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U.S. To Conduct First Atmospheric Nuclear Test Since 1958

July 5, 1962 - The Administration announced today that a small nuclear explosion would be conducted in the atmosphere this weekend at the Nevada Test Site. The test, the first to be conducted in the atmosphere in Nevada since Oct. 30, 1958, is scheduled for Saturday at the earliest. It will involve an explosion with a force of about 1,000 tons of TNT, or one kiloton. Until now, the Administration, largely because of fallout considerations, has limited all atmospheric testing to the remote islands in the Pacific. Testing at the Nevada proving grounds has been restricted to underground explosions, which produce no fallout. The change in policy resulted from a Defense Department argument that military necessity required at least one or two small explosions over large, dry land areas, to explore the effects of nuclear weapons. “Most of the radioactive particles produced by the detonation,” the announcement said, “are expected to fall back to earth within a few miles, inside the Las Vegas bombing and gunnery range.” This range surrounds the Nevada test site.


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