Interesting Photo of the Day: World’s First Underwater Nuclear Bomb Detonation

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Operation Crossroads. It was a series of nuclear weapon tests conducted by the USA at Bikini Atoll island in 1946, which consisted of two detonation tests, named Able and Baker — the first nuclear bomb detonations after Hiroshima and Nagasaki disasters in 1945 —, to investigate the effect of nuclear weapons on naval ships.

The following picture was taken on July 25, 1946, showing the mushroom-shaped cloud and its water column from the underwater Baker nuclear explosion, seen from a tower on Bikini island, 3.5 miles (5.6 Km) away.

underwater nuclear bomb photo

Actual photo of an underwater nuclear bomb detonation (click to see high resolution size)

For these Crossroads tests, Bikini’s native residents agreed to evacuate the island, though a few years later a series of large thermonuclear tests evaluated Bikini as unfit for subsistence farming and fishing. Because of radioactive contamination, Bikini remains uninhabited as of 2011.

As a matter of fact, the underwater Baker test resulted in the radioactive contamination of all the target ships, and it was the first case of immediate, concentrated local radioactive fallout from a nuclear explosion. Glenn Seaborg, chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, called it “the world’s first nuclear disaster”.

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