The Anthropocene

The Anthropocene

  • We were born or very small when the nuclear tests were first conducted. The tests will cause many to die from cancers that would not have existed otherwise.
  • 1951┬áThe first nuclear test occurs at the Nevada Test Site.June – First British nuclear reactor goes critical.Julius and Ethel Rosenberg are convicted and sentenced to death for passing information on atomic weapons to the U.S.S.R.
  • 1952-September – A second U.S. nuclear weapons laboratory is established in Livermore, California.October 3 – First British atomic bomb, “Hurricane,” was tested at Monte Bello Islands, Australia, with a yield of 25 kilotons.October 31 – U.S. explodes first thermonuclear or fusion device, “Mike,” at Eniwetok Atoll. It had a yield of 10.4 megatons.
  • 1953 August 12 – First Soviet layer cake design bomb explodes on a tower in Siberia. It was not a “true” hydrogen bomb.
  • 1954 March 1 – The first deliverable hydrogen bomb design is tested at Bikini Atoll. “BRAVO” has a yield of 14.8 megatons. Radioactive fallout affects local islanders and a nearby fishing boat.April 12 to May 6 – Hearings regarding Oppenheimer’s loyalty cause him to lose his security clearance.September 30 – The USS Nautilus, the first American nuclear powered submarine, is launched.
  • 1955 The U.S.S.R. deploys two strategic bombers, Bear and Bison.The United Kingdom announces the decision to develop thermonuclear weapons.November 22 – The first true fusion device test is acheived by the Soviet Union; it has a yield of 1.6 megatons. The development is lead by Andrei Sakharov.
  • 1957 May 15 – First British H-bomb exploded at Christmas Island. The yield was between 200 – 300 kilotons. It was less than expected.July 29 – The United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency is created. The agency inspects nuclear reactors and plants to ensure they are being run for peaceful purposes.August 26 – The Soviet Union announces the successful launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile. September 19 – First underground nuclear test, “Rainier,” occurs at the Nevada Test Site. It had a yield of 1.7 kilotons.November 8 – Britain’s first truly successful thermonuclear bomb test. The bomb had a yield of 1.8 megatons.October – Fire destroys the core of a reactor at Britain’s Windscale nuclear complex, sending clouds of radioactivity into the atmosphere.
  • 1958 July 2 – President Eisenhower signs amendments to the 1954 U.S. Atomic Energy Act which opened the way to a bilateral agreement between Britain and America on nuclear weapon design information.November 1958 to September 1961 – U.S., U.K., and U.S.S.R. observe an informal moratorium on nuclear tests.
  • 1959 June 9 – The first U.S. Polaris nuclear missile-capable submarine enters into service.October 31 – The U.S. deploys the first operational intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), the Atlas D.
  • 1960 February 13 – The first French nuclear test occurs at Reganne, Algeria, in the Sahara Desert. It has a yield of 60-70 kilotons.July 20 – The United States submarine USS George Washington successfully launches a Polaris missile from underwater.November 15 – USS George Washington and its 16 Polaris A1s begin their first patrol.U.S. deploys the Atlas and Titan ICBMs. 1961 February 1 – U.S. launches the Minuteman I missile.September 1 – U.S.S.R. resumes nuclear testing.September 15 – U.S. resumes nuclear testing.October 31 – U.S.S.R. explodes the world’s largest nuclear bomb, with a yield of 58 megatons.
  • 1962 July 6 – Project Sedan, a Plowshare Program test, is conducted; formed a 1,280-foot diameter by 320 foot deep crater.July 8 – Electromagnetic pulse from high-altitude nuclear test turns off street lights in Oahu, Hawaii.October 16-28 – The Cuban Missile Crisis occurs. The closest the world has ever come to nuclear war.
  • 1963 June 20 – The U.S. and U.S.S.R. sign the ‘hot line’ agreement. August 5 – Limited Test Ban Treaty signed by the U.S., U.S.S.R. and the U.K., prohibiting tests of nuclear devices in the atmosphere, in outer space, and underwater.
  • 1964 October 16 – China explodes its first atomic bomb at the Lop Nur test site. It was an uranium 235 implosion fission device named “596” and has a yield of 22 kilotons.
  • 1966 January 17 – U.S. B-52 bomber crashes near Palomares, Spain with four unarmed hydrogen bombs. All four bombs are recovered.September 24 – First French atomic bomb tested at Muruoa Atoll.U.S. Minuteman ICBM enters service.
  • 1967 January 27 – Outer Space Treaty bans nuclear weapons being placed on any celestial body, or in orbit around the Earth.February 14 – Treaty of Tlatelolco signed, creates a Latin America nuclear-weapons-free zone.June 17 – First hydrogen bomb test by the Chinese, with a yield of 3.3 megatons. 1968 July 1 – Non-Proliferation Treaty opened for additional signatures.August 24 – France tests its first hydrogen bomb at Fangataufa Atoll in the South Pacific. It has a yield of 2.6 megatons.
  • 1969 March 14 – President Richard M. Nixon announces the decision to deploy a missile defense system called “Safeguard” to protect U.S. ICBM fields from attack.November to December – Preliminary Strategic Arms
  • 1970 March 5 – Non-Proliferation Treaty enters into force; 100 nations ratify it by 1980.August 19 – U.S. deploys the first missile with multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles (MIRVs).1971 March 30 – The first Poseidon submarine-launched ballistic missiles are introduced by the U.S.
  • 1972 May 26 – President Nixon and General Secretary Brezhnev sign the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty, the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT) and the Interim Agreement on Strategic Offensive Arms, in Moscow.November – SALT II treaty negotiations begin.
  • 1974 May 18 – India sets off a low-yield device (8 kilotons) under Rajasthan desert.July 3 – The Threshold Test Ban Treaty (TTBT) is signed in Moscow. It limits nuclear test explosions to under 150 kilotons.November 24 – President Ford and General Secretary Brezhnev sign the Vladivostok Accord, agreeing to limit the number of strategic launchers (2400) and MIRV launchers (1320).
  • 1976 March 31 – Threshold Test Ban Treaty enters into force.May 28 – President Gerald Ford and General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev sign the Underground Nuclear Explosions for Peaceful Purposes (PNE) Treaty.
  • 1977 July 7 – United States successfully tests a neutron bomb. The primary lethal effects of a neutron bomb, also known as an enhanced-radiation weapon, come from the radiation damage caused by the neutrons it emits.
  • 1978 April 7 – United States cancels development of the Enhanced Radiation Weapon or neutron bomb.
  • 1979 March 28 – Three Mile Island Nuclear Power plant near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, suffers a partial-core meltdown. Minimal radioactive material is released.June 18 – SALT II Treaty is signed in Vienna, Austria, by Brezhnev and President Carter.September 22 – A mysterious flash detected by a U.S. VELA satellite (that were deployed in support of the Limited Test Ban Treaty of 1963) is determined to be from a clandestine nuclear explosion. Originally, the Carter administration claims that the event was not the result of a nuclear test. However, it was revealed in 1993 that this event is from a South African nuclear test.December 26 – U.S.S.R. invades Afghanistan; SALT II Treaty removed from consideration from the U.S. Senate.mitation Treaty (SALT) talks take place in Helsinki, Finland.