“where the nuke was tested”
Just an hour and a half north of Las Vegas lies a massive crater in the desert, the kind of thing you'd expect to see when a meteor comes crashing into the earth. This crater, though, resulted from the time the government detonated the equivalent of eight Hiroshima bombs right here in America. The Sedan is is the product of an underground nuclear test carried out on July 6, 1962. The United States government was convinced that they could harness the destructive power of nuclear explosions for more peaceful applications, so as part of the Plowshare Program, they attempted to test the idea that said detonations might help in the building of roads and canals. Turns out, nuclear explosions can save a whole lot time when it comes to excavating, but a nasty little thing called radiation put a quick stop to any plans for practical use. The bomb detonated on July 6th remains the largest detonation on American soil, creating a crater over 100 meters deep and 390 meters wide. In all, the explosion shot 12 million tons of earth into the sky and ended up exposing 13 million US citizens to the effects of radiation. Fortunately, the radiation decayed quickly enough that within 7 months, the crater could be walked into without environmental suits. Today, the Sedan crater, located in the Nevada Test Site, offers free monthly tours hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy, and sees over 10,000 visitors a year. During the special tours, guests are able to walk into an observation platform that sticks out over the rim of the crater. It offers a spectacular view of the destruction created from a nuclear explosion. -Roadtrippers Three companies make up the Bechtel Nevada team: Bechtel Nevada Corporation; Johnson Controls Nevada, Inc.; and Lockheed Martin Nevada Technologies, Inc. Bechtel Nevada manages operations at the Nevada Test Site and its related facilities and laboratories. Besides its work for DOE's Nevada Operations Office, Bechtel Nevada partners with the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and Sandia National Laboratories on many projects. Bechtel Nevada also works on projects for other federal agencies such as the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, NASA, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and the U.S. Air Force, Army, and Navy. Bechtel Nevada is organized into four major Programs: Stockpile Stewardship, Environmental Management, National Security Response, and Counter Terrorism. Organizations interested in using the Nevada Test Site for projects should contact the programs directly. More than half of Bechtel Nevada's employees work in the Las Vegas area or at the nearby Nevada Test Site. The company has satellite offices in Livermore, California (Livermore Operations) and Los Alamos, New Mexico (Los Alamos Operations) as well as the Special Technologies Laboratory in Santa Barbara, California. Bechtel Nevada also operates the Remote Sensing Laboratory in Nevada and its sister group located near Washington, D.C.
By Darren Chaker - While in Las Vegas for a convention recently I took a full day tour of Area 51, and Nevada Test Site and must say it was great! If visiting Las Vegas do not miss the opportunity to see areas that shaped American history and marked military evolution. It's truly facinating to stand at the edge of a nuclear bomb crator looking down into a hole shaped like a stadium. Just pack your sun screen regardless of the time of the year!
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