Radioactive decontamination at the Nevada Proving Ground, April 23, 1951

The U.S. Nuclear Weapons Cost Study Project was completed in August 1998 and resulted in the book Atomic Audit: The Costs and Consequences of U.S. Nuclear Weapons Since 1940 edited by Stephen I. Schwartz. These project pages should be considered historical.


Demonstrating a common decontamination procedure, Lieutenant Colonel Robert Cassidy uses a broom to remove radioactive dust from Lieutenant Colonel Glover Johns following the 1952 Charlie test at the Nevada Proving Ground. Johns had toured the blast area shortly after the test along with other troops at "Camp Desert Rock." If his clothes were in fact contaminated, this procedure would have returned some of the contamination to the air, where it could be inhaled or ingested. Radioactive particles would also adhere to the broom, possibly spreading contamination to those who may not have been initially affected.


Credit: National Archives