U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency.
still other complex and subtle processes, global in scope, which could seriously threaten the health of distant populations in the event of an all-out nuclear war.
Up to now, many of the important discoveries about nuclear weapon effects have been made not through deliberate scientific inquiry but by accident. And as the following historical examples show, there has been a series of surprises.
"Castle/Bravo" was the largest nuclear weapon ever detonated by the United States. Before it was set off at Bikini on February 28, 1954, it was expected to explode with an energy equivalent of about 8 million tons of TNT. Actually, it produced almost twice that explosive power--equivalent to 15 million tons of TNT.
If the power of the bomb was unexpected, so were the after-effects. About 6 hours after the explosion, a fine, sandy ash began to sprinkle the Japanese fishing vessel Lucky Dragon, some 90 miles downwind of the burst point, and Rongelap Atoll, 100 miles downwind. Though 40 to 50 miles awa