National Geographic : 1953 Jun
clothed and placed throughout both houses, were found flung to the floor, chipped or crushed into powdery pieces by flying glass and debris. Only in experimental basement shelters were the mannequins un harmed (page 848). Dramatic Lesson in Civil Defense This dramatic de struction may serve a major purpose in safe guarding American homes. From data ob tained on the atomic proving ground, Civil Defense engineers can better evaluate and pre pare against the awful damage of an atomic at tack. Designs for better family and public shel ters may be one result. The Army is proving that human beings, properly dug in and protected, can survive atomic blasts at quite close range. Yet such demonstra tions by the Department of Defense and the Fed eral Civil Defense Ad ministration are second- 843 United Press Cadillac's Dummy Driver Barely Escaped Crushing Force of the bomb reached more than a mile to buckle the top of this car, one of 50 vehicles exposed to radiation and blast in the March 17 test. Val ary to the main purpose Peterson, Civil Defen, of the Atomic Energy Commission in Nevada. Its goal is to provide better weapons to ensure America's security against attack. The Nevada Proving Ground lies in one of the loneliest and most inhospitable regions of the country. The site was established only after careful study and widespread search for the best location. When 1951 opened, America had fired only one atomic bomb within its own borders-the blast near Alamogordo, New Mexico, on July 16, 1945. Two bombs had been dropped over Japan. Two were tested at Bikini Atoll in the Mar shall Islands in 1946.* Two years later, Eniwetok Atoll became a permanent Pacific Proving Ground for atomic tests of weapons of advanced power and development. But an atomic firing range closer to scien tific laboratories within the United States was needed to avoid the cost and time of sending all test operations far out into the Pacific. There are stages in development of a new se Administrator, checks the damaged car. weapon when only actual detonation can prove or disprove some new principle or design. Today's most powerful atomic bombs are never exploded in Nevada. Instead, the Atomic Energy Commission speaks of "nuclear devices" and "diagnostic shots." The Army talks of small-scale "tactical weapons," in cluding the atomic artillery shell. Four series of atomic tests have been con ducted at the Nevada Proving Ground. The total number of explosions there by the end of the spring series of 1953 was expected to be close to 30. The Atomic Energy Commission, reassuring the Nation, has declared: "No person has been exposed to a harmful amount of radiation from fall-out .. No per son has been injured by blast waves... Suc cessive tests have not resulted in the accumu * See, in the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE: "Farewell to Bikini," by Carl Markwith, July, 1946; and "Operation Crossroads" (Atomic Bomb Tests), 10 illustrations by Charles Bittinger and Joint Task Force I, April, 1947.