Courtesy: U.S. Department of Energy In 1948, the U.S. nuclear stockpile consisted of approximately 50 atomic bombs. Since the industrial complex to produce more nuclear weapons was not fully complete and there were limited amounts of plutonium, researchers wanted to develop more efficient implosion bombs. Operation Sandstone was a series of atmospheric nuclear "proof tests" conducted in the Pacific Proving Grounds Marshall Islands area April and May 1948. The goal of this test series was to prove the workability of changes to implosion warhead design that used less plutonium. The first shot, X-ray, conducted on April 14, 1948, had a yield of 37 kilotons. The second shot, Yoke, detonated on April 30, had a yield of 49 kilotons, while the last shot, Zebra, occurred on May 14 with a yield of 18 kilotons. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Sandstone Operation Sandstone was the third American series of nuclear weapon tests. It was conducted in 1948 at Enewetak Atoll. These tests followed Crossroads and preceded Ranger. As was the custom, each explosion was given a nickname. The tests were authorized on June 27, 1947 and Enewetak Atoll was chosen as the test site on October 11. The 140 inhabitants of the atoll were relocated to Ujelang Atoll in December. The tests were used to evaluate new atomic weapon designs that had been developed at Los Alamos as part of the Manhattan Project but had not previously been used. The bombs used oralloy, a form of enriched uranium, as a replacement for plutonium, which had been used in all atomic weapons prior to this with the exception of the "Little Boy" bomb dropped on Hiroshima, which utilized uranium-235. The X-Ray test used a 2:1 mix of oralloy and plutonium. The Yoke and Zebra tests used all oralloy.
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