Friday, August 31, 2012

Nuclear test series: Dominic

"This Dominic I video provides a visual overview of 36 atmospheric nuclear devices detonated in the Pacific Proving Ground from April to November 1962. It was the last atmospheric nuclear test series conducted by the United States. Also, Dominic I was the largest and most elaborate U.S. testing operation ever conducted. In geographic terms, the diagnostic stations receiving data from the tests covering more than 15 million square miles.

According to the video, Operation Dominic I was prompted by the "Soviet resumption of testing in 1961 after a three-year moratorium." The three main purposes of the series were the "proof testing" of new weapon designs, mainly thermonuclear; obtaining weapons effects data as it related to the electromagnetic pulse phenomenon and attenuation of radar; and obtaining data related to the offensive and defensive aspects of an incoming ballistic missile in a detonation environment.
Dominic I tests were conducted in three general locations: Johnston Island, airdrop and high-altitude detonations; Christmas Island, staging area for 24 airdrop tests; and the open ocean, launch of a Polaris missile from a submarine and subsequent detonation of a device in a reentry vehicle, and the detonation of a device carried by an antisubmarine rocket (ASROC).

Approximately 28,000 military and civilian personnel participated in the test series. More than 200,000 tons of supplies, construction materials, and diagnostic equipment were shipped or airlifted to the test areas.

Most of the devices were detonated in the air after being dropped from a B-52 bomber. Five high-altitude bursts, designated as Operation Fishbowl tests, were lofted by rockets. Their purpose was to study the effects of nuclear detonations as defensive weapons against incoming ballistic missiles.
This film was made as a Joint Task Force 8 command report to the secret oversight committees of United States Congress and as a visual archive of the Department of Defense.

These nuclear testing operations culminated with the Cuban Missile Crisis, and reached the fiercest point the day of the Bluegill Triple Prime test of near 1 megaton was detonated. During the night of that same day (local Washington, DC time) of October 26, U.S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy met secretly with Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin to make emergency negotiations at the Soviet embassy in Washington, DC. This dramatic meeting broke the crisis in a call from RFK to President John F. Kennedy, in JFK ordering the removal of obsolete, liquid fueled missiles from Turkey in return for a Soviet missile and troop withdrawal from Cuba. This compromise allowed Soviet leader Nikita Krushchev to save face in such a withdrawal, despite a cablegram sent from belligerent Cuban leader Fidel Castro to Mr. Krushchev, urging a Soviet nuclear attack against the United States.

Another extremely dangerous scenario of these tests was a concurrent Soviet series of tests at both Kapustin Yar and Novaya Zemlya, unleashing the greatest displays of combined megatons ever known. November 1 witnessed the carrying out of nuclear weapons tests by both sides on THE SAME DAY.

Periods of silence during this film were strictly intended. This film was carefully sanitized by nuclear weapons experts and Department of Defense officials to remove secret information."

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