Phenomenology of Contained Nuclear Explosions

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On September 19, l957, the first completely contained nuclear explosion was fired at the Nevada Test Site. The explosion had an energy release equivalent to 1700 tons of high explosive, which was calculated as a total energy release of 1.7 x 10/sup 12/ calories. The code name Rainier'' was assigned to this burst. From an analysis of cores obtained from drill holes into the Hainier zero site, as well as measurements made in these holes, it was concluded that the radioactivity, with negligible exceptions, was all trapped dn the 700 tons of melted rock. When the cavity collapsed this material ... continued below

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Pages: 27

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Johnson, G. W. & Violet, C. E. December 1, 1958.

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Description

On September 19, l957, the first completely contained nuclear explosion was fired at the Nevada Test Site. The explosion had an energy release equivalent to 1700 tons of high explosive, which was calculated as a total energy release of 1.7 x 10/sup 12/ calories. The code name Rainier'' was assigned to this burst. From an analysis of cores obtained from drill holes into the Hainier zero site, as well as measurements made in these holes, it was concluded that the radioactivity, with negligible exceptions, was all trapped dn the 700 tons of melted rock. When the cavity collapsed this material fell to the bottom of the cavity. Experiments with this material have shown that it is in fine solution in the glass and is unavailable in amounts sufficient to cause ground water contamination. The region produced by the collapse of the cavity, comprising some 200,000 tons, is highly permeable to water and is not contaminated by radioactive debris. The crushed region produced by the shock is much less permeable. Gaseous radioactive fission products did not penetrate into this region during or after the explosion. More than one half the total energy release of the bomb was contained in rock initially at high temperature. Because of the presence of large quantities of water and the high permeability of the central region, the heat redistributed itself to the temperature of boiling water. The seismic ground shock was not felt beyond a distance of 2.5 miles. Electrical cabling and electronics recording systems housed in a light metal-frame building at a distance of 2,000 ft from the center of detonation suffered no damage or visually observed effects of any sort. During the month of October, 1958, several additional underground shots were detonated at various scaled depths with energy releases from about 100 tons to more than 20 kilotons. Gross results from these explosions indicate that for explosions in the kiloton region and above complete containment of all radioactive debris can be achieved. (C.H.)

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Pages: 27

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  • Other Information: Orig. Receipt Date: 31-DEC-59

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  • Report No.: UCRL-5124(Rev.1)
  • Grant Number: W-7405-ENG-48
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 4254880
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc1022914

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

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Creation Date

  • December 1, 1958

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Oct. 15, 2017, 10:09 p.m.

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  • Jan. 17, 2018, 6:31 p.m.

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Johnson, G. W. & Violet, C. E. Phenomenology of Contained Nuclear Explosions, report, December 1, 1958; California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1022914/: accessed October 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.