In 1957, my father is now manager of Engineering and Construction for the Atomic Energy Commission Facilities Project and Missile Facilities Project in both the South Pacific and Nevada.

Operation Plumbbob in 1957 was the biggest, longest, and most controversial test series in the continental United States. The operation was the sixth test series and consisted of 29 explosions conducted at the Nevada Test Site.

Almost 1,200 pigs were subjected to bio-medical experiments, and blast-effects studies during Operation Plumbbob. In one explosion, Priscilla, 719 pigs were used in various different experiments on Frenchman Flat. Some pigs were placed in elevated cages and provided with suits made of different materials, to test which materials provided best protection from the thermal pulse. Other pigs were placed in pens at measuring distances from the epicenter behind large sheets of glass to test the effects of flying debris on living targets.

Plumbbob released large amounts of radioiodine (I-131) into the atmosphere. This produced total civilian radiation exposures amounting to 120 million person-rads of thyroid tissue exposure (about 32% of all exposure due to continental nuclear tests). Statistically speaking, this level of exposure would be expected to eventually cause about 38,000 cases of thyroid cancer, leading to some 1,900 deaths. According to the Atomic Energy Commission, no hard data is available on the long-term civilian effects of these tests.

To see other Certificates: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 7

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