[ RadSafe ] Re: Testing bombs

Hansen, Richard HansenRG at nv.doe.gov
Mon Jun 30 16:05:30 CDT 2008

radsafe Digest readers and anyone interesting in the history or testing
of nuclear weapons should consider visiting the Atomic Testing Museum
(open daily) in Las Vegas and the Nevada Test Site tour (approximately
once a month). 

The Atomic Testing Museum
The Atomic Testing Museum, an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution,
portrays world history through varied representations of the story of
the Nevada Test Site and its programs. The museum features many not seen
before, first-person narratives, large iconic artifacts, environmental
re-creations, theatrical devices, and interactive elements for personal
exploration. It also presents multiple viewpoints expressed in
multimedia presentations and stunning graphics. The Atomic Testing
Museum is located only minutes from the Las Vegas strip.

 The U.S. Department of Energy, National Nuclear Security Administration
Nevada Site Office provides free general interest tours of the Nevada
Test Site on a monthly basis. Most tours depart from the Atomic Testing
Museum in Las Vegas, Nevada. Reservations required. Because the Nevada
Test Site is a restricted access government reservation, visitors must
apply well in advance for tours tailored to their individual interests
and needs. See the Nevada Test Site website for more information:

Some of the points of interest on the tour include:

Sedan Crater:
Sedan was a cratering experiment as part of the Plowshare program - the
peaceful uses of nuclear explosives. The 104-kiloton nuclear device
explosion displaced about 12 million tons of earth, creating a crater
1,280 feet in diameter and 320 feet deep. This underground test was
conducted on July 6, 1962. A platform on the edge of the crater allows
visitors to experience the impact of the crater's size.

Frenchman Flat, where on January 27, 1951, the first atmospheric nuclear
test on the Nevada Test Site, ABLE, took place. Thirteen subsequent
atmospheric nuclear tests were conducted at the site between 1951 and

Civil Effects Tests

Current WMD Training and Exercise Sites
Today, one of the areas used for the Civil Effects Tests has been
rebuilt as an exercise site for training first responders. Training is
provided at no cots to the attendees and prepares the responders to take
immediate, decisive action to prevent or mitigate terrorist use of
radiological or nuclear weapons of mass destruction (WMD), such as
Improvised Nuclear Devices (INDs) and Radiological Dispersal Devices
(RDDs or "dirty bombs").The Radiological/Nuclear WMD Incident Exercise
Site at the Nevada Test Site was constructed after 9/11/2001 at the T-1
Site, located at the ground zero of four nuclear detonations conducted
between 1952 and1957. The radioactive material remaining in the ground
from the nuclear detonations produces safe radiation levels throughout
the ten-acre exercise area, with higher than normal background radiation
levels. Attendees train in an area with simulated widespread
radiological contamination from an RDD or IND, without the risks of
contaminating themselves.

T-1 Exercise Site
Counter Terrorism Operations Support (CTOS) Overview 

Rick Hansen
Senior Scientist
Counter Terrorism Operations Support Program
National Security Technologies, LLC, for the U.S. Dept of Energy
hansenrg at nv.doe.gov

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