Eli5 Why were the nuclear tests of operation hardtack conducting underwater(atleast some of them)?


Wouldn’t that affect the aquatic life there?

In: Other

> Wouldn’t that affect the aquatic life there?

Yes, but unfortunately so does all the surface and higher altitude testing that sprinkles down radioactive contamination.

The purpose of the tests was mainly to figure out how nuclear explosions underwater would affect Navy ships, submarines and the materials used for those. There actually *were* nuclear-armed torpedoes created during the Cold War – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_torpedo – and it was important to understand how they might be used against enemy and friendly forces alike. Underwater explosions are a bit of a different beast than regular surface/in-air explosions since they create massive pockets of pressure that can do a lot of damage even if they don’t directly hit the ship themselves, and the tests were trying to figure out just how damaging and how far that effect would go.