Dates of U.S. nuclear tests are disclosed

by Michiko Tanaka, Staff Writer

It was learned on March 19 that the United States conducted a new type of nuclear test on October 3 and November 7, 2012. The information that two such tests to examine its nuclear arms were carried out between October and December of last year had already been made public. Responding to an inquiry from the Chugoku Shimbun, the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), an agency under the U.S. Department of Energy, provided this new information.

On March 11, the NNSA announced on its official website that two tests were conducted between October and December of 2012, without specifying the exact dates.

The tests were conducted at the Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico. By using a special device called a “Z machine,” which can generate powerful X-rays, conditions similar to a nuclear explosion were created, and the reaction of the plutonium was examined. An NNSA official stressed the significance of the tests, saying that the data obtained from these experiments is used to maintain the safety and effectiveness of the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

(Originally published on March 20, 2013)