Atomic Testing

Casino Owners Supported Nuclear Tests in Nevada; Before Ultimately Turning Against Nuclear Testing in that State

In recent years, the military command associated with the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore California, a facility that tests and analyzes nuclear fission in present day, has declassified hundreds of nuclear testing videos taken between 1945 to the 1962, as part of a preservation project to digitalize the footage, before the films become unrecoverable from a chemical reaction in the original film reels. Not only is the laboratory preserving these films, but they are reanalyzing film footage of nuclear fission reactions, from past tests, with current technology.

Many of those declassified videos were originally filmed in the state of Nevada, because a majority of the atmospheric tests, ground level and underground tests had been conducted at the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS). Interestingly enough, the tests in Nevada could be seen 240 miles away at the city of Los Angelos, where detonations around 5:00 AM were referred to as, “the second sunrise”.

When I visited the National Atomic Testing Museum in Las Vegas in 2016, I had learned there had been 928 nuclear tests in Nevada, between 1951 to 1992, and that casino owners used to advertise the tests as a “show” for the public in the the 1950s. However, once the public learned more about the existence of radiation sickness in the 1960s, interest in paying to see the nuclear tests declined. Eventually casino owners lobbied to ban above ground, ground level and below ground nuclear tests, as they viewed the fear of radiation sickness as a detriment towards attracting new visitors, and business, to Las Vegas.

Las Vegas was only 65 miles southeast away from where the Nevada National Security Site where the nuclear testing had occurred, so the concerns about radiation sickness were very legitimate at the time. In fact, if you go outside of the National Atomic Testing Museum you can see a radiation indicator which shows that low levels of radiation still emulate in the city from the former testing.

Reference Articles:

Atomic Tests Were a Tourist Draw in 1950s Las Vegas

How 1950s Las Vegas Sold Atomic Bomb Tests As Tourism

Scientists Conducted First Atomic Test in 1951, Ended in ’91.

Visit The Last Vestiges of Las Vegas’s Short-Lived Atomic Tourism Craze


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