Unicorn Subcritical Experiment Scheduled
Los Alamos National Laboratory is conducting the experiment to gather scientific data that provides critical information to maintain the safety and reliability of the nation's nuclear weapons without having to conduct underground nuclear tests.
The last subcritical experiment, Krakatau, was conducted on February 23, 2006. Unicorn will be the 23rd subcritical experiment conducted since they began in July 1997.
Subcritical experiments examine the behavior of plutonium as it is strongly shocked by forces produced by chemical high explosives.
Subcritical experiments produce essential scientific data and technical information used to help maintain the safety and reliability of the nuclear weapons stockpile. The experiments are subcritical; that is, no critical mass is formed and no self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction can occur; thus, there is no nuclear explosion."
Please call your local congressional office and tell your Senators and Representatives:
--Continued testing at the Nevada Test Site violates the spirit, if not the letter of test ban treaties. We should be setting the example, not pushing limits.
--Asserting that these tests are necessary to the reliability of the stockpile, implies the continued willingness to use nuclear weapons, and such use is unacceptable.
--Testing of any kind at the Nevada Test Site is a violation of Western Shoshone sovereignty and must cease.
Thanks you for your continued support.
P.O. Box 1115
Salt Lake City, UT 84110
U.S. To Conduct Non-Nuclear Experiment At Nevada Test Site
Las Vegas SUN
August 28, 2006
LAS VEGAS (AP) - Government scientists were preparing Monday to conduct another in a series of underground non-nuclear experiments at the Nevada desert proving ground, the National Nuclear Security Administration said.
The so-called subcritical test, dubbed Unicorn, was being conducted at the Nevada Test Site by scientists from the government's Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, said Kevin Rohrer, a spokesman for the NNSA in North Las Vegas.
The planned test, scheduled Wednesday, would be the 23rd subcritical experiment since 1997 at the 1,375-square-mile federal reservation 85 miles northwest of Las Vegas.
Subcritical tests involve the detonation of explosives around radioactive material in a vault deep underground at the Nevada Test Site. The explosions are designed not to reach critical mass necessary for a self-sustaining nuclear reaction.
Federal officials call subcritical experiments essential to maintaining the safety and reliability of the U.S. nuclear arsenal.
Anti-nuclear groups criticize the experiments as contrary to the spirit of the 1996 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty on nuclear arms. The U.S. has observed a moratorium on full-scale nuclear testing since 1992, but has not ratified the treaty.
The test site hosted 928 full-scale nuclear tests involving 1,021 nuclear detonations from 1951 to 1992.
On the Net:
National Nuclear Security Administration: http://www.nv.doe.gov
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