Hurricane exploded in the hold of a frigate
|Test site||Montebello Island, West Australia|
|Number of tests||1|
|Max. yield||25 kilotonnes of TNT (100 TJ)|
|Next test series||Operation Totem|
||This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (March 2012)|
Several key British scientists had worked on the Manhattan Project and after returning to the UK worked on the British atom bomb project, so unsurprisingly the weapon had a close similarity to Fat Man (Nagasaki) weapon, although the McMahon Atomic Energy Act of 1946 prevented any British access to the US design data. The design used a hollow core, unlike the gadget tested at Trinity. This increased the expected yield of the bomb to 30 kilotons, although the actual yield was closer to 25 kilotons. The bomb core used 7 kg of plutonium produced mainly at Windscale (now Sellafield) in Cumbria with a low Pu-240 content of only 2%. Pu-240 is an unavoidable contaminant of Pu-239 produced by irradiation of uranium in a thermal reactor; its effect in a bomb core is to increase the risk of a "fizzle" or pre-detonation. The only way to keep it within acceptable limits at that time was to limit the time the reactor fuel was exposed in the reactors. The Canadian Chalk River plant supplied 5 kg of plutonium by April 1952. and by August 1952 the Windscale plant had supplied 18 kg. No records exist to show whether any of the Canadian material was used in the Hurricane test device; more than one fissile core was prepared for the trial, each to a different design.
To test the effects of a ship-smuggled bomb (a threat of great concern to the British at the time), Hurricane was exploded inside the hull of HMS Plym (a 1,370-ton River class frigate) which was anchored in 12 metres (39 ft) of water, 350 metres (1,150 ft) off Trimouille Island. The explosion occurred 2.7 metres (8 ft 10 in) below the water line, and left a saucer-shaped crater on the seabed 6 metres (20 ft) deep and 300 metres (980 ft) across.
The United Kingdom test series summary table is here: United Kingdom's nuclear testing series.
The detonations in the United Kingdom's Hurricane series are listed below:
|Name[note 1]||Date time (UT)||Local time zone[note 2]||Location[note 3]||Elevation + height[note 4]||Delivery[note 5]||Purpose[note 6]||Device[note 7]||Yield[note 8]||Venting[note 9]||References||Notes|
|Hurricane||October 3, 1952 00:59:24||AWST
||Montebello Island, West Australia||0 - 2.7 m (8 ft 10 in)||barge||weapon effect||American Mark 3 design, levitated pit||25 kt||||Exploded in the hold of the HMS Plym (a 1,370 short tons (1,240 t) River class frigate).|
- The US, France and Great Britain have code-named their test events, while the USSR and China have not, and therefore have only test numbers (with some exceptions - Soviet peaceful explosions were named). A dash followed by a number indicates a member of a salvo event. The US also named the individual explosions in such a test,which results in "name1 - 1(with name2)". If test is canceled or aborted, then row data is intended plans.
- To compute local standard time "AWST" (Western Australia ST) from UT, add 8 hours to the UT. If that time is 24:00 or higher, subtract 24 hours and advance the date by one day.
- Rough place name and a Latitude/Longitude reference; for rocket bursts, the launch location is specified before the burst location, if known. Some locations are extremely accurate; others (like airdrops and space blasts) may be quite inaccurate. "~" indicates a likely pro-forma rough location, shared with other tests in that same area.
- Elevation is the ground level at the point directly below the explosion relative to sea level; height is the additional distance added or subtracted by tower, balloon, shaft, tunnel, air drop or other contrivance. For rocket bursts the ground level is "N/A". In some cases it is not clear if the height is absolute or relative to ground, for example, Plumbbob/John. No number/units indicates the value is unknown, while "0" means zero.
- Atmospheric, airdrop, balloon, gun, cruise missile, rocket, surface, tower, barge and cratering are all disallowed by the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. Sealed shaft and tunnel are underground, and remained useful under the PTBT.
- Include weapons development, weapon effects, safety test, transport safety test, war, science, joint verification and industrial/peaceful, which may be further broken down.
- Designations for test items where known, nicknames for particular devices in quotes.
- Estimated energy yield in tonnes, kilotonnes, and megatonnes (all metric units).
- Emissions to atmosphere, where known. The measured species is only iodine-131 if mentioned, otherwise it is all species. No entry means unknown, probably none if underground and everything if not; otherwise notation for whether measured on the site only or off the site, and the maximum amount of radiation released.
- The National Archives, London, ES 1/11.
- Yang, Xiaoping; North, Robert; Romney, Carl. CMR Nuclear Explosion Database (Revision 3). SMDC Monitoring Research.
- Norris, Robert S.; Burrows, Andrew S.; Fieldhouse, Richard W. (1994). Nuclear Weapons Databook, Vol. 5: British, French, and Chinese Nuclear Weapons. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.
- Cooper, Malcolm B.; Lokan, Keith H.; Williams, Geoffrey A. (1983-11-01). The Radiological Status of the Monte Bello Islands: May 1983. Yallambie, VIC, Australia: Australian Radiation Laboratory. Retrieved 2013-12-18.
- Cathcart, Brian (1994). Test of Greatness: Britain's Stuggle for the Atom Bomb. Cambridge, UK: John Murray.
- Bird, Peter (1989) Operation Hurricane Worcester: Square One Publications. ISBN 1-872017-10-X First published: 1953.
- AWE history
- Original AWE page available from archive.org
- British nuclear weapons testing in Australia[dead link]
- Operation Hurricane - Ministry of Supply made documentary
- Better quality extract from the same video of the Hurricane Nuclear Test
- Atomic Forum[dead link]
- Britain's Nuclear Weapons-From MAUD to Hurricane
- Operation Hurricane by National Archives of Australia - Vimeo
- Declassified AWRE reports and National Archives files on Operation Hurricane's scientific and civil defence implications