Cancelled . . . but smaller tests on the way?
The Pentagon and Defense Threat Reduction
Agency (DTRA) announced that Divine Strake
has been cancelled as of February 22, 2007. Read
about it in the Las
Vegas Review-Journal article
Thank you to the many who submitted their comments
and lobbied their legislators!
However, the DTRA announced it would be doing smaller,
"confirmatory" experiments in place of
Divine Strake. Details of these tests have not been
released, but they may be cause for concern if held
at the Nevada Test Site. You can read about the
court case in this Las
Vegas Review-Journal article
. Also visit idealist.ws
for more information.
Statement on Divine Strake Cancellation
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Feb. 22, 2007
Cancellation of Proposed Divine Strake Experiment
The Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) has
decided to cancel the proposed Divine Strake experiment.
"I have become convinced that it's time to
look at alternative methods that obviate the need
for this type of large-scale test," said
DTRA Director Dr. James A. Tegnelia. This decision
was not based on any technical information that
indicates the test would produce harm to workers,
the general public, or the environment.
Divine Strake was a scientific experiment designed
to significantly advance the nation's ability
to defeat underground facilities that produce
and store weapons of mass destruction. The experiment
would have entailed detonating a large amount
of a common blasting agent over an existing tunnel
at the Nevada Test Site. It was to be the largest
in a series of experiments that relied on the
specific geology at that location.
DTRA will attempt to develop alternative scientific
means for obtaining the important data that this
experiment would have provided. Such methods to
assess capabilities to defeat underground facilities
do not currently exist. The agency will develop
advanced analysis techniques and conduct confirmatory
experiments at a much smaller scale to assist
in developing new capabilities to defeat underground
There is a national consensus on the need to improve
conventional capabilities to defeat underground
targets that pose a threat to the United States.
"DTRA remains committed to help develop non-nuclear
means to defeat underground targets. I am optimistic
that we will succeed," said Tegnelia.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Matheson: Cancellation of Divine Strake a Victory
Washington D.C.-Congressman Jim Matheson said
that with today's announcement from the Defense
Threat Reduction Agency that the detonation of
a 700-ton explosives pile is cancelled, his efforts
opposing it have been vindicated.
"I have stood in the way of this test from
day one. From the time last spring when I first
learned about the so-called "Divine Strake"
experiment, I have opposed it based on both its
purpose and its potential ill affects. The prospect
of even a non-nuclear 'mushroom cloud' over the
Nevada Test Site brings back bitter memories of
how the government lied when it said that there
was no danger," said Matheson.
Divine Strake was to be the detonation of 700
tons of ammonium nitrate and fuel oil. The government's
draft Environmental Assessment predicted radiation-contaminated
debris would be hurled thousands of feet into
air. It acknowledges the likelihood that radioactive
dust particles will be carried beyond the boundaries
of the test site. DTRA also confirmed that the
purpose of the blast is to simulate the ground
shock effects of both conventional and nuclear
Over the past ten and a half months, Matheson
has communicated -through letters and meetings-to
DTRA and the Department of Energy (DOE) that questionable
science and dubious intent bolstered his concerns.
"If this announcement truly signals the
end of Divine Strake, my hope is that DTRA would
instead spend time and money on developing a conventional
weapon that would actually be useful to our military
in destroying deeply buried terrorist targets,"