Operation Castle ROMEO, 1956

- Image ID: HRP207
Science History Images / Alamy Stock Photo
Image ID: HRP207
Romeo was an 11 megaton shot fired from a barge near Bikini Atoll on March 26, 1954. Operation Castle was a United States series of high-yield (high-energy) nuclear tests by Joint Task Force 7 (JTF-7) at Bikini Atoll beginning in March 1954. Conducted as a joint venture between the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) and the Department of Defense (DoD), the ultimate objective of the operation was to test designs for an aircraft-deliverable thermonuclear weapon. Operation Castle was considered by government officials to be a success as it proved the feasibility of deployable "dry" fuel designs for thermonuclear weapons. There were technical difficulties with some of the tests: one device had a yield much lower than predicted (a "fizzle"), while two other devices detonated with over twice their predicted yields. One test in particular, Castle Bravo, resulted in extensive radiological contamination of nearby islands (including inhabitants and U.S. soldiers stationed there). Public reaction to the tests and an awareness of the long-range effects of nuclear fallout has been attributed as being part of the motivation for the Partial Test Ban Treaty of 1963.

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