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First A-Test of Year Rattles High-Rises in Las Vegas

February 16, 1988|Associated Press

LAS VEGAS — The first announced nuclear test of 1988 rocked the Nevada desert Monday and sent a shudder through some high-rise buildings in Las Vegas, 105 miles from ground zero.

The device carried an explosive punch about 11 times that of the atomic bomb that devastated Hiroshima. Its blast measured 5.4 on the Richter scale at the National Earthquake Information Center in Golden, Colo.

The test was conducted three weeks after a team of Soviet nuclear scientists visited the top-secret Nevada Test Site--a visit that could lead to mutual monitoring of tests and a possible test ban.

The test, code-named Kernville, was delayed two hours because of unfavorable wind conditions, and another 10 minutes because of technical problems, according to Energy Department spokeswoman Barbara Yoerg.

The device was buried 1,800 feet below Pahute Mesa, about 105 miles northwest of Las Vegas.

Yoerg said the test was "weapons-related" and sponsored by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

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