Operation Vixen

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Vixen
Information
Country United Kingdom
Test site Maralinga Range, SAU
Period 1959-1963
Number of tests 13
Test type dry surface
Max. yield 0
Navigation
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The Vixen series of nuclear tests were all safety experiments, in which bomb mechanism with live core is subjected to abnormal conditions, such as fire, shock and electrical malfunctions to determine whether a nuclear criticality occurs. The obviously successful result is no nuclear criticality, but the high explosives that trigger the fission bomb may explode (in fact, are encouraged to), destroying the bomb and spreading the core material over a localized area.

United Kingdom's Vixen series tests and detonations
Name [note 1] Date time (UT) Local time zone [note 2][1] Location [note 3] Elevation + height [note 4] Delivery, [note 5]
Purpose [note 6]
Device [note 7] Yield [note 8] Fallout [note 9] References Notes
A
(31 separate events)
1959 through 1961 aCST (9.5 hrs)
Maralinga Range, SAU: Wewak 29°57′22″S 131°42′58″E / 29.956°S 131.716°E / -29.956; 131.716 (A) 180 m (590 ft) + 1 m (3 ft 3 in) dry surface,
safety experiment
unknown yield [2][3][4][5] 31 trials investigating criticality of a burning warhead, disbursed 4.2 kg (9.3 lb) beryllium, 68 kg (150 lb) U-238, .58 kg (1.3 lb) plutonium, 99 Ci (3,700 GBq) of Po-210 and 1.96 curies (73 GBq) of Ac-227.
B1 7 September 1960 23:20:?? aCST (9.5 hrs)
Maralinga Range, SAU: Taranaki D 29°53′32″S 131°35′30″E / 29.8922°S 131.5917°E / -29.8922; 131.5917 (B1) 180 m (590 ft) + 2.5 m (8 ft 2 in) dry surface,
safety experiment
no yield [2][4][5][6] The Vixen B series investigated safety of bombs when the explosives are fired by other then the expected normal ignition sequence. Total disbursement across all 12 tests was 22.2 kg (49 lb) plutonium,.
B2 24 September 1960 22:40:?? aCST (9.5 hrs)
Maralinga Range, SAU: Taranaki C 29°53′33″S 131°35′35″E / 29.8925°S 131.593°E / -29.8925; 131.593 (B2) 180 m (590 ft) + 2.5 m (8 ft 2 in) dry surface,
safety experiment
no yield [2][4][5][6][7] 22.4 kg (49 lb) U-235, 24.9 kg (55 lb) U-238, 17.6 kg (39 lb) beryllium. 90% of the debbursements from the tests was buried in pits (later opened in Operation Brumby), and 10% disbursed to the environment.
B3 3 October 1960 07:50:?? aCST (9.5 hrs)
Maralinga Range, SAU: Taranaki E 29°53′33″S 131°35′25″E / 29.8925°S 131.5903°E / -29.8925; 131.5903 (B3) 180 m (590 ft) + 2.5 m (8 ft 2 in) dry surface,
safety experiment
no yield [2][4][5][6]
B1 - Lima 1 13 April 1961 11:44:?? aCST (9.5 hrs)
Maralinga Range, SAU: Taranaki H 29°53′33″S 131°35′30″E / 29.8926°S 131.5917°E / -29.8926; 131.5917 (B1 - Lima 1) 180 m (590 ft) + 2.5 m (8 ft 2 in) dry surface,
safety experiment
no yield [2][4][5][6]
B1 - Lima 2 23 April 1961 05:00:?? aCST (9.5 hrs)
Maralinga Range, SAU: Taranaki G 29°53′34″S 131°35′34″E / 29.8929°S 131.5927°E / -29.8929; 131.5927 (B1 - Lima 2) 180 m (590 ft) + 2.5 m (8 ft 2 in) dry surface,
safety experiment
no yield [2][4][5][6][7]
B1 - Lima 3 8 May 1961 12:00:?? aCST (9.5 hrs)
Maralinga Range, SAU: Taranaki B 29°53′36″S 131°35′38″E / 29.8934°S 131.5939°E / -29.8934; 131.5939 (B1 - Lima 3) 180 m (590 ft) + 2.5 m (8 ft 2 in) dry surface,
safety experiment
no yield [2][4][5][6][7]
B1 - Lima 4 18 May 1961 07:30:?? aCST (9.5 hrs)
Maralinga Range, SAU: Taranaki J 29°53′34″S 131°35′26″E / 29.8928°S 131.5906°E / -29.8928; 131.5906 (B1 - Lima 4) 180 m (590 ft) + 2.5 m (8 ft 2 in) dry surface,
safety experiment
no yield [2][4][5][6][8]
B1 - Lima 5 25 May 1961 05:30:?? aCST (9.5 hrs)
Maralinga Range, SAU: Taranaki F 29°53′36″S 131°35′21″E / 29.8933°S 131.5893°E / -29.8933; 131.5893 (B1 - Lima 5) 180 m (590 ft) + 2.5 m (8 ft 2 in) dry surface,
safety experiment
no yield [2][4][5][6]
B3 - Lima 1 26 March 1963 00:20:?? aCST (9.5 hrs)
Maralinga Range, SAU: Taranaki PD 29°53′35″S 131°35′30″E / 29.893°S 131.5917°E / -29.893; 131.5917 (B3 - Lima 1) 180 m (590 ft) + 2.5 m (8 ft 2 in) dry surface,
safety experiment
no yield [2][4][5][6]
B3 - Lima 2 2 April 1963 06:15:?? aCST (9.5 hrs)
Maralinga Range, SAU: Taranaki PE 29°53′36″S 131°35′27″E / 29.8932°S 131.5908°E / -29.8932; 131.5908 (B3 - Lima 2) 180 m (590 ft) + 2.5 m (8 ft 2 in) dry surface,
safety experiment
no yield [2][4][5][6]
B3 - Lima 3 9 April 1963 05:10:?? aCST (9.5 hrs)
Maralinga Range, SAU: Taranaki PC 29°53′36″S 131°35′33″E / 29.8932°S 131.5925°E / -29.8932; 131.5925 (B3 - Lima 3) 180 m (590 ft) + 2.5 m (8 ft 2 in) dry surface,
safety experiment
no yield [2][4][5][6]
B3 - Lima 4 14 April 1963 03:54:?? aCST (9.5 hrs)
Maralinga Range, SAU: Taranaki M 29°53′37″S 131°35′23″E / 29.8935°S 131.5897°E / -29.8935; 131.5897 (B3 - Lima 4) 180 m (590 ft) + 2.5 m (8 ft 2 in) dry surface,
safety experiment
no yield [2][4][5][6]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The US, France and Great Britain have code-named their test events, while the USSR and China did not, and therefore have only test numbers (with some exceptions – Soviet peaceful explosions were named). Word translations into English in parentheses unless the name is a proper noun. A dash followed by a number indicates a member of a salvo event. The US also sometimes named the individual explosions in such a salvo test, which results in "name1 – 1(with name2)". If test is canceled or aborted, then the row data like date and location discloses the intended plans, where known.
  2. ^ To convert the UT time into standard local, add the number of hours in parentheses to the UT time; for local daylight savings time, add one additional hour. If the result is earlier than 00:00, add 24 hours and subtract 1 from the day; if it is 24:00 or later, subtract 24 hours and add 1 to the day. All historical timezone data are derived from here:
  3. ^ Rough place name and a latitude/longitude reference; for rocket-carried tests, the launch location is specified before the detonation 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.
  4. ^ 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 or units indicates the value is unknown, while "0" means zero. Sorting on this column is by elevation and height added together.
  5. ^ Atmospheric, airdrop, balloon, gun, cruise missile, rocket, surface, tower, and barge are all disallowed by the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. Sealed shaft and tunnel are underground, and remained useful under the PTBT. Intentional cratering tests are borderline; they occurred under the treaty, were sometimes protested, and generally overlooked if the test was declared to be a peaceful use.
  6. ^ Include weapons development, weapon effects, safety test, transport safety test, war, science, joint verification and industrial/peaceful, which may be further broken down.
  7. ^ Designations for test items where known, "?" indicates some uncertainty about the preceding value, nicknames for particular devices in quotes. This category of information is often not officially disclosed.
  8. ^ Estimated energy yield in tons, kilotons, and megatons. A ton of TNT equivalent is defined as 4.184 gigajoules (1 gigacalorie).
  9. ^ Radioactive emission to the atmosphere aside from prompt neutrons, 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 "all" if not; otherwise notation for whether measured on the site only or off the site, where known, and the measured amount of radioactivity released.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Timezone Historical Database". iana.com. Retrieved March 8, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m McClelland, J. R.; Fitch, J.; Jonas, W. J. A. (1985). Report of the Royal Commission into British Nuclear Tests in Australia. Commonwealth of Australia. ISBN 0 644 04434 9. Retrieved January 24, 2014. 
  3. ^ Cross, Roger; Hudson, Avon (2006). Beyond Belief: The British Bomb Tests: Australia's Veterans Speak Out. Wakefield Press. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Rehabilitation of Former Nuclear Test Sites at Emu and Maralinga (Australia) 2003 (Technical report). Canberra City, CT: Maralinga Rehabilitation Technical Advisory Committee, Department of Education, Science and Training. 2002. Retrieved December 18, 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m 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. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Burns, Peter A.; Cooper, Malcolm B.; Johnston, Peter N.; Williams, Geoffrey A. (December 1990). Properties of Plutonium-Contaminated Particles Resulting from British Vixen B Trials at Maralinga (ARL/TR086) (Technical report). Yallambie, VIC, Australia: Australian Radiation Laboratory. 
  7. ^ a b c Milliken, Robert (1986). No Conceivable Injury. Ringwood, Victoria, Australia: Penguin Books. 
  8. ^ King's College London, Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives, Nuclear History Database (Technical report). Liddell Hart Centre. May 19, 2005. Retrieved January 17, 2014.