Number 7 - The Operation Grapple Exclusion Zone.
This is number 7 of a 15 part blog series, created by Mr Roy Sefton, Chair of the New Zealand Nuclear Test Veterans Association.
The nuclear weapons test site duties of the RNZN frigates, HMNZS's Pukaki and Rotoiti were to release weather balloons and report the results, air-sea rescue, submarine detection, and to intercept and escort intruders out of the Exclusion Zone.
Below is a copy Pukaki's 15/5/57 daily orders for Grapple 1, the first of nine detonations comprising Operation Grapple.
Pukaki did duty at all 9 detonations. Rotoiti did duty at the first 4 detonations. An early press item regarding the exclusion zone, and a copy of the leaflet that would be dropped by aircraft on unauthorised ships that ventured into the Exclusion Zone. The warning of danger is repeated in a number of languages on the reverse.
The zone is extensive and considered a danger to ships and aircraft. Surely the servicemen who served within the Exclusion Zone should also be considered at high risk from radiation. The renowned American Physicist, Dr Karl Morgan, who was the US adviser to the British, personally stated to myself, and in the Documentary, ' The Truth of Christmas Island', “the New Zealand frigates were in the most danger.”
This was due to fallout in rain that he ships encountered during their long periods at sea, and the American monitoring procedures that the British followed, and of which Dr Morgan considered to be inadequate.
Of particular interest are the boundaries of the Exclusion Zone. The boundaries are conveniently adjusted to safely accommodate Jarvis Island and Fanning Island outside of the danger area.
One must wonder does ionising radiation have some form of unique intelligence that enables it recognise such boundaries and not enter those that are defined as safe?…….
Roy Sefton QSM Chair New Zealand Nuclear Test Veterans Association.