The U.S. Conducted Atomic Weapons Tests On Beer

by Christopher Paul on September 20, 2012

In 1955, the US started what could arguably be the most important nuclear research since the discovery of fission and the Manhattan Project: they studied the effects of nuclear weapons on beer.

Both cans and bottles were tested in different proximities to two bomb blasts (one equivalent to 20 kilotons of TNT, the other to 30 kilotons). No surprise, the cans fared better, but both did surprisingly well overall. The closest beverages were just over 1,000 feet away from the blast; the farthest were two miles back. The irradiating effects on both were minimal, and the scientists claimed it would be drinkable for “emergency use,” which Wellerstein points out means OK “in the short term.”

You’ll be happy to know that our tax dollars and radioactive experiments showed that taste was minimally affected but, since it was probably Budweiser or Miller, no one would have noticed anyway.


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