The effects of nuclear weapons. Credible nuclear deterrence, debunking "disarm or be annihilated". Realistic effects and credible nuclear weapon capabilities for deterring or stopping aggressive invasions and attacks which could escalate into major conventional or nuclear wars.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Censored information from The Effects of Nuclear Weapons

'On the one hand, a strong point can be made for the fact that civil defense, appropriate civil defense, would save a great many lives; on the other hand, one can also make a strong case that any civil defense, appropriate or otherwise, may increase the danger of a war because people will feel that they don't have to avoid it because they have civil defense.'

- Dr Frank Fremont-Smith, director of the New York Academy of Sciences Interdisciplinary Communications Program, Proceedings of the Second Interdisciplinary Conference on Selected Effects of a General War, DASIAC Special Report 95, July 1969, vol. 2, DASA-2019-2, AD0696959, page 281.

On this blog you will find links to online versions of the 1957 and 1977 editions of The Effects of Nuclear Weapons, by Glasstone and Dolan, U.S. Department of Defense. But you won't find any links to the longest version of the book, the 1962/4 edition, which will be quoted and discussed at length below. Here is the Foreword, written and signed by the U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara and the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Glenn T. Seaborg (both appointed by Kennedy), to the 1962/4 edition:

'This book is a revision of The Effects of Nuclear Weapons which was issued in 1957. It was prepared by the Defense Atomic Support Agency of the Department of Defense in coordination with other cognizant government agencies ... Although the complex nature of nuclear weapons effects does not always allow exact evaluation, the conclusions reached herein represent the combined judgement of a number of the most competent scientists working on the problem.

'There is a need for widespread public understanding of the best information available on the effects of nuclear weapons. The purpose of this book is to present as accurately as possible, within the limits of national security, a comprehensive summary of this information.'

The major part which was deleted in the 1977 edition was the final chapter (Chapter 12), Principles of Protection, which on page 631 (1962/4 edition) states:

'At distances between 0.3 and 0.4 mile from ground zero in Hiroshima the average survival rate, for at least 20 days after the nuclear explosion, was less than 20 percent. Yet in two reinforced concrete office buildings, at these distances, almost 90 percent of the nearly 800 occupants survived more than 20 days, although some died later of radiation injury.

'Furthermore, of approximately 3,000 school students who were in the open and unshielded within a mile of ground zero at Hiroshima, about 90 percent were dead or missing after the explosion. But of nearly 5,000 students in the same zone who were shielded in one way or another, only 26 percent were fatalities. ... survival in Hiroshima was possible in buildings at such distances that the overpressure in the open was 15 to 20 pounds per square inch. ... it is evident ... that the area over which protection could be effective in saving lives is roughly eight to ten times as great as that in which the chances of survival are small.'

Page 645 (1962/4 edition) provides definite ideas:

'The major part of the thermal radiation travels in straight lines, so any opaque object interposed between the fireball and the exposed skin will give some protection. This is true even if the object is subsequently destroyed by the blast, since the main thermal radiation pulse is over before the arrival of the blast wave.

'At the first indication of a nuclear explosion, by a sudden increase in the general illumination, a person inside a building should immediately fall prone, and, if possible, crawl behind or beneath a table or desk or to a planned vantage point. Even if this action is not taken soon enough to reduce the thermal radiation exposure greatly, it will minimise the displacement effect of the blast wave and provide a partial shield against splintered glass and other flying debris.

'An individual caught in the open should fall prone to the ground in the same way, while making an effort to shade exposed parts of the body. Getting behind a tree, building, fence, ditch, bank, or any structure which prevents a direct line of sight between the person and the fireball, if possible, will give a major degree of protection. If no substantial object is at hand, the clothed parts of the body should be used to shield parts which are exposed. There will still be some hazard from scattered thermal radiation, especially from high-yield weapons at long ranges, but the decrease in the direct radiation will be substantial.'

A person on the ground whose clothes ignite (which is only a risk under extremely high thermal exposure to dark coloured clothing) can immediately extinguish the clothes by simply rolling over to starve the flames of oxygen.

Page 653 (1962/4 edition) correctly explains:

'Some, although perhaps not all, of the fallout in the Marshall Islands, after the test explosion of March 1, 1954, could be seen as a white powder or dust. This was due, partly at least, to the light color of the calcium oxide or carbonate of which the particles were mainly composed. It is probable that whenever there is sufficient fallout to constitute a hazard, the dust will be visible.'

Page 658 (1962/4 edition) shows how to deal with fallout on food and water:

'If emergency food supplies do become contaminated, or if it is necessary to resort to contaminated sources after emergency supplies are exhausted, many types of food can be treated to remove the radioactive material. Fresh fruit and vegetables can be washed or peeled to remove the outer skin or leaves. Food products of the absorbent typecannot be decontaminated in this manner and should be disposed of by burial. Boiling or cooking of the food has no effect in removing the fallout material. Milk, from cows which survive in a heavily contaminated area, may not be safe to drink because of the radioiodine content and this condition may persist for weeks or months.

'Domestic water supplies from underground sources will usually remain free from radioactive contamination. Water supplies from surface sources may become contaminated if watersheds and open reservoirs are in areas of heavy fallout. However, most of the radioactive fallout material would be removed by regular water treatment which includes coagulation, sedimentation, and filtration. If a surface water supply is not treated in this manner, but merely chlorinated, it may be unfit for consumption for several days after an attack. As a result of dilution and natural decay the contamination will decrease with time.

'If the regular water supply is not usually subjected to any treatment other than chlorination, and an alternative source is not available, consideration should be given in advance planning to the provision of ion-exchange columns or beds for emergency decontamination use. Home water softeners might serve the same purpose on a small scale. The water contained in a residential hot-water heater would serve as an emergency supply, provided it can be removed without admitting contaminated water. Water may also be distilled to make it safe for drinking purposes.
It should be emphasized that mere boiling of water contaminated with fallout is of absolutely no value in removal of the radioactivity.'

Decontamination of streets, buildings and farm land is discussed on page 659 (1962/4 edition):

'Because of its particulate nature, fallout will tend to collect on horizontal surfaces, e.g., roofs, streets, tops of vehicles, and the ground. In the preliminary decontamination, therefore, the main effort should be directed toward cleaning such surfaces. The simplest way of achieving this is by water washing, if an adequate supply of water is available. The addition of a commercial wetting agent (detergent) will make the washing more efficient. The radioactive material is thus transferred to storm sewers where it is less of a hazard [underground drains are well shielded from people]. ... if facilities are to be provided across open country which is contaminated over large areas, bulldozing the top few inches of contaminated soil to the sides will be satisfactory only if a wide strip is cleared. Thus, if the strip is 250 feet in width, the radiation dose rate in the middle will be reduced to one-tenth of the value before clearing. A similar result may be achieved by scraping off the top layer of soil and burying it under fresh soil. Something like a foot of earth cover would be required to decrease the dose rate by a factor of ten.'

The final page of Chapter 12, page 661 (1962/4 edition), has a Conclusion which states:

'Much of the discussion presented in earlier sections of this chapter have been based, for simplicity, on the effects of a single nuclear weapon. It must not be overlooked that in a nuclear attack some areas may be subjected to several bursts. The basic principles of protection would remain unchanged, but protective action against all the effects of a nuclear weapon - blast, thermal radiation, initial nuclear radiation, and fallout - would become even more important. There is a good possibility that many people would survive a nuclear attack and this possibility would be greatly enhanced by utilizing the principles of protection in preattack preparations and planning in taking evasive action at the time of an attack, and in determining what should be done in the recovery phase of an attack.'

There is also some important censored information in the earlier June 1957 edition of The Effects of Nuclear Weapons, which is available online (see pages 514-517 of the 1957 edition): on page 514-5 three photos of successful Japanese 'blast-shielding walls' at Nagasaki which stopped damage from the nuclear explosion are shown. These walls are about 10 feet tall, and are wider at their base than at their top to avoid overturning by blast. They are made out of either precast reinforced concrete or earth-filled wooden panels. Both types fully protected vital Japanese machinery, such as electrical transformers, at 0.85 mile from ground zero in Nagasaki. Pages 516-7 of the 1957 edition shows photos of unprotected earth-moving equipment (bulldozer and road grader) badly damaged by 30 psi peak overpressure in a Nevada test: the road grader has lost tyres and the bulldozer is overturned with track damage. Another picture is shown of identical equipment completely protected after exactly the same 30 psi peak overpressure nuclear blast, because the bulldozer and road grader in this example are in an open trench (at right angles to the blast motion) which has a depth equal to the height of the equipment. Although some blast wave energy diffracted straight into the trench, the main mechanism for blast damage is wind drag, which is caused by directional dynamic pressure. Unlike the overpressure, the wind pressure does not diffract unless it is forced to do so by being blocked. Hence the blast wind blew straight over the top of the open trench, without causing any displacement or damage to the equipment. All of these photos and information were removed from all future editions of The Effects of Nuclear Weapons.

Some earlier posts related to nuclear effects and civil defence:

The best suggestion about how to shield fallout gamma radiation in the home in an emergency remains the old but valid idea of staying in an inner room, as far from outside walls and the roof as possible, and with as much massive furniture (or any other massive objects) intervening between the fallout contamination outside and the people taking refuge, as possible.

Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP)

It is interesting to quote the scientific section from the April 1962 edition of The Effects of Nuclear Weapons introducing the electromagnetic pulse, pages 502-506 of Chapter X, Radio and Radar Effects (for the 1977 edition chapter on electromagnetic pulse, which is a very different treatment and deals with high altitude burst EMP as well as that from air and surface bursts, click here). Notice that this April 1962 section is the first mention of EMP in the Effects of Nuclear Weapons (it is not mentioned in the 1950 or 1957 editions), and that at the time of publication (April 1962) the main EMP mechanism had not even been discovered (it was discovered after analysis of the results of the Starfish Prime nuclear test on 9 July 1962):

'The Electromagnetic Pulse

'Origin of the Electromagnetic Pulse

'The electromagnetic pulse or "radioflash" which is produced at the time of a nuclear detonation is of considerable interest. It is fairly well known that even small detonations of ordinary chemical explosives can produce electromagnetic signals, so it is not surprising that substantial pulses of this type accompany nuclear explosions.

'There appears to be at least two different mechanisms whereby an electromagnetic pulse may be produced by a nuclear explosion. The first is associated with the creation by radiations from the burst of some kind of asymmetry in the electric charge distribution in the region surrounding the detonation [the 'electric dipole' Nevada test EMP mechanism]; the second is the result of the rapid expansion of the essentially perfectly-conducting plasma of weapon residues in the earth's magnetic field [the magneto-hydrodynamic late-time EMP mechanism discovered after the 1958 Teak test]. The first mechanism, often called the 'Compton-electron model' for reasons which will be seen below, is believed to be the principal means for generation of electromagnetic pulses by detonations on or slightly avove the earth's surface and by those near the 'top' of the sensible atmosphere [this belief was totally wrong, since it completely ignored the magnetic-dipole mechanism, ie, the deflection of Compton electrons by the magnetic field which was discovered after the 9 July 1962 Starfish Prime test]. The other, called the 'field displacement' model [now called magneto-hydrodynamic EMP, or MHD-EMP], might be responsible for electromagnetic signals from underground bursts where the expansion is restrained in a more or less spherically symmetrical manner by the surrounding material, or from those at such great altitudes that the only interaction of the explosion is with the geometric field [wrong, because downward travelling gamma rays will still cause the Compton effect and the mechanism for EMP then will be by the deflection of of the Compton electrons by the earth's magnetic field].

'In the Compton-electron model the photons of the initial gamma radiation leave the exploding weapon with high energies, very soon collide with electrons in the atoms and molecules of the surrounding air, and transfer to them most of their energy. These Compton electrons move rapidly away, on the average, from the center of the burst. Provided some kind of asymmetry exists, this motion is apparently one of the main sources of the electromagnetic pulse. If the explosion were perfectly symmetrical, in a uniform atmosphere, the effects would be equal in all directions; the opposite components would then compensate each other exactly and there would be no electromagnetic signal. However, there are invariably a number of unrelated factors associated with a nuclear explosion which insures the presence of an asymmetry and, hence, of an electromagnetic pulse.

'The most obvious asymmetric situation is that arising from a surface or near-surface (within 350 feet or so) burst, where the presence of the earth itself confines expansion of the weapon residues and radiation emission to the upward hemisphere. At the other extreme, where the explosion takes place high in the atmosphere, there will be very little interaction by upward-moving gamma rays because of the low air density, whereas those going downward will produce Compton electrons within a moderate distance. In both these cases, though their detailed behavior is probably different and their directions are opposite, the effective Compton-electron pulse is essentially vertical. Moreover, no matter where the burst occurs, there is inevitably some asymmetry in the emission and interaction of the photons. For example, the gamma-ray flux from an exploding weapon is itself never fully symmetric because of the presence of auxiliary apparatus, external structure, or the carrying vehicle. It should be noted that, while the 'natural' asymmetries tend to be vertical, the other type may be oriented in any direction.

'The Compton electrons created by the initial gamma radiation thus move away symmetrically, at high velocity, from the exploding weapon. Since the remaining symmetrical components still compensate each other's effects, this motion appears from a distance to be a practically instantaneously accelerated pulse of current in one direction; it is, in other words, something like an 'electric dipole' radiator of classical electrodynamics. The current pulse in the air radiates electromagnetic energy just as it would if it were flowing in a wire transmitting antenna, and this radiation constitutes the first part of the characteristic signal of the explosion.

'When the Compton electrons move away from the explosion they leave behind much slower moving positive ions, which are the other component of the ion pairs. This relative displacement of positive and negative charges produces a radial electric field. In addition, in its passage through the air each Compton electron itself produces a large number of [secondary] electron-ion pairs, perhaps 30,000, mostly toward the end of its path of 10 to 15 feet [in sea level density air]. Under the influence of the radial electric field, the large number of electrons now present will be driven back toward the burst point. This initiates a second pulse of current, but it is rapidly terminated by recombination of electrons with ions and by attachment of the electrons to neutral atoms and molecules in the air, even before the electric field is neutralized. The negative ions produced in the attachment process, and a corresponding number ofpositive ions, remain free a while longer because the ions, being heavier and less mobile than electrons, collide less frequently. This large volume of ionized gas (or 'plasma') undergoes oscillations at characteristic frequencies similar to those observed in experimental plasmas in the laboratory. The oscillations damp out in a short time, as the negative particles (ions and electrons) combine with positive ions, but while they last they produce electromagnetic waves in the radiofrequency range.

'Characteristics of the Compton-Electron Signal

'The effective rise-time of the main part of the initial signal pulse (produced by the Compton electrons) from surface or near-surface bursts is of the order of 10^{-8} second, so that oscillation frequencies as high as 100 megacycles (10^8 cycles) per second [100 MHz] may be expected. However, only a very small part of the total electromagnetic energy radiated is carried at such high frequencies. In addition, the higher frequencies are attenuated much more rapidly than the lower ones in normal propagation through the atmosphere. The frequencies of the plasma oscillations, which continue for several milliseconds and radiate considerably more energy, are much longer. These frequencies are attenuated hardly at all in normal propagation. At the lower end of the spectrum are the extremely low frequencies (in the very low kilocycle region) which might be detected very close to any such excited radiating dipole; they would exist principally in the 'induction' and 'quasi-static' fields and not be radiation at all.

'The slectromagnetic signal, as detected at a range of a hundred miles or so, thus consists of a continuous specutrum with most of its energy distributed about a median frequency (10 to 15 kilocycles per second) which is related inversely to the yield. At much longer distances, of many hundreds or thousands of miles, the form and spectrum of the pulse are determined largely by the characteristics of the medium of propagation, i.e., the 'duct' between the surface of the earth and the D- or E-region of the ionosphere.

'A somewhat similar explosively-excited vertical dipole radiator which is frequently encountered in nature is lightning, and the electromagnetic signal (or static) associated with lightning also has a peak in the region of 10 kilocycles. This must not be taken, however, to mean that there is a detailed similarity in the modes of generation of the electromagnetic signals from lightning discharges and from nuclear explosions. The transmission path largely obliterates the characteristics of the original signal in both cases.

'The Field-Displacement Mechanism [Magneto-Hydrodynamic EMP, or MHD-EMP]

'The second possibility which has been mentioned for the generation of radiofrequency signals by a nuclear explosion is considered to be of particular significance for extremely-high-altitude bursts. Immediately after the detonation has occurred, the hot weapon debris is essentially a highly ionized vapor (or plasma) which is expanding rapidly. A property possessed by all plasmas is a tendency to exclude a magnetic field, such as that of the earth, from its interior. The expanding plasma of weapon residues thus causes a violent distortion of the earth's magnetic field. As a result of the interaction between the geomagnetic field and the charged particles in the expanding plasma and in the very tenuous, largely ionized, surrounding gases, this disturbance propagates away from the burst region as a 'hydromagnetic wave'.

'The hydrodynamic wave retains its identity and characteristics in propagating over very long distances at high altitudes, but at lower levels, where it interacts with the denser atmosphere, it is detected as an ordinary electromagnetic wave or magnetic disturbance. The field-displacement mechanism is believed to be especially important at very high altitudes where the air density is low and the expansion of the debris is not impeded by the atmospheric pressure. It is probable that the same mechanism may operate to produce an electromagnetic signal from an underground burst. The expansion of the debris is here limited to a few yards and the signal is therefore small, but it may be detectable at short ranges.'

More information on EMP at nuclear tests:

Review of Dr Austin M. Brues and Dr Arthur C. Upton (Chairmen), Proceedings of the Second Interdisciplinary Conference on Selected Effects of a General War, DASIAC Special Report 95, July 1969, vol. 2, DASA-2019-2, AD0696959. The abstract of this 423 pages long report states:

'This report is a result of a second conference on the selected effects of a general war held at Princeton, New Jersey, 4-7 October 1967. Specific topics included in this particular conference were the effects of the 1954 hydrogen bomb tests in the Pacific Ocean which resulted in the fallout contamination of Marshall Island natives and of the Japanese fishermen on the Fukuryu Maru (Lucky Dragon); the ecological effects of nuclear tests in the Pacific regions; and the effects of the aircraft accident in Spain, in which nuclear weapons broke up, but did not explode ('Spanish Incident'). The conference was sponsored by the Defense Atomic Support Agency under the auspices of the New York Academy of Sciences. This volume is the second of a 3-volume series on this subject. The other two volumes have similar titles and are numbered DASA 2019-1 and DASA 2019-3.'

Page 38 notes that the 'fallout' controversy stemmed to the 1 March 1954 Castle-Bravo nuclear weapons test when 23 Japanese crew on the No. 5 Fukuryu Maru ('Lucky Dragon No. 5') tuna trawler before dawn when they observed what appeared to be a 'sunrise' in the west-southwest followed by an explosion sound 7-8 minutes later. Because of the known speed of sound, these facts prove that the Japanese tuna trawler was 150 km east-northeast of ground zero, directly on the fallout hotline and near the north of Rongelap Atoll which received the most fallout. Fallout began to arrive on the ship 3-4 hours later when they were drawing in the nets. As a result, the fish and the crew were contaminated on exposed skin.

Beta burns take two weeks to appear and at that time, on 14 March, the trawler returned to Yaizu Harbour, Japan, and the fallout effects from the test began to appear.

On page 40, Dr Merril Eisenbud states that there was no evidence of a wind change that contaminated Rongelap:

'I was then Director of the [U.S. Atomic Energy Commission] Health and Safety Laboratory and was in direct communication with one of our teams stationed in the Marshall Islands. The only wind information I have ever seen came in an official dispatch, at H - 6 hours, which arrived in New York just a few hours before shot time. From my recollection I would say that it would not have required a wind shift to dump the fallout on Rongelap. Unfortunately, the situation has never been documented in a manner that would make it available to many of us who were interested in the exact meteorlogical circumstances.'

On pages 43-44, Dr Eisenbud adds: 'the instrument on Rongerik, which was an automatic instrument [a graph recorder radiation meter] went off scale [500 mR/hour] at H + 7 hours. This was an instrument that was not part of the Task Force. It was being operated by what was basically a CINCPAC-supported civilian organization based with the Task Force but not operating as part of it. When the instrument went off scale, the operating procedure called for the aerial confirmation of this and there was not enough interest in the Task Force to authorize sending a plane over the island to see if, in fact, the instrument was working properly. As I recall it, this was delayed about 36 hours. No information beyond the initial dispatches came into the States for about two days. In other words, there was just a complete breakdown as far as information was concerned, in taking the steps that were necessary in order to evaluate the situation, and to take the necessary palliative measures. ... right up to the last minute, with the fallout lying on the ground, the people just didn't go up to investigate.'

A sea plane was finally sent to check Rongelap two days after the detonation, the delay being due to the problems of fallout at Bikini Atoll (the firing party was trapped by the fallout and had to be evacuated) which took priority over the other inhabitants of the Marshall Islands including thr U.S. weather personnel who were contaminated on Rongerik Atoll to the east of Rongelap Atoll (they avoided beta radiation burns by washing fallout off skin and changing into long sleeved shirts). It was 50 hours after burst when 16 older people were evacuated by sea plane from Rongelap when it was surveyed, and 51 hours when a ship took the remaining 48 people to safety.

Regarding the contamination to the Japanses tuna trawler, Dr Eisenbud personally had to fly to Japan and measure it, as he states on page 48:

'I saw that ship March 22, 22 days later, and by that time it was still reading generally about 110 mR per hour ... we knew what the decay-characteristics were, and if we extrapolated from that ... to H plus four hours, the integrated dose was something better than 100 R. ... By this time the ship had been hosed ...'

Dr Theodore B. Taylor commented on page 51 about the detection of fallout from the 81 kt Dog shot on a 300 ft tall tower during Operation Greenhouse at Eniwetok Atoll in 1951 (a windshift unexpectedly blew fallout over the island where the personnel were living during the tests):

'Apropos of the Dog shot, fallout was clearly audible. There were little beads of steel from the tower that condensed, and one heard this constant tinkle, tinkle of steel from the tower hitting the aluminum roofs and then rolling down the gutters and piling up in little piles on the ground.'

On page 69, the issue is addressed as to why the irradiated Japanese fishermen did not at any time radio back to their home harbour a report of seeing the explosion and being contaminated by fallout (they were in contact with their home port twice daily by radio). The reason is given, with reference to Dr Ralph E. Lapp's book about the affair, The Voyage of the Lucky Dragon, that the crew had spent two months in jail in Indonesia for poaching and feared that the Americans would arrest them for allegedly spying on the nuclear test. In passing, it is interesting that Dr Ralph E. Lapp (who died in 2004) in 1954 first alerted the world's media to the radiation dangers in his many articles for the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists about the seriousness of the Bravo test fallout and its implications for civil defence, but in 2002 he wrote a letter to the Washington Post (Thursday, November 21, 2002; Page A40), Radiation Risk Realities, in which he complained about too much fear of radiation:

Washington Post, Thursday, November 21, 2002, page A40:

'Radiation Risk Realities

'The Nov. 11 front-page story on "dirty bomb" risks, "Hunting a Deadly Soviet Legacy," needed to put the threat in perspective. The release of radioactive cesium into the atmosphere from the Chernobyl plant in 1986 was 1,000 times as great as the release in the "dirty bomb" scenario.

'In assessing radiation risk, it is essential to understand the basic facts about data accumulated during half a century of medical studies. Among a half-million Hiroshima survivors, for example, fewer than 1 percent of the observed cancer deaths were the result of the A-bomb radiation.

'How many Americans know that?


Dr Lapp's issue with the media was that it ignored the facts and exaggerated or suppressed evidence simply to stay on the fashionable bandwaggon of popular hysteria which could motivate people to buy the paper or watch the media TV reports. Facts without hysteria don't sell the media efficiently to the ignorant, unlike exaggeration. The media feels no duty to inform people of facts, just to kill off competitors by exaggerating facts to create a fictional news 'story' which scares people and creates prejudices, bias and bigotry.

Continuing the review of Proceedings of the Second Interdisciplinary Conference on Selected Effects of a General War, DASIAC Special Report 95, July 1969, vol. 2, DASA-2019-2, AD0696959, page 76 has a discussion by Dr Lin Root of the death of the radio operator, Kuboyama Aikichi, of the Japanese fishing trawler about six months after exposure (he died on 23 September 1954).

He died of a hepatitis, a liver infection, due to an infected blood transplant. Dr Root explained: 'Japanese doctors give very small blood transfusions, and Kuboyama needed a great many.'

The blood transfusions killed him with an infection when his white blood cell count has been suppressed, and were of no practical use whatsoever in combating the radiation malaise, for which blood cells created continuously by regenerated bone marrow are required. If anything useful had been done, it would have been to have given a bone marrow transplant, not infected blood.

The bad beta burns to skin on the Japanese fishermen was due to the long exposure as they hauled in nets full of tuna for several hours. The fast decay of the fallout meant that most of the contact beta exposure occurred during that time. With the Marshallese Islanders on Rongelap and Ailinginae Atolls, the beta burns occurred to moist skin with sweat glands including the neck, armpits, elbows, and the top surfaces of feet but not the bottom surfaces of feet (which were in direct contact with the contaminated ground, but were not beta-burned, because of the extra thick deal skin layer on the soles of the feet, which stopped most of the beta particles). In addition, the Marshallese women used coconut oil as a hair dressing, which was sticky and retained fallout, causing exposure of the hair roots and epilation, beginning at about the same time as the beta burns (after a latent period of 14 days or so from time of exposure).

On page 85, Dr Theodore Taylor comments on radiation hysteria by involking the example of President Kennedy's ignorance of natural background radiation and the effects of dosage:

'I think the mystique is right here at home, typified by a comment that President Kennedy made to Jerry Wiesner when they were sitting together in the White House and it was raining out. Kennedy asked Wiesner whether there was fallout in the rain that was falling on the White House lawn, and Wiesner said, "Yes, there still is." This was an intense emotional experience for the President, to see rain with fallout on the outside; nothing connected with anything in any way quantitative at all. As far as he was concerned, that rain that was falling outside was bad.'

(For a very refreshing review of the controversy over safe levels and tolerance doses versus the popular mainstream 'all radiation kills, end of story' hysteria, see Dr Daniel J. Strom's amusing 1996 report The Linear, No-Threshold Dose-Response Model: Both Sides of the Story. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, Washington.)

An amusing argument, over whether the unknown risks of natural chemical in cranberries are similar to low level radiation risks, then occurred. Dr Stafford L. Warren responded:

'Not everybody buys cranberries and couldn't care less, but everybody is subjected more or less to the fallout.'

Dr Charles L. Dunham (of the Division of Medical Sciences, National Research Council, U.S. National Academy of Sciences) responded to Dr Warren:

'So is Vitamin A. It's toxic, too.'

On page 138 there is an interesting discussion of why the tree-climbing coconut crabs on Rongelap Atoll concentrated strontium-90, which being similar to calcium was highly diluted by the calcium in the coral (calcium carbonate) soil on Pacific Atolls like Rongelap, Bikini, Eniwetok, Utirik, etc. The tree-climbing coconut crab builds up a concentration of strontium-90 with calcium for forming a new shell when it outgrows the old one. Dr Lauren R. Donaldson explained:

'One distinct difference between the coconut crab and the usual crustacean is that as soon as the crab finishes the molting process and the new shell is formed, the crab eats the old shell and thus these minerals are returned to its body. ... So it preserves the minerals and they go on perpetuating this process year after year. This is a particular situation peculiar to the coconut crab. It's not typical of crustaceans in general.'

Dr Donaldson on page 191 presented a diagram of the distribution of beta and gamma emitting radionuclides at Rongelap Atoll in 1966 (which had been contaminated mainly by Bravo in 1954 and very slightly by Zuni in 1956), showing that Mn-54, Fe-55, Co-57, Co-60, Zn-65, Sr-90, Zr-95, Ru-106, Sb-125, Cs-137, Ce-144, and Eu-155 were present in the soil, Sr-90, Ru-106, Ce-144 and Eu-155 were in the lagoon bottom sediment, land plants took up Mn-54, Zn-65, Sr-90, and Cs-137, land crabs and rats took up Sr-90 and Cs-137, and humans took up Zn-65, Sr-90 and Cs-137. The Zn-65 in humans came from eating fish and birds, while the Sr-90 and Cs-137 came from eating land crabs and vegetation, particularly coconuts.

Lagoon algae contained Co-60, Ru-106, Ce-144, and Eu-155, while plankton contained Mn-54, Co-57, Co-60, Zn-65, Zr-95, Ru-106 and Ce-144. Lagoon fish eating the algae and plankton concentrated Mn-54, Co-60 and Zn-65, while marine invertebrates contained Mn-54, Co-57, Co-60, Zn-65, Sr-90, Ce-144 and Eu-155. Both lagoon fish and invertebrates were food for the birds, which were found to concentrate Mn-54, Co-60 and Zn-65.

Dr Lauren R. Donaldson showed a film, Return to Bikini, about the 1966 annual survey of Bikini radioactivity and environmental effects. The film discussion is on pages 230-1, and is quite remarkable.

Dr Charles L. Dunham: 'Lauren, this isn't the way I heard the story. There was a movie I saw a few years ago that was announced to the public by Ian Fleming with a 4-page spread in the London Times which showed little fish that had become disorientated, losing their way, trying to climb trees, which showed sea turtles who tried to find where to lay their eggs. They laid great quantities of eggs which were sterile and then couldn't find their way back to the sea. It showed piles and piles of tern eggs, which were also sterile, and very few terns. Now, which is the true story, sir?'

Dr Lauren R. Donaldson: 'Dr Dunham, during the period from 1946 to 1964 we were at Bikini and Eniwetok for several months most years. We made a total of 23 separate expeditions. No matter how hard we looked we could not find a mudskipper "trying to climb trees." In fact, there are no records of mudskippers at either atoll nor are there any mangrove swamps, the preferred habitat for mudskippers.'

Dr Charles L. Dunham: 'This was supposed to be an authentic movie of the aftermath of the atomic bomb in Bikini. Maybe you selected different parts of the atoll.'

Dr Lauren R. Donaldson: 'I think one would have to do more than select a different part of the atoll, in this particular case. I think even John Wolfe with his great accomplishments in environmental control couldn't build a mangrove swamp out in Bikini without an outflow of fresh water. This sort of completely falsified popular release is nothing but disgusting.'

Dr Theodore B. Taylor: 'Who made that particular movie, do you remember?'

Dr Charles L. Dunham: 'It was an Italian movie. It had a lot of other stuff in it. There were beautiful pictures, though. I must admit there were beautiful pictures of wildlife. As Lauren says, undoubtedly the ones of these mudskippers, as they call them, were taken in the mangrove swamps somewhere and there were lovely pictures of giant sea turtles laying eggs. Again they're apparently authentic pictures.'

Dr Frank Fremont-Smith: 'Maybe it was the photographer that was disorientated; thought he was in Bikini but wasn't.'

Dr Charles L. Dunham: 'That could be quite possible.'

On page 280, Dr Theodore B. Taylor discusses Dr Stonier's 1963 book, Nuclear Disaster:

'I think it's a fair statement to say that the book is essentially an anti-civil defense book; that the purpose of it is to decrease confidence in civil defense measures. The reason I'm saying that so emphatically is that there was a panel formed by the American Nuclear Society about two years ago to discuss civil defense. Eugene Wigner and I were on the side of civil defense and Stonier and someone in the Harvard Law School, whose name I've forgotten, were opposed to it. We had a very informative and worthwhile debate. He said that what he really has in mind in his writing now is to display the futility of civil defense. I think that's important because I think he would be the first to agree that he feels very strongly about this and gets emotionally involved in illustrating his point, namely, that the disaster, no matter what we do, will be so complete that we should not do anything which will indicate that people could get away with a nuclear war. I think that's his thesis. ... I think his thesis is that if we fail to prevent nuclear war, all is lost.'

On page 298, Dr Theodore B. Taylor stated his own pro-civil defense position:

'I must just say that as far as I'm concerned I have had some doubts about whether we should have had a civil defense program in the past. I have no doubt whatsoever now, for this reason, that I've seen ways in which the deterrent forces can fail to hold things off, so that no matter what our national leaders do, criminal organizations, what have you, groups of people over which we have no control whatsoever, can threaten other groups of people.'