LAS VEGAS — Four protesters delayed but failed to halt the test of a British nuclear weapon Wednesday by infiltrating the remote Nevada Test Site and making their way to ground zero.
The device, with an explosive force about 12 times that of the Hiroshima atomic bomb, was detonated at 11:17 a.m., more than two hours behind schedule after the four were removed by security officers, Department of Energy authorities said.
The protest, by Greenpeace, is the second time in three years that anti-nuclear activists have infiltrated the sprawling desert site in an effort to halt such a test. Members of the group in Germany also staged a protest at the British Embassy in Bonn. All British nuclear tests are conducted in Nevada under a mutual defense treaty with the United States.
Energy Department officials rejected claims that the four protesters were near ground zero until they popped into view of cameras monitoring the blast site during a technical hold six minutes from detonation.
Greenpeace spokeswoman Junior Bridge identified the protesters as Juley Howard, 23, Jane Gregory, 27, and Lorna Richardson, 25, all of London, and Michael Perry, 27, of the Rocky Mountain Peace Center.
The four probably will be charged with trespassing, Energy Department spokesman Jim Boyer said.
Motion from the blast was felt at Las Vegas City Hall and atop the city's high-rise hotels. It registered 5.1 on the earthquake scale at the National Earthquake Information Center in Golden, Colo.