“Col. Fields said that Gen. Groves [the director of the Manhattan Project which made the first atomic bombs] is very much afraid of claims being instituted by men who participated in the Bikini tests.”
The official documents of Operation Crossroads, which consisted of two atomic bomb tests, show that it was conducted in a manner which was grossly negligent regarding radiological safety for the 42,000 people who witnessed it. Conditions were particularly bad in regard to the second atomic test, named “Baker,” on July 25, 1946.
Test Baker was to to be the first ever underwater explosion. Conditions were therefore particularly uncertain. The Radiological Safety Section had predicted that if the radioactive “column” from the explosion did not rise more than 10,000 feet – as was in fact the case – that radiological conditions would be “extremely serious.” It was further predicted that the radioactive spray would utterly contaminate the target ships which “may remain dangerous for an indeterminable time thereafter.”