More on Bikini Atoll...
Operation Crossroads: the fourth and fifth detonations of nuclear bombs, 1946
If anyone watches the ‘Radio Bikini’ documentary, you might like this for further detail…
‘Pressure to cancel Operation Crossroads altogether came from scientists and diplomats. Manhattan Project scientists argued that further testing was unnecessary and environmentally dangerous. A Los Alamos study warned “the water near a recent surface explosion will be a witch’s brew” of radioactivity... scientists pointed out that the tests might demonstrate ship survivability while ignoring the effect of radiation on sailors’
‘During 1954, 1956, and 1958, twenty-one more nuclear bombs were detonated at Bikini’ !
‘Of the total mass of radioactive particles scattered by each explosion, 85% was unfissioned plutonium which produces alpha radiation not detected by film badges or Geiger counters. There was no method of detecting plutonium in a timely fashion, and participants were not monitored for ingestion of it.’
‘The contamination problem was not widely appreciated by the general public until 1948, when No Place to Hide, a best-selling book by David Bradley, was serialized in the Atlantic Monthly...
In his preface, Bradley, a key member of the Radiological Safety Section at Bikini known as the “Geiger men”, asserted that “the accounts of the actual explosions, however well intended, were liberally seasoned with fantasy and superstition, and the results of the tests have remained buried in the vaults of military security.” His description of the Baker test and its aftermath brought to world attention the problem of radioactive fallout from nuclear weapons.’
‘No decontamination procedures had been tested to see if they would work and to measure the potential risk to personnel. In the absence of a decontamination protocol, the ships were cleaned using traditional deck-scrubbing methods: hoses, mops, and brushes, with water, soap, and lye. The sailors had no protective clothing.’
‘Photographs of Baker are unique among nuclear detonation pictures. The searing, blinding flash that usually obscures the target area took place underwater and was barely seen. The clear image of ships in the foreground and background gives a sense of scale. The large Wilson cloud and the vertical water column are distinctive Baker shot features.’
‘Veterans who were exposed to radiation formed the non-profit National Association of Atomic Veterans association in 1978 to lobby for veterans benefits covering illnesses they believed were due to their exposure... Legislation was passed in 1988 [italics mine] that removed the need for veterans to prove a causal link between certain forms of cancer and radiation exposure due to nuclear tests.’
At least one ‘cheery’ thing came out of it all…
‘During Operation Crossroads, Paris swimwear designer Louis Réard adopted the name Bikini for his minimalist swimsuit design which, revolutionary for the time, exposed the wearer’s navel. He explained that “like the bomb, the bikini is small and devastating”. Fashion writer Diana Vreeland described the bikini as the “atom bomb of fashion”. While two-piece swimsuits have been used since antiquity, it was Réard’s name of the Bikini that stuck for all of its modern incarnations.’
I did not know that that was the etymology of bikini!