Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Day 19: Summer Reading/Nuclear Tourism

The Nevada Test Site, Credit: credit: Department of Energy

"the buses stopped at the Sedan Crater, a 320 foot deep and 1,280 foot wide pit from the "Sedan" test, which displaced 12 million tons of earth. Hundreds of visitors piled onto the viewing platform, and hiked around the rim to get the perfect shot of the massive crater, whose enormity is incomprehensible from photographs. The largest crater on the NTS, Sedan is a suitable monument for conveying the power of atomic weapons."
- Lize Mogel, Open House at the Nevada Test Site

This summer I am reading about the Nevada Test site in two different books:
A Nuclear Family Vacation
The Nevada Test Site: A Guide to America's Proving Ground

The United States has been bombing its own landscape for decades. Between 16 July 1945 and 23 September 1992 the United States of America conducted (by official count) 1054 nuclear tests, and two nuclear attacks.

Reading more in depth about the NTS has been otherworldly. It feels timely. Only in 1992 did the United States sign a moratorium to ban testing. The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty was signed in September 1996. The landscape bears the trace of the years prior.

The more I read, the more I realize how little I know about land use in the United States. There is something about this complex history, and its connection to the present, that is driving me learn more and try to visit the site within the next year.

Homepage for NTS and site to learn about tours

Further Reading and resources:
The Atomic Museum
The Nevada Test Site: A Guide to America's Proving Nuclear Ground (Interactive)
Current uses of NTS

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