Woomera Ground Zero for British Atomic Tests – Maralinga Tjarutja, Australia - Atlas Obscura

Woomera Ground Zero for British Atomic Tests

Maralinga Tjarutja, Australia

This remote site in the Australian Outback is where the British government conducted atomic bomb tests in the 1950s. 

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In the 1950s and 60s, the British Government tested atomic bombs in Australia, mostly at the Woomera site in the state of South Australia. The first tests took place in 1952, near the Montebello Islands off Western Australia. Later tests took place on the Australian continent, first at Emu Field and then at Maralinga, starting in September 1956.

Britan stopped testing nuclear weapons in 1963, but Maralinga did not close until 1967. During cleanup efforts at the test site, contaminated debris was buried in trenches topped with concrete. Australian authorities did not discover the true extent of the plutonium contamination until 1984, just before the land was set to be returned to its Aboriginal owners. 

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April 16, 2024

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