak Barge 1,850.00 REDWING APACHE
32 7/10/56 Bikini Barge 4,500.00 REDWING NAVAJO
33 7/20/56 Bikini Barge 5,000.00 REDWING TEWA
34 7/21/56 Enewetak Barge 250.00 REDWING HURON
35 4/28/58 Near Enewetak Balloon 1.70 HARDTACK I YUCCA
36 5/5/58 Enewetak Surface 18.00 HARDTACK I CACTUS
37 5/11/58 Bikini Barge 1,360.00 HARDTACK I FIR
38 5/11/58 Enewetak Barge 81.00 HARDTACK I BUTTERNUT
39 5/12/58 Enewetak Surface 1,370.00 HARDTACK I KOA
40 5/16/58 Enewetak Underwater 9.00 HARDTACK I WAHOO
41 5/20/58 Enewetak Barge 5.90 HARDTACK I HOLLY
42 5/21/58 Bikini Barge 25.10 HARDTACK I NUTMEG
43 5/26/58 Enewetak Barge 330.00 HARDTACK I YELLOWWOOD
44 5/26/58 Enewetak Barge 57.00 HARDTACK I MAGNOLIA
45 5/30/58 Enewetak Barge 11.60 HARDTACK I TOBACCO
46 5/31/58 Bikini Barge 92.00 HARDTACK I SYCAMORE
47 6/2/58 Enewetak Barge 15.00 HARDTACK I ROSE
48 6/8/58 Enewetak Underwater 8.00 HARDTACK I UMBRELLA
49 6/10/58 Bikini Barge 213.00 HARDTACK I MAPLE
50 6/14/58 Bikini Barge 319.00 HARDTACK I ASPEN
51 6/14/58 Enewetak Barge 1,450.00 HARDTACK I WALNUT
52 6/18/58 Enewetak Barge 11.00 HARDTACK I LINDEN
53 6/27/58 Bikini Barge 412.00 HARDTACK I REDWOOD
54 6/27/58 Enewetak Barge 880.00 HARDTACK I ELDER
55 6/28/58 Enewetak Barge 8,900.00 HARDTACK I OAK
56 6/29/58 Bikini Barge 14.00 HARDTACK I HICKORY
57 7/1/58 Enewetak Barge 5.20 HARDTACK I SEQUOIA
58 7/2/58 Bikini Barge 220.00 HARDTACK I CEDAR
59 7/5/58 Enewetak Barge 397.00 HARDTACK I DOGWOOD
60 7/12/58 Bikini Barge 9,300.00 HARDTACK I POPLAR
61 7/14/58 Enewetak Barge LOW HARDTACK I SCAEVOLA
62 7/17/58 Enewetak Barge 255.00 HARDTACK I PISONIA
63 7/22/58 Bikini Barge 65.00 HARDTACK I JUNIPER
64 7/22/58 Enewetak Barge 202.00 HARDTACK I OLIVE
65 7/26/58 Enewetak Barge 2,000.00 HARDTACK I PINE
66 8/6/58 Enewetak Surface FIZZ HARDTACK I QUINCE
67 8/18/58 Enewetak Surface 0.02 HARDTACK I FIG

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Yeild Chart

The above chart shows a comparison of the yield of all tests conducted in the Marshall Islands, in decending order of yield. The numbers on the y axis correspond to the test numbers in the first column of the table of U.S. Nuclear Tests in the Marshall Islands. Due to the large range of yields, many of the smaller tests are not able to be plotted at the current chart scale. Please see the table for a listing of all tests and yields. For comparison, the yield of the Hiroshima bomb and the largest atmospheric test at the Nevada Test Site are also plotted.

U.S. Department of Energy. United States Nuclear Tests: July 1945 through September 1992. Document No. DOE/NV-209 (Rev. 14), December 1994.

RMI Nuclear Claims Tribunal. Annual Report to the Nitijel„ For the Calendar Year 1996. Majuro: 1997.

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Magnitude of Nuclear Tests (sampled from Ivy Mike Test)

How powerful were the weapons detonated during the U.S. Nuclear Weapons Testing Program in the Marshall Islands? The information below from the Ivy Mike test of October 31, 1952, at Enewetak Atoll, is illustrative.

Ivy Mike was the world's first thermonuclear test. At the time, it was the largest nuclear test ever conducted. Yet it was not to be the largest test in the Marshall Islands. In terms of yield, it was the fourth largest of the 67 tests conducted in the Marshalls, representing less than ten percent of the combined yield of these tests.

The following graphics and descriptions are taken from a film by U.S. Air Force Lookout Mountain Laboratory, J.T.F. 132, T.G. 132.1, Task Unit Nine. Operation Ivy (Sanitized Version).

"[Ivy Mike] is the largest fireball ever produced. At its maximum it measures about 3-1/4 miles in diameter. Compared with the skyline of New York, this means that with the Empire State Building as zero point, the Mike fireball would extend downtown to Washington Square, and uptown to Central Park. In other words, the fireball alone would engulf about 1/4 of the island of Manhattan."
"Nothing of this height and width has ever before been witnessed. If the picture is stopped at this point in the cloud's growth, the height of the cloud is approximately 40,000 feet. This means that 32 Empire State Buildings...could be piled one on top of the other before they would attain the cloud's height at this time, roughly two minutes after zero."
"Some ten minutes later, the cloud approaches its maximum. At this time the mushroom portion of the cloud has pushed up to around ten miles, and spreads out along the base of the stratosphere to a width of about a hundred miles..."
"...while the stem itself is pushed upward, deep into the stratosphere, to a height of about 25 miles."
"[F]igures put the Mike yield at around 10 megatons, or 10,000 kilotons. This means there was more energy released in this one shot, roughly ten times more, than in all previous atomic blasts combined, including probably those of Russian origin. Or, to put it another way, four times more power in this one shot than from all the high explosives dropped by the entire Anglo-American air force on Germany and the occupied countries during the last war."
"The results of this tremendous power can be shown at the atoll....The crater is roughly a mile in diameter. When it is illustrated that some 14 Pentagon Buildings could be comfortably accommodated in this hole, the size of the Mike crater becomes more real."
"In profile, the crater gradually slopes down to a maximum depth of some 175 feet, or equivalent to the height of a 17-story building."
"The lateral destructive effects are the greatest yet observed from a single explosive device. Without getting into the areas of target evaluation or secondary effects, it can be safely assumed that there was complete annihilation within a radius of three miles...that there was severe to moderate damage out to seven miles...and that light damage extended as far as ten miles...."
"Relating this area of damage to a city like Washington D.C., would present a picture something like this: With the Capitol as zero point, there would be complete annihilation west to Arlington Cemetary; east to the Anacostia River; north to the Soldiers' Home; and south to Holling Field. Complete annihilation, and that is mentioned in merely the primary data."

 

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