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Free Geek Founder (and Outreach Coordinator)

Grant Writer

My shady past

When I was in junior college I worked part-time for SAIC (Science Applications International Corporation) as a draftsperson in their nuclear instrumentation division. While there I worked on three underground nuclear tests:

  • Midas Myth/Milagro, 05-15-1984, <20 KT yield
  • Misty Rain, 04-06-1985, <20 KT yield
  • Mighty Oak 04-10-1986, <20 KT yield

These were a series of tests of the W87 MIRV warhead for the new Peacekeeper MX missle. The DOE (Department of Energy) gives everyone who works on these tests a certificate that is a cartoon depicting the unique stories/exploits of the test in question. During Mighty Oak the shot "cratered and vented", which means a collapse of the ground above the test (or, if you prefer, THE GIGANTIC EXPLOSION!!!) and the release of radioactive stuff into the atmosphere (36,000 curies worth). Sadly, a technician was killed when the trailer he was working in fell into the crater. They left that part off of the certificate for that test.

Nuclear weapons are bad
They make me sad :(