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Subcritical Tests and the Myth of Stockpile Stewardship


The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) is more secretive today and they no longer provide advance notice of sub-critical and other tests, not only at the Nevada National Security Site (Nevada Test Site), but throughout the nuclear weapons complex. NDE and others are petitioning for a return to advance notice, and also fuller reporting of test activities and their ostensible purposes. Quarterly testing reports are available online from the NNSA for the activities in all of the national nuclear laboratories .

After four years of no radioactive explosions at the NTS/NNSS...

The D.O.E. conducted the Bacchus test in September, 2010.

Responses from Around The World:
MainIchi in Japan Reports
MainIchi in Japan Reports again
Mayors for Peace
Western States Legal Foundation: Issue Update - Subcritical Tests

and for a government scientist's perspective of subcritical tests

Background on US Subcritical Testing

In 1992, the United States signed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Between 1992-1997 the United States in accordance with the Treaty stayed the all forms of nuclear testing. Since 1997, subcritical nuclear testing has occurred regularly in violation of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Sub-critical testing is the term used to describe the process of testing component pieces of a nuclear bomb without inducing a full explosion. While sub-critical testing is less politically visible, the resumption of any form of testing reinvigorates the nuclear weapons’ machine and greatly increases the possibility of a return to full scale testing in the near future.

Subcritical Nuclear Tests

"Rebound" was the 1st Post-Moratorium U.S. Subcritical Test on 2 July 1997 @ NTS (conducted by LANL)
"Holog" (2nd Post-Moratorium U.S. Subcritical Test) on 18 Sept 1997 @ NTS (conducted by LLNL)
"Stagecoach" on 25 March 1998 @ NTS
"Bagpipe" on 26 September 1998 @ NTS
"Cimarron" (5th Post-Moratorium U.S. Subcritical Test) on 11 October 1998 @ NTS
"Clarinet" on 9 February 1999 @ NTS
"Oboe" on 27 September 1999 @ NTS
"Oboe 2" on 10 October 1999@ NTS
"Oboe 3" on 6 February 2000 @ NTS
"Thoroughbred" (10th Post-Moratorium U.S. Subcritical Test) on 22 March 2000 @ NTS' Lyner facility
"Oboe 4" on 9 April 2000 @ NTS
"Oboe 5" on 18 August 2000 @ NTS
"Oboe 6" on 14 December 2000 @ NTS
"Oboe 8" on 26 September 2001 @ NTS
"Oboe 7" (15th Post-Moratorium U.S. Subcritical Test) 13 December 2001 @ NTS
"Vito" on 14 February 2002 @ NTS
"Oboe 9" on 7 June 2002 @ NTS
"Mario" on 29 August 2002 @ NTS
"Rocco" on 26 September 2002 @ NTS
"Piano" (20th Post-Moratorium U.S. Subcritical Test) on 19 September 2003 @ NTS
"Armando" on 25 May 2004 @ NTS
"Krakatau" on 23 February 2006 @ NTS
"Unicorn" on 30 August 2006 @ NTS
"Bacchus" at 5:35 p.m. on 15 September 2010 @ NNSS (conducted by LANL)
"Barolo A" (25th Post-Moratorium U.S. Subcritical Test) on 1 December 2010 @ NNSS
"Barolo B" on 2 February 2011 @ NNSS
"Pollux" on 5 December 2012 @ NNSS - NNSA

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2012 Nevada Desert Experience