The Trinity Project - the worlds first nuclear weapons test
Trinity was the code name given to the worlds first nuclear weapon test in the Jornada del Muerto desert near Socorro, New Mexico. The weapon ( nicknamed the Gadget ) was detonated on 16th July, 1945 at 05:29 ( mountain war time ) with an explosion equivalent to approximately 20,000 tons of TNT. The device utilised a technique known as explosive lensing providing an implosion type bomb design, this required only 6.2 Kg of plutonium vs 64 Kg of highly enriched Uranium used in a later weapon design. The Gadget was not a deployable missile however the device known as Fat Man (dropped over Nagasaki three weeks after the Trinity test) was the same design.
Above left is a photograph of "the Gadget" and right a picture of it being winched up the 100 feet tall "bomb tower"
Prior to the nuclear test, an explosion of 108 tons of TNT was made for calibration of the testing instruments and measurement systems. Another test device known as Jumbo was placed on another tower 800 yards away from Gadget to see the effect of the blast on it. Jumbo was a 214 Ton steel and concrete container designed to hold the Plutonium core of the Trinity device in case of a nuclear mis-fire. It was 28 feet long, 12 feet & 8 inches in diameter with walls up to 16 inches thick.
Trinity site visit - October 2011
I first visited the area including the White Sands desert and historical marker in 2009. However because the Trinity site is only open to the public twice a year I missed it by three days. This year however I made sure I could attend the October 1st gathering and take lots of photographs. I took the Stallion Gate entrance off US 380, 12 miles east of San Antonio. This is part of the White Sands missile range and comes under military jurisdiction, no photography is allowed elsewhere on the base.
Please click on a thumbnail for a large version
Criggion Very Low Frequency facility
near Shrewsbury - U.K
Although still shrouded in mystery ( it's exact role is denied by the MOD even today ) Criggion was thought to have been used as the main site for contact and control of NATO's Trident submarine fleet. Common rumour asserts the command to sink the Argentine warship " Belgrano" by the then prime minister Margaret thatcher during the U.K / Argentine war was transmitted from here.
I visited this facility early on in 2009, although it shut down only 6 years ago I was shocked to see how the place had been wrecked. Thankfully some of the original equipment has made its way to the Hack Green nuclear bunker for preservation.
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Hack Green R6 Rotor Station / RGHQ (with nuclear bunker)
Hack Green was 1 of 17 RGHQ's designed to help whatever was left of the U.K government to continue after a nuclear attack here. The building is a semi-sunk reinforced bunker known as a type R6 blockhouse. The home office abandoned this facility around 1992 and sold it off. Now it is a museum housing one of the largest collections of decommissioned nuclear weapons in the UK.
My visit here caught me completely by surprise, the bunker has been preserved along with many of the original room layouts, hardware and facilities intact including an inert Polaris missile payload and several flavours of WE-177 nuclear bombs including the last two known surviving 400 kiloton versions.
If you get the chance, make the effort to visit. Opened to the public only 5 years ago it is a chilling reminder of how things were, not so long ago.
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Definition of British Nuclear Weapons Codenames and Nicknames
This document in PDF format is a glossary of the above. Copyright belongs to Richard Moore
click here to download
Comprehensive Description & Details of Nuclear Weapons, Bombs, Warheads & Delivery systems According to Country of Origin and then by Type
This facinating wikipedia entry provides a very comprehensive guide for the casual observer
PROTECT AND SURVIVE - U.K government Nuclear Survival Films
This Crown copyright protected material may be re-used free of charge for research, non-commercial purposes and private study. (Crown © 1976)
The protect and survive film shorts were made in 1976 by the U.K government and intended to be shown on BBC television in the event of a nuclear war between Russia and the U.K. They were narrated by Patrick Allen and made by Richard Taylor Cartoons.
I have made them available for download in Windows media player format, just click on the relevant title below
PROTECT AND SURVIVE
Nuclear War Civil Defence Information
What To Put In Your Fallout Room
Stay At Home
Nuclear Explosions Explained