Operation Plumbbob

Operation Plumbbob


The operation was the sixth check collection and consisted of 29 explosions, of which two didn’t produce any nuclear yield. 21 laboratories and authorities businesses have been concerned. Whereas most Operation Plumbbob checks contributed to the event of warheads for intercontinental and intermediate vary missiles, additionally they examined air protection and anti-submarine warheads with small yields. They included 43 army results exams on civil and army buildings, radiation and bio-medical research, and plane structural checks. Operation Plumbbob had the tallest tower exams up to now within the U.S. nuclear testing program, in addition to high-altitude balloon checks. One nuclear check concerned the most important troop maneuver ever related to U.S. nuclear testing.

Virtually 1,200 pigs have been subjected to bio-medical experiments and blast-effects research throughout Operation Plumbbob. On shot Priscilla (37 KT), 719 pigs have been utilized in numerous totally different experiments on Frenchman Flat. Some pigs have been positioned in elevated cages and supplied with fits made of various supplies, to check which supplies offered greatest safety from the thermal pulse. Different pigs have been positioned in pens at measuring distances from the epicenter behind giant sheets of glass to check the consequences of flying particles on dwelling targets.

Roughly 18,000 members of the U.S. Air Pressure, Military, Navy and Marines participated in workouts Desert Rock VII and VIII throughout Operation Plumbbob. The army was focused on figuring out how the typical foot-soldier would get up, bodily and psychologically, to the trials of the tactical nuclear battlefield.

Research have been carried out of radiation contamination and fallout from a simulated unintentional detonation of a weapon; and tasks regarding earth movement, blast loading and neutron output have been carried out.

Nuclear weapons security experiments have been carried out to review the potential for a nuclear weapon detonation throughout an accident. On July 26, 1957, a security experiment, “Pascal-A” was detonated in an unstemmed gap at NTS, turning into the primary underground shaft nuclear check. The information gained right here would offer knowledge to stop nuclear yields in case of accidential detonations, for instance a aircraft crash.

The Rainier shot, carried out September 19, 1957, was the primary absolutely contained underground nuclear check, which means that no fission merchandise have been vented into the environment. This check of 1.7 kilotons might be detected around the globe by seismologists utilizing odd seismic devices. The Rainier check turned the prototype for bigger and extra highly effective underground checks.

Radiological results

The 43,000 foot excessive cloud as seen from the management level, 30 minutes after the Priscilla occasion

Plumbbob launched 58,300 kilocuries (2.16 EBq) of radioiodine (I-131) into the environment. This produced complete civilian radiation exposures amounting to 120 million person-rads of thyroid tissue publicity (about 32% of all publicity because of continental nuclear checks).

Statistically talking, this degree of publicity can be anticipated to ultimately trigger between 11,000 and 212,000 extra instances of thyroid most cancers, resulting in between 1,000 and 20,000 deaths.

Along with civilian publicity, troop workouts carried out close to the bottom close to shot “Smoky” uncovered over three thousand servicemen to comparatively excessive ranges of radiation. A survey of those servicemen in 1980 discovered considerably elevated charges of leukemia: ten instances, as an alternative of the baseline anticipated 4.[citation needed]

Hood’s radioactive cloud tops off at almost 49,000 ft above Yucca flats, as seen from 14 miles away. The detonation despatched an above regular thermal pulse throughout the desert, igniting bushes and different progress as much as three miles away on close by foothills, as seen to the correct of the mud cloud on the desert flooring

The primary nuclear-propelled artifical object in area?

Through the Pascal-B nuclear check, a heavy (900 kg) metal plate cap (a bit of armor plate) was blasted off the highest of a check shaft at an unknown velocity. The check’s experimental designer Dr. Brownlee had carried out a extremely approximate calculation that instructed that the nuclear explosion, mixed with the precise design of the shaft, would speed up the plate to 6 occasions escape velocity. The plate was by no means discovered, however Dr. Brownlee believes that the plate by no means left the environment (it might even have been vaporized by compression heating of the environment on account of its excessive velocity). The calculated velocity was sufficiently fascinating that the crew educated a high-speed digital camera on the plate, which sadly solely appeared in a single body, however this however gave a really excessive decrease sure for the velocity. After the occasion, Dr. Robert R. Brownlee described one of the best estimate of the duvet’s velocity from the photographic proof as “going like a bat!!”

This incident was seemingly used as a part of the technical justification for the Orion venture for potential use of nuclear blasts for outer-space propulsion.

Listing of exams

The tail, or ft, part of a U.S. Navy Blimp is proven with the Stokes cloud in background. The blimp was over 5 miles from floor zero when it was collapsed by the shock wave. The airship was unmanned and was utilized in army results experiments on blast and warmth. Navy personnel on the bottom within the neighborhood of the experimental space have been unharmed. On the bottom to the left are the stays of the blimp’s ahead part.

The fireball from the 74 kiloton “Hood” thermonuclear occasion as seen from the management level 14 miles from floor zero. Hood was the most important atmospheric nuclear occasion to happen on the continent. The blast was highly effective sufficient to rattle home windows over 300 miles away in California, and the flash was seen by an airline pilot flying over Hawaii, about 2700 miles from the NTS.

The checks comprising Operation Plumbbob have been as follows in TNT equal:

Operation Plumbbob Check Blasts

Check Identify






12 kt

Tower shot



140 tons



5 June 1957

zero.5 kt

Balloon shot


18 June 1957

10 kt

Balloon shot


24 June 1957

37 kt

Balloon shot


1 July 1957

zero yield

Security experiment


5 July 1957

74 kt

Balloon shot, largest atmospheric check within the continental United States


15 July 1957

17 kt

Tower shot


19 July 1957

2 kt

Stay hearth of AIR-2 Genie air-to-air rocket


24 July 1957

10 kt

Tower shot


25 July 1957

9.7 kt

Balloon shot


26 July 1957


Shaft security experiment


7 August 1957

19 kt



10 August 1957

Zero yield

Shaft security experiment


18 August 1957

17 kt

Tower shot


23 August 1957

11 kt

Balloon shot


27 August 1957


Shaft security experiment

Franklin Prime

30 August 1957

four.7 kt



31 August 1957

44 kt

Tower shot


2 September 1957

11 kt

Tower shot


6 September 1957

197 tons

Balloon shot


6 September 1957

300 tons

Floor security experiment


eight September 1957

1 kt

Balloon shot


14 September 1957

11 kt

Tower shot


16 September 1957

12 kt

Balloon shot


19 September 1957

1.7 kt

Tunnel shot. First US underground nuclear check.


23 September 1957

19 kt

Tower shot


28 September 1957

12 kt

Balloon shot


7 October 1957

eight kt

Balloon Shot


“United States Nuclear Checks, July 1945 by means of September 1992 (DOE/NV-209)” (pdf). U.S. Division of Power Nevada Operations Workplace. 2000. http://www.nv.doe.gov/library/publications/historic/DOENV_209_REV15.pdf.  Unique supply for check info.

Plumbbob web page on the Nuclear Weapons Archive (additionally refers to manhole cowl difficulty talked about above).

“Estimated Exposures and Thyroid Doses Acquired by the American Individuals from Iodine-131 in Fallout Following Nevada Atmospheric Nuclear Bomb Exams”. Nationwide Most cancers Institute. 1997. http://www.most cancers.gov/i131/fallout/index.html. 


Wikimedia Commons has media associated to: Operation Plumbbob

^ Institute of Drugs (U.S.). Committee on Thyroid Screening Associated to I-131 Publicity, Nationwide Analysis Council (U.S.). Committee on Publicity of the American Individuals to I-131 from the Nevada Atomic Bomb Exams, ed (1999) (in English). Publicity of the American individuals to Iodine-131 from Nevada nuclear-bomb exams: assessment of the Nationwide Most cancers Institute report and public well being implications. Nationwide Academies Press. pp. 113-114. ISBN 9780309061759. http://books.google.com/books?id=vGtce6RjjM0C&pg=PA114&dq;=”operation+plumbbob”+OR+nevada+atmospheric+”thyroid+most cancers”&ei=zN98S8TAEqTgkQTGwfz-CA&shopper=firefox-a&cd=2#v=onepage&q=”operation plumbbob” OR nevada atmospheric “thyroid most cancers”&f=false. 

^ Brownlee, Robert R. (June 2002). “Studying to Include Underground Nuclear Explosions”. http://nuclearweaponarchive.org/Usa/Exams/Brownlee.html. Retrieved 2006-07-31. 

^ Studying to Include Underground Nuclear Explosions By Dr. Robert R. Brownlee – June 2002

^ Operation Plumbob on the Nuclear Weapon Archive

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Different articles

Fallout: An American Nuclear Tragedy  Alvin C. Graves  Chuck Hansen  Corbin Harney  Human experimentation in the USA  Nevada Desert Expertise  Radiation Publicity Compensation Act  Reactor grade plutonium nuclear check  Vela Uniform

Classes: Nevada Check Website | American nuclear explosive exams | Radiation well being results | 1957 within the United StatesHidden classes: All articles with unsourced statements | Articles with unsourced statements from February 2010

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