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4.3 Operation Mosaic (detonations on 16 May 1956 and 19 June 1956 at Monte Bello Island, W.A.) :


  • All operational flying related to the Mosaic tests was an RAF, not RAAF responsibility.  RAF Canberra aircraft were flown from RAAF Pearce, and were flown to Amberley for decontamination (7.0.12).  RAF Varsities and helicopters carried out ground decontamination surveys, and RAF Canberras and Varsities tracked the clouds (7.0.12). 
  • RAAF air support consisted of transportation, signals, security patrols, and search and rescue and air traffic control. (7.0.12)

  • Mosaic G1:

1.              4 RAF Canberra bombers flew from Pearce: 2 conducted cloud sampling (approx 20 minutes after firing)and 2 provided support (7.6.20).

2.              The Canberras were monitored and decontaminated upon return to RAAF Pearce (7.6.20)

3.              A Varsity aircraft surveyed the Onslow to Broome coastline one day after detonation, and detected no radiation (7.4.9)

  • Mosaic G2:

1.              2 Canberra aircraft flew through cloud (7.6.23)

2.              Another Canberra following the cloud was 'moderately contaminated' (7.6.24)

3.              'Procedures at RAAF Pearce to cope with the contamination of aircraft and crews were the responsibility of Stevenson (RC319).  The facilities were limited but adequate since decontamination was not attempted.  Rather, the aircraft were sprayed with a  barrier paint between the tests to seal the contamination.  Final decontamination was postponed until after Operation Buffalo because of the difficulty of disposing of contaminated effluent at Pearce.' (7.6.26)

4.              Varsity aircraft conducted aerial survey Onslow to Darwin and back again, and declared 'Zero Risk Level' (7.4.24).

  • By the time of the Mosaic tests, decontamination and safety procedures were well established (11.1.34 , 7.6.27).
  • Decontamination for the Mosaic test aircraft occurred at Pearce Field (11.1.36), and involved use of barrier paint.  This was not removed until after the Buffalo tests (11.1.36).
  • Those who worked on aircraft wore protective clothing and respirators as required (subject to measurement of radiation levels), and film badges were worn by all those entering the active area.  No eating drinking or smoking was permitted in the active area (11.1.38).