Radiation from atomic bomb tests not only hit southern Utah, but even spread as far away as Rochester, N.Y.

That's according to an Energy Department history, which includes a lengthy quote about that from a 1976 speech by Merril Eisenbud, who had worked in the Atomic Energy Commission's New York Operations office.He said after a test in the early 1950s, "We got a call from Harry Blair, project director at the University of Rochester, who had just had a call from Eastman Kodak which said that the snow (it was snowing that day) was radioactive.

"The University of Rochester had checked the snow and found it to be radioactive, and Harry wanted to know what to do. . ..

"I called somebody whose name I won't mention and said, `It's snowing up in Rochester and all through the northeast, and I hear the snow is radioactive. What do you know about it?'

"We knew nothing about bomb phenomenology or where the stuff went or what it contained. Fission products were still pretty classified stuff, and none of us even had a working knowledge of what the fission products mixture was like.

"My contact at Nevada Test Site said, `You're crazy Merril. I was out to Ground Zero, and there's no radiation out there, and you're trying to tell me it's up in Rochester.'

"And that made me mad, because we had a very serious problem on our hands in that Kodak had already once been affected by radioactive fallout and now they were probably being affected again.

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"So John Harley and I put our heads together and took advantage of the fact that it was snowing, and we called Rochester back and called people we knew in Cleveland, St. Louis, Buffalo, Boston, and sent teams out from New York as well, and we gathered snow in quart jars.

"That was a Friday afternoon. By Sunday the people came back with the snow samples. And we lined everybody up with hot plates, boiled the stuff down and put it into a form in which it could be counted.

"And by Monday morning we had a map of fallout in the northeast United States, which has never been published. I don't know where the map is. I asked John Harley if he knew, and he thought it was in Washington someplace. But that was the extent of the preparation for those early tests."

The same Energy Department history notes that radioactive snow or rain also occurred at Troy, N.Y.; Chicago; Rochester (again); Salt Lake City (twice) and many smaller communities.

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