Did Nuclear Weapons tests damage our Ozone Layer?

An interesting letter appeared in the Sheffield Star back in March 2015 arguing the possibly of the Ozone Layer being damaged by decades of Atmospheric Nuclear Bomb tests -until they were banned by an international treaty. They sort of claim you’d think we’d have heard debated for years already. The science sure adds up – something New Zealand based scientists Bill Hartley has researched in depth. 

Hartley believes “Starfish Prime”, a upper atmospheric nuclear test by the U/.S that is witnessed in 1962, is partly to blame for the ozone hole.

“The light show was something unearthly and huge. For fun some weeks before, I had read Revelations, so I was shocked to see the moon glowing red in the now pink rays of light expanding from the central ball of golden light.”

He connected the event with the hole in the ozone layer in the 1980s when he read Earth’s Aura – a layman’s guide to the atmosphere in which author Louise B Young discussed the destructive effects atmospheric nuclear testing could have on ozone. “This rang a very loud bell for me in that gradual depletion of ozone by chemical reactions would lead to a generalised thinning of the layer as the pollutants spread throughout the atmosphere, whereas massive nuclear blasts in the upper atmosphere would produce instant holes,” Mr Hartley said.

With the rise of the global warming phenomena everyone was overlooking the probability that the ozone hole was largely involved. Yet they were pointing the finger at fossil fuel burning emissions. After some research Hartley discovered the US tested 331 bombs in the atmosphere, six above the US and the rest above the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean with some in the South Atlantic.

Russia also tested bombs in the atmosphere above their own country. Mr Hartley believed that had produced a hole over the Arctic, which would explain the rapid ice melting in places such as Greenland.

The air had been loaded with industrially used CFCs in the fifties and sixties when the atomic testing took place.

“Thus when the nuclear bombs were detonated the huge amount of light released activated the massive release of chlorine which gobbled up a gigantic hole in the ozone.”

Of course us Greens *know* this has the potential to downplay the ever deepening causes for climate change =- and we accept there may be many factors but we cannot deny humanity’s disrespect for planet earth, by whatever means done are the factors we still have the chance to change – or at least lessen in future.

Hartley didn’t think anything could be done about the hole in the ozone layer but he thought climate scientists should add the piece of information to the puzzle.

Considering catastrophic global climate change is looking inevitable – it’s no comfort to think there’s a chance we’d already screwed up our planetary defense shield way before we even know it’s significance in protection us all from Cosmos rays.

Ironic in a way, the very thing we may have used (the awesome but unforgiving power of radioactivity) – have have lost us the only thing out there safeguarding us all from that same fate, which one way or another could lead to our ultimate extinction.

Don’t forget to duck and cover, and wear sunscreen!

David Joseph Henry

Future Nuclear Disasters: 10 Potential Catastrophic Causes

“Last month, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said U.S. plants affected by a blackout should be able to cope without electricity for at least eight hours and should have procedures to keep the reactor and spent-fuel pool cool for 72 hours. Nuclear plants depend on standby batteries and backup diesel generators. Most standby power systems would continue to function after a severe solar storm, but supplying the standby power systems with adequate fuel, when the main power grids are offline for years, could become a very critical problem. If the spent fuel rod pools at the country’s 104 nuclear power plants lose their connection to the power grid, the current regulations aren’t sufficient to guarantee those pools won’t boil over — exposing the hot, zirconium-clad rods and sparking fires that would release deadly radiation.”



Solar Flare


Volcanic Eruption

Asteroid or Comet



Human Error

Computer Error

Helium Shortage 

Liquid Helium is essential for the efficient operation of many Nuclear Power facilities, most notably cooling and cooling systems that prevent a meltdown. Yet Helium in the form required exists in only finite quantities on Earth.

When the Helium is gone – it’s gone, and we may be gone too. (The Guardian: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/why-the-world-is-running-out-of-helium-2059357.html )

Climate Change

Scientists now concede that catastrophic changes in our climate die top human activity may be inevitable. We know sea-levels are rising in many parts of the world. We know our weather systems are becoming increasingly erratic and unpredictable. The exact impact of seal level rise on Nuclear Power plants is mostly uncertain but worrying none the less. In the 12970’s and 1980’s when a large number of new Nuclear Plants were build the United States, the sea level rise in future decades was predicted to be much lower. Due to the constant requirement for water to cool atomic reactors, a total of 9 U.S. nuclear plants were built within two miles of the ocean. Similar thinking has been applied to other nuclear power stations in other countries including France, China and the United Kingdom.

“As many as 12 of Britain’s 19 civil nuclear sites are at risk of flooding and coastal erosion because of climate change. Nine of the sites have been assessed by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) as being vulnerable now, while others are in danger from rising sea levels and storms in the future. The sites include proposed new nuclear power stations around the coast, as well as numerous radioactive waste stores, operating reactors and defunct nuclear facilities.” (Climate State: http://climatestate.com/2015/05/19/the-impacts-of-sea-level-rise-on-nuclear-power-stations/)