Second subcritical nuclear bombtest conducted in Nevada

Publish date: September 19, 1997

Written by: Thomas Nilsen

Second subcritical test in Nevada this year

At 21.30 (Norwegian time) on september 18, USA conducted its second subcritical nuclear bomb test at the Nevada test site. Norwegian Foreign Minister Bjørn Tore Godal express deeply concern about the test.

The subcritical nuclear bomb test, named Holog, was conducted some 300 meters (960 feet) beneath the ground surface in the new Ula complex at the Nevada test site. The bomb test consisted of two simultaneous explosions, the first, with 77 grams of plutonium, was bolted onto a target holder attached to a steel cylinder containing 50 grams of plutonium and 50 grams of high explosives. According to a press release from the US Department of Energy (DoE), there was no self-sustanding nuclear fission chain reaction.

–The experiment was conducted safely and preliminary indications are that the experiment was successfull, says DoE spoksman Darwin Morgan. He stated that the data from the test will allow scientists to answer basic questions about the way plutonium react when it’s shocked, which cannot be determined with the required precision by experimenting with substitute materials.

Thursday’s bomb test are consistent with the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, but several environmental groups have protested against these tests because they undermine the intension of the treaty, by allowing American scientists to continue resarch and development of new, more powerful nuclear warheads.

After the test in Nevada, press-spokesman Ingvar Havnen at the Norwegian foreign ministry stated that Foreign Minister Bjørn Tore Godal express deeply consern about the US subcritical test becase it undermines the Test Ban Treaty.

In June, 44 members of the American Congress tried to stop the first subcritical test, claiming that if not in direct violation of the Test Ban Treaty, the test most certainly would violate the spirit of the treaty.