Operation Doorstep (March 17, 1953)

04Oct09

According to NNSA, the March 17, 1953  ANNIE 16-kiloton and the May 5, 1955,  APPLE-2 29-kiloton tests

…were conducted at the Nevada Test Site; ANNIE being part of Operation Upshot-Knothole, and APPLE-2 being part of Operation Teapot. The titles, Operation Doorstep and Cue, were Civil Defense Program names.

Operation Doorstep photos and test films are available on the Web at DOE’s National Nuclear Security Administration, Nevada  Site Office. However, the Federal Civil Defense Administration’s companion doc Operation Doorstep: AEC Atomic Proving Ground (Yucca Flat, Nevada, March 17, 1953, SuDoc: FCD 1.2:Op 2) hasn’t been available until now on Web, although the paper doc is held in selected federal documents depositories.

Operation Doorstep (or the March 17, 1953  ANNIE 16-kiloton bomb, detonated from a 300 foot steel tower under  “unfavorable winds,”  p.28) was designed to assess “radiation phases” (p.28), thermal effects, and physical damage to autos, frame homes, buildings, and humans from an atomic explosion and wave. Also studied were the viability of the home and backyard shelters from an atomic bomb.

Perhaps the most striking feature of Doorstep were the conservatively dressed (white) mannequins extensively posed in 1950s family settings to mimic social activity in the event of an atomic attack. The mannequins were “weighted” with sand (p. 9) with their clothing provided by JC Penney (p.2). After the detonation,  mannequins were then examined in relation to their positions during the “attack.” damagedmannequins

Operation Doorstep marked the first time “Civil Defense observers were allowed to witness a technical test program” (p.2). P. 28-29 is an interesting account of the “10-milliroentgen-per-hour line” as observers viewed Doorstep.

Operation Doorstep is here.

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