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    Bikini Atoll (Pikinni Atoll)  Marshall Islands

Location
Bikini Atoll consists of 23 islands surrounding a 229.4-square-mile Bikini Lagoon. Also known as Pikinni Atoll.

Postwar
Bikini Atoll was designated part of the Pacific Proving Grounds for use twenty nuclear weapons tests between 1946 and 1958. During July 1946, the first nuclear tests code named "Operation Crossroads" were conducted at Bikini Atoll including Test Able on July 1, 1946, Test Baker on July 25, 1946 and Test Baker scheduled for March 1, 1947 but was cancelled.

Test Able
On July 1, 1946 at 9:00am the first test was code named test "Able" when B-29 "Dave's Dream" 44-27354 released an air drop Mark III (Fat Man bomb) nicknamed "Gilda" against an array of ships 3.5 miles southwest of Bikini Island. The aim point was USS Nevada BB-36, but the bomb missed exploding 710 yards to the west at an altitude of 520' / 128m above sea level with a yeild of 23 kilotons the resulted in the sinking of five ships were sunk (two sank immediately, two destroyers within hours and a cruiser the following day) plus eighteen others damaged.

Test Baker
On July 25, 1946 at 8:35am the second test code named test "Baker" was a Mark III (Fat Man bomb) nicknamed "Helen of Bikini" without tail fin assembly inside a steel caisson made from a submarine conning tower at a depth of 90' / 27m underwater (halfway to the seafloor that was 180' at that location). The bomb was suspended below USS LSM-60 to test an underwater detonation and caused a radioactive column of water and radioactive sea spray that caused contamination.

Test Charle
A third test code named test "Charlie" another underwater test was scheduled for March 1, 1947 but canceled.

Today
Scientists used Bikini Atoll as a case study in ways to clean up radiation. Today, the shipwrecks sunk in the atomic and hydrogen bomb tests are safe for SCUBA divers.

USS Anderson DD-411
Sunk July 1, 1946 during atomic bomb test "Able", anchored 600 yards from the aiming point.

USS Lamson DD-367
Sunk July 1, 1946 during atomic bomb test "Able", anchored 760 yards from the aiming point.

USS LSM-60
Sunk July 25, 1946 during atomic bomb test "Baker"

USS Apogon SS-308
Sunk July 25, 1946 during atomic bomb test "Baker"

Nagato
Sunk during the night of July 29-30, 1946 after damage sustained from test "Baker".

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Last Updated
July 15, 2020

 

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