Nevada Bomb Test Delayed IndefinitelyFeds have postponed a planned massive bomb test under protest by nearby residents.
Federal officials announced Friday that Divine Strake, the 700-ton non-nuclear fuels explosion scheduled for this summer at the Nevada Test Site, has been delayed indefinitely.
The Nevada Site Office of the National Nuclear Security Administration announced it will withdraw its finding of “no significant impact,” which it issued following an environmental assessment of Divine Strake. A news release from the administration said the action was to “clarify and provide further information regarding background levels of radiation from global fallout in the vicinity of the Divine Strake experiment.”
Many residents downwind of the test site are concerned the large blast could spread radioactive particles left over from Cold War-era atomic testing at the site.
Due to a lawsuit aimed at stopping the test, the detonation was postponed from its original date of June 2 until June 23 at the earliest. The NNSA’s announcement Friday indicates that the test will be delayed until an even later date. But Darwin Morgan, test site spokesman, said Friday that federal officials have not yet determined if the new test date will be later than June 23.
The news release indicated the NNSA will determine how to best proceed with the test as the Nevada Site Office takes the appropriate steps to address stakeholder concerns about the blast.
Both Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, released statements Friday in support of the delay.
Matheson said the decision was in keeping with his request for more research into potential environmental hazards from the blast.
“I was greatly concerned, and expressed as much to the director of (Defense Threat Reduction Agency),” Matheson said. “I advised him to put all the health and safety data out on the table so that people’s fears about being once again exposed to radioactive contamination could be addressed.”
Hatch said he and his staff were concerned about background radiation at the site, though government officials repeatedly assured them there was no cause for concern.
“But since we’ve asked them to back up their conclusions with scientific evidence, it looks like our concerns are justified,” Hatch said. “And the test will be delayed until these questions are resolved.” The Spectrum