Cover Image

Nuclear Weapons Testing at
the Nevada Test Site:
The First Decade

by John C. Hopkins and
Barbara Germain Killian

Table of Contents

NOTE: Page numbers in parentheses correspond to the printed version of the book.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS (15)
STYLE (17)
AUTHORS’ NOTE (21)

PART I. PRELUDE TO A CONTINENTAL TEST SITE

INTRODUCTION (23)

CHAPTER 1. TRINITY (27)

EARLY CONCEPTS FOR TESTING BEFORE DEPLOYMENT
REORGANIZATION TO EXPEDITE IMPLOSION WORK
PREPARATION FOR TRINITY
THE TRINITY TEST
RESULTS

CHAPTER 2. OPERATION CROSSROADS AND CREATION OF THE ATOMIC ENERGY COMMISSION (AEC) (35)

OPERATION CROSSROADS
CREATION OF THE ATOMIC ENERGY COMMISION (AEC)

CHAPTER 3. LOS ALAMOS LABORATORY, ORGANIZATION AND LEADERSHIP: 1945-1950 (41)

DEVELOPMENT OF PEACETIME LOS ALAMOS
FIELD TEST DIVISION

CHAPTER 4. SANDIA LABORATORY 1945-1950 (45)

1945
FORMATION AND EARLY YEARS OF THE SANDIA CORPORATION

CHAPTER 5. ARMED FORCES SPECIAL WEAPONS PROJECT, ORGANIZATION AND LEADERSHIP: 1946-1950 (51)

1946 – FORMATION OF THE 2761st ENGINEERING BATTALION (SPECIAL)
FORMATION OF AFSWP
NATIONAL MILITARY ESTABLISHMENT AND THE DoD
AFSWP FIELD OPERATIONS
AFSWP 1950

CHAPTER 6. OPERATION SANDSTONE AND ITS INFLUENCE ON THE FUTURE OF TESTING (57)

CHAPTER 7. PUSH FOR A CONTINENTAL TEST SITE (61)

INTRODUCTION
POST SANDSTONE: SUMMER 1948 – JANUARY 1949
1949
1950
KOREA
IMPACT OF KOREA ON TESTING AND GREENHOUSE
BRADBURY WRITES TO DMA
COSTS AND SCHEDULES INFLUENCE CONTINUING DEBATE
BRADBURY WRITES AGAIN
SAFETY
THE HOLMES AND NARVER REPORT
AEC AND PENTAGON BATTLE OF OPERATION GREENHOUSE
PRESIDENT TRUMAN STEPS IN
DECEMBER 1950

CHAPTER 8. JANUARY 1951 – PREPARATION FOR THE FIRST NEVADA OPERATION – RANGER (81)

PART I FIGURES (85)

PART I PHOTOS(91)

PART II: THE FIRST DECADE

INTRODUCTION (99)

CHAPTER 1. RANGER JANUARY 27– FEBRUARY 6, 1951 (105)

INTRODUCTION
NEVADA TEST SITE ORGANIZAITON (NTSO) FOR OPERATION RANGER
LOCATIONS OF RANGER ACTIVITIES
TRANSPORTATION TO LAS VEGAS AND ITS GROWTH
SUPPORT ACTIVITIES – REYNOLDS ELECTRIC & ENGINEERING, COMPANY (REECo)
TECHNICAL ACTIVITIES AND TESTS
TEST DIAGNOSTICS
DoD NUCLEAR WEAPONS EFFECTS (NWE) MEASUREMENTS, OPERATION HOT ROD
FALLOUT
AIRDROP TECHNOLOGY
CONCLUSIONS AND LESSONS LEARNED FROM OPERATION RANGER
OBSERVATIONS ON THE SIGNIFICANCE OF OPERATION RANGER
RANGER FIGURES
RANGER PHOTOS

CHAPTER 2. OPERATION BUSTER-JANGLE: OCTOBER 22 - NOVEMBER 29, 1951 (129)

INTRODUCTION
RANGER TO BUSTER-JANGLE
PERMANETIZATION
REAL ESTATE
SANTA FE OPERATIONS OFFICE (SFOO) MOVES TO ALBUQUERQUE
SITE NAMED NEVADA TEST SITE, JULY 8, 1951
PREPARATION FOR JANGLE
PREPARATION FOR BUSTER
NEVADA TEST SITE ORGANIZATION (NTSO) FOR OPERATION BUSTER-JANGLE
BUSTER-JANGLE TESTS
WEAPONS DIAGNOSTIC PROGRAM
DoD PARTICIPATION ON OPERATION BUSTER-JANGLE
DESERT ROCK OPERATIONS: I (DOG), II (SUGAR), and III (UNCLE)
DoD NWE PROGRAMS AND PROJECTS
BUSTER NWE PROGRAMS AND PROJECTS
JANGLE NWE PROGRAMS AND PROJECTS
LIVING AND WORKING CONDITIONS AT THE SITE DURING BUSTER- JANGLE
BUSTER-JANGLE EPILOGUE
THE SITE: 1951-1952
BUSTER-JANGLE FIGURES
BUSTER-JANGLE PHOTOS

CHAPTER 3. OPERATION TUMBLER-SNAPPER: April 1 – June 5, 1952 (177)

PLANNING
NEVADA TEST ORGANIZATION FOR OPERATION TUMBLER-SNAPPER
REECo
CONSTRUCTION STATUS
OTHER CONTRACTORS AT THE SITE
LIVING CONDITIONS DURING TUMBLER-SNAPPER
SOME CHARACTERISTICS OF THE WORKING TEAMS
TUMBLER-SNAPPER TESTS
DIAGNOSTICS WEAPONS DEVELOPMENT
DoD PARTICIPATION ON OPERATION TUMBLER-SNAPPER
EXERCISE DESERT ROCK IV
DoD NWE PROGRAMS AND PROJECTS
DoD PARTICIPATION ON LOS ALAMOS WEAPONS DEVELOPMENT TESTS
FEDERAL CIVIL DEFENSE ADMININSTRATION (FCDA)
MILITARY SIGNIFICANCE
TUMBLER-SNAPPER FIGURES
TUMBLER-SNAPPER PHOTOS

CHAPTER 4. A SECOND NUCLEAR WEAPONS LABORATORY IS ESTABLISHED AT LIVERMORE, CALIFORNIA (209)

A PERSONAL PERSPECTIVE ON THE FORMATION OF THE NUCLEAR WEAPONS LABORATORY AT LIVERMORE, CALIFORNIA By Herbert F. York
LIVERMORE PHOTOS

CHAPTER 5. ARMED FORCES SPECIAL WEAPONS PROJECT (AFSWP)/DEFENSE ATOMIC SUPPORT AGENCY (DASA) ORGANIZATION AND LEADERSHIP (219)

1951 REORGANIZATIONS AT HEADQUARTERS
1951 AFSWP FIELD COMMAND ESTABLISHED
1951 DIRECTORATE OF WEAPONS EFFECTS TESTS, FIELD COMMAND (DWET, FC)
1953
1954 - 1955
1957
1958
FORMATION OF DASA
DASA DURING THE MORATORIUM

CHAPTER 6. SANDIA LABORATORY DURING THE FIRST DECADE (227)

PRE-1952
FIELD SUPPORT AND LOGISTICS DIVISION
1952 AND REORGANIZTION
1953
SANDIANS AT THE NEVADA TEST SITE
SUMMARY OF SANDIA’S ARMING AND FIRING (A&F) ACTIVITIES DURING THE 1950s
SANDIA SUPPORT FOR THE DoD ON UPSHOT-KNOTHOLE
1955
1956
1957
1958
SANDIA PHOTOS

CHAPTER 7. NUCLEAR WEAPONS 1952 – 1953 (241)

FALL 1952
COMMITTEE ON OPERATIONAL FUTURE OF THE NTS
NUCLEAR WEAPONS TEST OBJECTIVES
PHASES OF DEVELOPMENT FOR NUCLEAR WEAPONS

CHAPTER 8. OPERATION UPSHOT- KNOTHOLE: MARCH 17 – JUNE 4, 1953 (251)

PLANNING
NEVADA TEST ORGANIZATION FOR OPERATION UPSHOT-KNOTHOLE
PERSONNEL CONDITIONS AT THE NPG DURING UPSHOT-KNOTHOLE
UPSHOT-KNOTHOLE TESTS
WEAPONS DEVELOPMENT DIAGNOSTIC EXPERIMENTS
OVERVIEW OF TESTS AND DIAGNOSTICS
DoD PARTICIPATION ON UPSHOT-KNOTHOLE
EXERCISE DESERT ROCK V
DoD NWE PROGRAMS AND PROJECTS
DoD PARTICIPATION ON WEAPONS DEVELOPMENT DIAGNOSTICS TESTS
DOORSTEP, FEDERAL CIVIL DEFENSE ADMINISTRATION (FCDA) PARTICIPATION ON UPSHOT-KNOTHOLE
FCDA NWE PROGRAMS AND PROJECTS
UPSHOT-KNOTHOLE SUMMARY
UPSHOT-KNOTHOLE FIGURES
UPSHOT-KNOTHOLE PHOTOS

CHAPTER 9. 1953-1954 (303)

SECOND COMMITTEE ON OPERATIONAL FUTURE OF THE NPG – SUMMER 1953
SOVIET AND U.S. TESTS OF THERMONUCLEAR DEVICES
1954 – CHANGES AT THE SANTA FE AND ALBUQUERQUE AEC OFFICES
OPERATION CASTLE IN THE PACIFIC
THE NEVADA PROVING GROUND BECOMES THE NEVADA TEST SITE AGAIN

CHAPTER 10. OPERATION TEAPOT: FEBRUARY 18 – MAY 15, 1955 (311)

PLANNING
PUBLIC RELATIONS AND INFORMATION
NEVADA TEST SITE ORGANIZATION (NTSO) FOR OPERATION TEAPOT
TEST OBJECTIVES FOR OPERATION TEAPOT
TESTS
PREPARATION AND DETONATION OF A DEVICE: 1955-1958
LASL’S DIAGNOSTIC EXPERIMENTS
UCRL’S DIAGNOSTIC EXPERIMENTS
ON-SITE RAD-SAFE
DoD PARTICIPATION ON OPERATION TEAPOT
DoD NWE PROGRAMS AND PROJECTS
FCDA PARTICIPATION ON TEAPOT
FCDA NWE PROGRAMS AND PROJECTS
PROJECT SUNSHINE AND FALLOUT STUDIES
PERSONNEL CONDITIONS AT THE NTS DURING TEAPOT
TEAPOT FIGURES
TEAPOT PHOTOS

CHAPTER 11. 1955-1957 (351)

GROOM LAKE – AREA 51
1955
BALLOON SUSPENSION FOR TEST DEVICES
RADIATION AND CLEANUP
FALLOUT
WIGWAM
YEAR-ROUND OPERATION OF THE TEST SITE
COMMITTEE ON THE USE OF NEVADA TEST SITE
GRAVES SUFFERS HEART ATTACK
OPERATION PROJECT 56
PROPOSAL FOR TESTING UNDERGROUND
FALLOUT CONCERNS
SECOND MEETING OF THE COMMITTEE ON THE USE OF NTS
OPERATION REDWING IN THE PACIFIC (MAY TO JUNE 1956)
PUBLIC RATIONALE FOR THE 1957 OPERATION PLUMBBOB
COMMON TEST ORGANIZATION
THE NTS PLANNING BOARD
REVIEW OF NTS OPERATING CRITERIA
1957

CHAPTER 12. OPERATION PLUMBBOB. May 28 – October 7, 1957 (373)

OPERATION PILGRIM EVOLVES INTO OPERATION PLUMBOB
PLANNING
NEVADA TEST SITE ORGANIZATION (NTSO) FOR OPERATION PLUMBBOB
PLUMBBOB TESTS
PROGRAMS CONDUCTED ON PLUMBBOB
DoD NWE PROGRAMS AND PROJECTS – PROGRAMS 1 – 9
WEAPONS DEVELOPMENT – PROGRAMS 10 - 26
ARMING AND FIRING DRY RUNS
FCDA PARTICIPATION ON PLUMBBOB
FCDA NWE PROGRAMS AND PROJECTS – PROGRAMS 30 – 39
SANDIA TEST GROUP – WEAPONS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM, PROJECT 41
DESERT ROCK, EXERCISES VII AND VIII – PROGRAMS 50 - 53
SANDIA PROGRAMS 62, 63, 64
PROJECT 57 TEST GROUP–WEAPONS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS 71-74
MUSTER BADGES AND AREA SWEEPING
ENGINEERING AND CONSTRUCTION SUPPORT
AIRCRAFT PARTICIPATION
LIVING CONDITIONS DURING OPERATION PLUMBBOB
RADIOLOGICAL SAFETY
PLUMBBOB FIGURES
PLUMBBOB PHOTOS

CHAPTER 13. 1957 – 1958 (407)

PROJECTS 58 AND 58A
EARLY 1958
FRENCH VISIT THE NEVADA TEST SITE
ISSUES REGARDING OPERATIONS AT NTS
OPERATION HARDTACK PHASE I
OPERATION ARGUS
TEST BAN INITIATIVES
E. O. LAWRENCE DIES
THE RAMP-UP TO HARDTACK PHASE II
EISENHOWER ANNOUNCES U.S. MORATORIUM
THE SOVIET UNION AGREES TO START NEGOTIATIONS
READINESS ISSUES

CHAPTER 14. OPERATION HARDTACK PHASE II: SEPTEMBER 12 – OCTOBER 30, 1958 (417)

PLANNING AND RUNUP
NEVADA TEST SITE ORGANIZATION (NTSO) FOR OPERATION HARDTACK PHASE II
ADVISORY PANEL AND THE PREDICTION GROUP
PLANNING BOARD DURING HARDTACK PHASE II
HARDTACK PHASE II TESTS
DoD PARTICIPATION ON OPERATION HARDTACK PHASE II
DoD NWE PROGRAMS AND PROJECTS
CIVIL DEFENSE PARTICIPATION
LIVING CONDITIONS AT THE SITE DURING HARDTACK PHASE II
HARDTACK II FIGURES

CHAPTER 15. NUCLEAR TEST MORATORIUM 1958 – 1961 (435)

READINESS
WASHINGTON POLITICS
1960
1961

EPILOGUE (443)

APPENDICIES

A. Basic Concepts of Nuclear Weapons Design (445)
B. Los Alamos’ Organization During WWII and Trinity (467)
C. The Soviet Union’s Semipalatinsk Test Site (STS) (477)
D. Acquisition of Real Estate for the Nevada Test Site – Carole Schoengold (481)
E. Environmental Conditions at NTS - Lawrence S. Germain and Barbara Germain Killian (485)
F. AEC and DoD Senior Leadership, Advisory Panels, and Planning Boards for NTS Organization During the 1950s (491)
G. Diagnostics Experiments Conducted by AEC Laboratories 1950-1958 (497)
H. Synopses of NWE Field Activities and Structures on JANGLE (503)
I. A Brief History of U.S. Civil Defense Organizations (515)
J. Location of Troops During Atmospheric Tests (519)
K. 1954 Shot Criteria for NTS (523)
L. Public Relations and Information (527)
M. Desert Rock VI (533)
N. Desert Rock VII and VIII (537)

ATTACHMENTS

I. Early Working Relationships Between Laboratory, Military, and AEC Personnel by Robert Duff (551)
II. Byron At Nevada Test Site by Byron Murphey (553)
III. The Turk Device in TEAPOT by Raymond A. Gilbert (557)
IV. Excerpts from Interview of Major General Edward B. Giller (565)
V. Arms Control: 1945 – 1961 by Milo Nordyke (571)
VI. The Plowshare Program by Milo Nordyke (579)
VII. Underground Testing and Early Containment Concepts by Cliff Olsen (593)
VIII. The Vela Program by Milo Nordyke (595)

ACRONYMS (601)
REFERENCES (607)
ABOUT THE AUTHORS (633)