Raul Jusinto

Atomic Testing


Atomic Testing

Atomic Testing

Atomic Testing

Las Vegas Centennial Commission marker reads:

After World War II, and during the early stages of the "Cold War" with the Soviet Union, the United States began above ground atomic testing in the South Pacific. The decision to move testing to Nevada was made primarily for national security reasons. The area had a small population and was already owned by the federal government. The first test at the Nevada Test Site was conducted on January 27, 1951. The test site was a boom for the Las Vegas economy, providing thousands of jobs and international publicity.

Many locals and tourist traveled to Mount Charleston to better view the blasts. The mushroom cloud became a symbol of the times. Atomic hairdos, atomic cocktails, and Miss Atomic Bomb contest became part of Las Vegas culture. Testing moved underground in 1963, after a treaty was signed by the U.S., Great Britain and the Soviet Union. Controversy arose over the issue of the "Downwinders," who were exposed to radiation in the fallout patterns. Health problems for those exposed to the radiation, including soldiers who participated in the tests, are a tragic by-product of the era. The last underground test was September 23, 1993. A portion of the site, Yucca Mountain, is currently being developed for storage of nuclear waste.

Event Location: Nevada Test and Training Range.