The site in Australia
where the first British atomic bomb was detonated. Code-named "Operation Hurricane", a 25 kiloton device (very similar to the Fat Man bomb that destroyed Nagasaki
in 1945) was exploded off Trimouille Island inside a surplus warship. Nuclear testing carried out by Great Britain
returned to the Montebello Islands in 1956 when two more devices were detonated under the code name "Operation Mosaic": G1 on Trimouille Island, a 15 kiloton device, and G2 on Alpha Island, which at a yield of 98 kilotons was the biggest ever explosion in Australia.
The remote Montebello Islands lie off the west coast of Australia – and were of course chosen precisely for their remoteness (they were thus a kind of British-Australian Bikini
). Within the UK there wouldn't have been a place sufficiently far from any settlements. Still, "Operation Mosaic" G2 (at least) is said to have affected the health of inhabitants on the mainland, as the fallout, like the yield, was much larger than predicted.
And today? Well, the islands have been declared a "Marine Park" by the Department of Environment and Conservation, and apparently you can indeed go to these sites of nuclear testing, provided you take the necessary care. Here's the relevant quote from the Marine Park's official brochure (available at: www.dec.wa.gov.au/component/ option,com_docman/Itemid,708/task,doc_download/gid,4235/):
"Remains of the military activities such as concrete bunkers, monitoring stations, roads and scrap metal can still be found on some islands, and the former military operational headquarters can be seen on the southern end of Hermite Island. Slightly elevated radiation levels still occur close to the test sites. As radiation effects on health are cumulative over your lifetime, be sure to limit visits to the affected areas (marked on the map) to one hour per day. Do not disturb the soil in these areas and do not handle or remove any relics associated with the tests as they may still be radioactive."
In order to get there, you will, however, need a boat seaworthy and equipped enough, as there are no facilities in the Marine Park and the seas can get rough – especially when there's a cyclone, to which the whole area is prone at little forewarning (especially in the summer months – winter in the northern hemisphere – between November and March). There is no entrance fee to the Park.
Charters and cruises are available from some mainland harbours (such as Dampier, Onslow and Exmouth) but these are more geared towards fishing and marine life observation (which is particularly rich here), including snorkelling and scuba diving.
Note also, that the area is Australia's premier oil and natural gas drilling region, especially around Barrow Island to the south of the Montebello Islands – which brings with it the usual environmental risks. And the coast is – as yet – one of the least disturbed marine habitats of the continent … coral, whales, rays, sea turtles, etc.
Barrow Island is also in the record books for the strongest winds ever measured (not counting tornadoes) – obviously in a cyclone. Sandstorms can also hit the coastline. Inland this part of Australia is the least populated and most rugged.
a good 800 miles (1300 km) north of Perth off the Western Australian
coast in the Indian Ocean.