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Operation Crossroads


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Operation Crossroads was a series of nuclear weapon tests conducted by the United States at Bikini Atoll in mid-1946. Its purpose was to investigate the effect of nuclear weapons on naval ships.

The Crossroads tests were the fourth and fifth nuclear explosions conducted by the United States

The series consisted of two detonations, each with a yield of 23 kilotons:Able was detonated at an altitude of 520 feet (158 m) on July 1, 1946; Baker was detonated 90 feet (27 m) underwater on July 25, 1946. A third burst, Charlie, planned for 1947, was canceled primarily because of the Navy’s inability to decontaminate the target ships after the Baker test. Crossroads Charlie was rescheduled as Operation Wigwam, a deep water shot conducted in 1955 off the California coast

The Crossroads tests were the fourth and fifth nuclear explosions conducted by the United States (following the Trinity test and the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki). They were the first of many nuclear tests held in the Marshall Islands and the first to be publicly announced beforehand and observed by an invited audience, including a large press corps.

The first proposal to test nuclear weapons against naval warships was made on August 16, 1945, by Lewis Strauss, future chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission

Chemist Glenn Seaborg, the longest-serving chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, called Baker “the world’s first nuclear disaster

The test resulted in the radioactive contamination of all the target ships by the underwater Baker shot. It was the first case of immediate, concentrated local radioactive fallout from a nuclear explosion. (The fallout from an air burst is global, held in the stratosphere for days and widely dispersed.)Chemist Glenn Seaborg, the longest-serving chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, called Baker “the world’s first nuclear disaster

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