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The US military plans to detonate a 700 tonne explosive charge in a test called "Divine Strake" that will send a mushroom cloud over Las Vegas, a senior defense official said.
Nuclear Bunker Busters, Mini-Nukes, and the US Nuclear Stockpile
The Bush administration is contemplating a new crop of nuclear weapons that could reduce the threat to civilian populations. However, they're still unlikely to work without producing massive radioactive fallout, and their development might require a return to underground nuclear testing.
In support of its request to repeal the 1994 law (banning mini nukes), the Bush administration is arguing that the US may need lower yield nuclear weapons to more credibly deter rogue regimes possessing chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons.
On the otherhand we have to consider that they might actually be testing nuclear weapons and using "large conventional weapons" as a cover story.
Originally posted by The Links
Do underground tests produce mushroom clouds?
India has released an image of one of these shots showing a surface crater in a sand dune. The dune crater, judging by the sand bags in the image is quite small, perhaps 3.5-4 meters from rim to rim. The yield for producing this feature could be anything from a few hundred kg of explosive yield upwards, depending on the depth of burial and the mechanism by which the surface crater was formed.
The initial environmental impacts of an underground nuclear explosion are associated with the seismic shock wave that results from the release of a tremendous amount of energy to the Earth surrounding the point of explosion, and the radioactive elements produced during the nuclear explosion, which in some cases may escape into the atmosphere. We consider these two in turn.
About 1% or less of the energy released in an underground nuclear explosion is transmitted as a seismic wave. This produces temporary ground motions just like an earthquake. As with naturally occurring earthquakes, ground motion from seismic waves arising from nuclear detonations could damage buildings and other structures. Nuclear testing in the Pacific has also caused damage to coral reefs with consequences to fish and other marine life.
For example, high rise buildings in Las Vegas more than 160 km away from the Nevada test site in the United States have been known to sway following underground nuclear explosions. In July 1979, a French nuclear test in the Mururoa Atoll led to an underwater landslide. This in turn created a tidal wave causing at least one technician to be seriously injured. It has been reported that following the Indian nuclear tests in May 1998, some houses in the nearby village of Khetolai had sustained some damage.
What kind the name is Divine Strake anyway? Reminds me of Monty Python's Holy Hand Grenade.
King Bush: "Ready thy Divine Strake!"
King Bush: "Then lobbest thou thy Divine Strake of USA towards thy foe,
who, being naughty in mine sight, shall snuff him and make glass of his ass."
Troops:"We cannot my lord, it's a bloody 700 tons!"
Originally posted by cyberdude78
I'm not entirely sure about that. Because if it's an underground test then in theory you'd actually have to get the geiger counter relativly close to the blast site. And I strongly doubt that the DoD is just going to let anybody walk on to the Nevada Test Range.
Originally posted by Zaphod58
During underground testing the US and Soviets were always able to tell when a test was done, because they would detect the seismic events from the blast. So if this *WAS* a nuclear test, they wouldn't be able to hide it for long.
Originally posted by Britguy
700 tonnes is a big bomb. As has been mentioned already, there's nothing that could deliver a conventional bomb that big anyway except for a convoy of trucks