Monday, May 9, 2016


JFK+50:  Volume 5, No. 1944


Ebewetak Atoll (JFK+50) Sixty-five years ago today, May 9, 1951, the United States detonated a 225 kiloton thermonuclear bomb here on the Enewetak Atoll* in the Pacific.  The explosion was part of Operation Greenhouse and the atoll was nicknamed "George". 

This event tested the basic concept for the first time on a very small scale. According to Wikipedia, "As the first successful (uncontrolled) release of nuclear fusion energy," it made up a small fraction of the 225 kilotons.  The test did, however, raise expectations that the concept would work.

It was on November 1, 1952, again on the Enewetak Atoll, that the first full-scale thermonuclear bomb test was completed.  This explosion had a yield of 10.4 megatons which was 450 times the yield of the bomb exploded over Nagasaki in World War II.

Ebewetak Atoll is a large coral atoll of 40 islands in the Pacific Ocean & part of the Marshall Island chain.  It  measures 2.26 square miles and was first explored by the Spanish in 1529.  The atoll was used by the Japanese as an air base in WWII & after capture was a forward base for the US Navy.  

A clean-up process was begun on EA in 1972 costing $100 million but the atoll will not be fit for human habitation until the year 2026.


"Thermonuclear weapon," 

Operation Grapple
First British Thermonuclear Test
Christmas Island
Royal Air Force Photo