The Bayo Canyon/radioactive lanthanum (RaLa) program
The Bayo Canyon/radioactive lanthanum (RaLa) program LANL conducted 254 radioactive lanthanum (RaLa) implosion experiments Sept. 1944-March 1962, in order to test implosion designs for nuclear weapons. High explosives surrounding common metals (surrogates for Pu) and a radioactive source containing up to several thousand curies of La, were involved in each experiment. The resulting cloud was deposited as fallout, often to distances of several miles. This report was prepared to summarize existing records as an aid in evaluating the off-site impact, if any, of this 18-year program. The report provides a historical setting for the program, which was conducted in Technical Area 10, Bayo Canyon about 3 miles east of Los Alamos. A description of the site is followed by a discussion of collateral experiments conducted in 1950 by US Air Force for developing an airborne detector for tracking atmospheric nuclear weapons tests. All known off-site data from the RaLa program are tabulated and discussed. Besides the radiolanthanum, other potential trace radioactive material that may have been present in the fallout is discussed and amounts estimated. Off-site safety considerations are discussed; a preliminary off-site dose assessment is made. Bibliographical data on 33 persons important to the program are presented as footnotes.
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