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Caging the Dragon; The Containment of Underground Nuclear Explosions, DOE/NV-388, DNI TR 95-74

Carothers, Jim et al.

Published by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, CA, 1995
Condition: Very good Soft cover
From Ground Zero Books, Ltd. (Silver Spring, MD, U.S.A.)

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x, 726, [41] pages. Illustrations. Appendix. Index. Cover has slight wear and soiling. This was prepared for the U.S. Department of Energy National Nuclear Security Administration, Nevada Site Office. Distribution was authorized to U.S. Government agencies and their contractors; Test and Evaluation. Distribution limited was deemed removed/lapsed as copies were identified as available on the Internet. The science of the containment of U.S. underground nuclear tests is documented through a series of interviews of leading containment scientists and engineers. The science of containment of the radioactive by-products of a nuclear detonation exists only because because there was a period of time from 1957 to 1992 when nuclear detonations were carried out underground by the United States, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and France. Dr. Carothers spent the bulk of his career at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. He retired in 1991 but served as the Laboratory Archivist from 1992 to 1999 when he fully retired due to health issues. Dr. Carothers was one of the icons at the Nevada Test Site. Underground nuclear testing is the test detonation of nuclear weapons that is performed underground. When the device being tested is buried at sufficient depth, the explosion may be contained, with no release of radioactive materials to the atmosphere. The extreme heat and pressure of an underground nuclear explosion causes changes in the surrounding rock. The rock closest to the location of the test is vaporized, forming a cavity. Farther away, there are zones of crushed, cracked, and irreversibly strained rock. Following the explosion, the rock above the cavity may collapse, forming a rubble chimney. If this chimney reaches the surface, a bowl-shaped subsidence crater may form. The first underground test took place in 1951; further tests provided information that eventually led to the signing of the Limited Test Ban Treaty in 1963, which banned all nuclear tests except for those performed underground. From then until the signing of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty in 1996, most nuclear tests were performed underground, in order to prevent nuclear fallout from entering into the atmosphere. Following analysis of underwater detonations that were part of Operation Crossroads in 1946, inquiries were made regarding the possible military value of an underground explosion ] The Joint Chiefs of Staff thus obtained the agreement of the Atomic Energy Commission to perform experiments on both surface and sub-surface detonations. The island of Amchitka was initially selected for these tests in 1950, but the site was later deemed unsuitable and the tests were moved to the Nevada Test Site. The first underground nuclear test was conducted on 29 November 1951. This was the 1.2 kiloton Buster-Jangle Uncle, which detonated 5.2 m (17 ft) beneath ground level. The test was designed as a scaled-down investigation of the effects of a 23 kiloton ground penetrating gun-type device that was then being considered for use as a cratering and bunker-buster weapon. The explosion resulted in a cloud that rose to 3,500 m (11,500 ft), and deposited fallout to the north and north-northeast. The resulting crater was 79 m (260 ft) wide and 16 m (53 ft) deep. The next underground test was Teapot Ess, on 23 March 1955. The 1 kiloton explosion was an operational test of an atomic demolition munition (ADM). It was detonated 20.4 m (67 ft) underground, in a shaft lined with corrugated steel, which was then back-filled with sandbags and dirt. Because the ADM was buried underground, the explosion blew tons of earth upwards, creating a crater 91 m (300 ft) wide and 39 m (128 ft) deep. The resulting mushroom cloud rose to a height of 3,657.6 m (12,000 ft) and subsequent radioactive fallout drifted in an easterly direction, traveling as far as 225 km (140 mi) from ground zero. On 26 July 1957, Plumbbob Pascal-A was detonated at the bottom of a 148 m (486 ft) shaft. According t. Bookseller Inventory # 73839

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Caging the Dragon; The Containment of ...

Publisher: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, CA

Publication Date: 1995

Binding: Trade paperback

Book Condition: Very good

Edition: Presumed First Edition, First printing.

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