PAHUTE MESA, NEV. -- A thermonuclear explosion jolted the Nevada desert as the United States triggered its first announced nuclear weapons test this year.
Shock waves from the blast reached Las Vegas, 105 miles from ground zero, less than a minute after the weapon was triggered at 10:10 a.m. in a vertical shaft 1,800 feet beneath Pahute Mesa, a volcanic plateau inside the Rhode Island-sized Nevada Test Site.
Residents at the high-rise Regency Towers condominium and Riviera hotel-casino on the Las Vegas Strip felt a slight swaying motion, according to a Department of Energy (DOE) spokesman.
Four antinuclear protesters picketed the gates of the test site yesterday; there were no arrests.
"No radiation escaped into the atmosphere. The test was a success," said a DOE spokeswoman.
The test was conducted the same day U.S and Soviet negotiators resumed arms control talks in Geneva following visits by teams from each nation to the other's nuclear test sites to exchange data on nuclear blast verification technology.
Yesterday's test was the 470th since the 1963 test ban treaty prohibited nuclear weapons testing in the atmosphere, in space and under water. Since then all superpower nuclear testing has been conducted underground.