Nevada, United States, Las Vegas discussed on The Jeff Does Vegas Podcast


And in some ways. The creation of nevada test site was good for the region. The population of the las vegas area grew by over one hundred and sixty percent. Visitation to the city saw a massive increase. Thanks to the folks who came to town to see the detonations. Thousands of jobs were created in the area and more than one hundred and seventy six million dollars in federal funds were brought to the region two thirds of which went directly back into the las vegas economy but what was the true cost of these tests from the outset of the selection and development of the test site concerns have been raised by officials regarding the dangers of detonating nuclear weapons within such close proximity to a large population centers. Such as las vegas however when testing began the. Us government was confident. They're meteorologists could predict the weather and wind patterns to help prevent the spread of radiation in nineteen fifty five. The atomic energy commission issued brochures to residents of the area claiming the path of the fallout did not constitute a serious hazard to any living thing outside the test site and that the radiation levels that experience were only slightly more than normal radiation which they'd experience day in and day out wherever they lived but declassified documents have revealed that followed from the test drifted across several parts of the united states. One of the hardest hit areas was the town of saint george. Utah located downwind from the nevada. Test site the years following the may nineteen fifty-three heavy shot or what would later be dubbed dirty harry due to the large amount of nuclear fallout generated on the small town c. reportedly higher cancer rates among its citizens and a large loss of farmers livestock due to radiation poisoning. The most famous down case to come out of the nevada site involved the film the conqueror which was shot in the desert just outside saint george in nineteen fifty. Six several notable hollywood actors were part of the production including john wayne agnes moorehead and susan hayward but overshadowing the star power cast was the revelation that many of those involved in the production developed cancer in the years following by nineteen eighty ninety one of the two hundred and twenty cast and crew had developed some form of cancer and these forty six died most notably in nineteen seventy nine. John wayne had passed away from stomach. Cancer at the age of seventy two and fifteen years previously. He'd had a bout with lung cancer which he beaten wayne had also been visited by multiple family members. While working on the set of the conqueror several of whom had also developed cancer or tumors government denials about cancer causing fallout began unraveling. The late one thousand nine hundred seventy s and early nineteen eighties when lawsuits filed against the government uncovered internal abc reports from the time of the tests that showed scientists and bureaucrats downplayed and distorted evidence. Several reports were under showing massive increases in leukemia rates among children direct links between the deaths of thousands of sheep and nuclear tests and the argument that postponing testing due to health concerns would slow arms development on october. Fifth nineteen ninety following almost twenty years of attempting to enact legislation. The radiation exposure compensation act was passed by the united states congress and signed into law by. Us president george. H w bush the provided fifty thousand dollars in compensation for individuals who were residing or working down wind from the nevada test site in addition to the issues faced by the so-called down wenders. The testing had a massive environmental impact on the site itself following the implementation of the limited test ban treaty and the movement to underground testing only each of the below ground explosions. Some as deepest five thousand feet vaporized a large chamber filled with rubble went underground. Explosions ended in one thousand nine hundred ninety two. The department of energy declared the site to be one of the most radioactively contaminated locations in the united states. In some of the most seriously affected zones the concentration of radioactivity in groundwater fifty thousand times higher than the federally accepted standard and although radio activity levels in water do decline over time. Danger could exist for workers and future settlers for tens of thousands of years. The nevada test site was also very contentious spot for anti-nuclear protesters from nineteen eighty. Six to nine thousand nine hundred ninety four five hundred thirty six demonstrations were held on the site involving over thirty seven thousand protesters with over fifteen thousand people arrested in september nineteen. Ninety-two the us. Congress passed legislation not hatfield exxon amendment for nine month moratorium on nuclear testing as such the final nuclear test to happen at the nevada testing site occurred on september eighteenth and september twenty third of that year on october. Second nineteen ninety-two. Us president george. H w bush signed a moratorium into law four years later on september. Twenty fourth nineteen ninety-six. Us president bill clinton signed the comprehensive test ban treaty officially prohibiting nuclear weapons and test detonations and although the us congress never ratified the treaty. The united states is maintained. Its moratorium on nuclear testing flash forward to today. In spite of the lack of nuclear detonations. The nevada testing site is anything but deserted in twenty ten. The site was renamed the nevada national security site or s. It's currently used for national. Nuclear security defense programs. Industry research and development open air experiments by both federal agencies and private industries as well as department of homeland security nuclear and radiological emergency response testing and training. The nss also offers monthly tours of the testing sites including stops at the town of mercury the gateway to the nevada testing site frenchman flat. Where the first test on. The site was conducted the sedan crater a three hundred twenty foot deep twelve hundred and eighty foot diameter crater which was formed by one of the largest underground tests and the apple two houses which were constructed to test the effects of a nuclear explosion in a city or town space on tours limited and usually booked upwards of twelve months at advance security on the tours is also extremely tight as guests are prohibited from bringing cameras cell phones or binoculars for many in the united states. The nevada test site is viewed as a place of incredibly important historical significance especially when it comes to national security after all this was the battleground on which the cold war was fought and won. The devices tested at the nevada test site forever changed humanity and civilization and the legacy of the site will always remain controversial..

Coming up next