Major Nuclear Blast Set Off at Nevada Site

Associated Press

A major nuclear weapons test was conducted Saturday deep beneath the surface of the Nevada Test Site, the Department of Energy announced.

The test, which had a yield of between 20 and 150 kilotons, was detonated 1,690 feet beneath Yucca Flat, about 87 miles northwest of Las Vegas, department spokesman Chris West said.

The blast, code-named "Cottage," was only the second announced test of the year at the sprawling testing facility. The last was March 15, when a weapon was detonated a few miles away from Saturday's test site.

First in Three Months

The two recent tests ended a three-month span when no announced tests were detonated at the site, the longest pause in testing since late 1976 and early 1977 when four months elapsed between tests.

Not all tests are announced for security reasons.

There were 14 announced tests at the site in 1984 and a total of 632 shots have been announced since testing began at the barren desert site in January, 1951.

All tests are listed as having an explosive yield of less than 20 kilotons or between 20 and 150 kilotons. A kiloton is 1,000 tons of conventional explosives.

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