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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

September 19th...This Day in History (Nevada is site of first-ever underground nuclear explosion + others)

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Nevada is site of first-ever underground nuclear explosion 1957
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On this day in 1957, the United States detonates a 1.7 kiloton nuclear weapon in an underground tunnel at the Nevada Test Site (NTS), a 1,375 square mile research center located 65 miles north of Las Vegas. The test, known as Rainier, was the first fully contained underground detonation and produced no radioactive fallout. A modified W-25 warhead weighing 218 pounds and measuring 25.7 inches in diameter and 17.4 inches in length was used for the test. Rainier was part of a series of 29 nuclear weapons and nuclear weapons safety tests known as Operation Plumbbob that were conducted at the NTS between May 28, 1957, and October 7, 1957.

In December 1941, the U.S. government committed to building the world’s first nuclear weapon when President Franklin Roosevelt authorized $2 billion in funding for what came to be known as the Manhattan Project. The first nuclear weapon test took place on July 16, 1945, at the Trinity site near Alamogordo, New Mexico. A few weeks later, on August 6, 1945, with the U.S. at war against Japan, President Harry Truman authorized the dropping of an atomic bomb named Little Boy over Hiroshima, Japan. Three days later, on August 9, a nuclear bomb called Fat Man was dropped over Nagasaki. Two hundred thousand people, according to some estimates, were killed in the attacks on the two cities and on August 15, 1945, Japan surrendered to the Allied Powers.

1957’s Operation Plumbbob took place at a time when the U.S. was engaged in a Cold War and nuclear arms race with the Soviet Union. In 1963, the U.S. signed the Limited Test Ban Treaty, which banned nuclear weapons testing in the atmosphere, underwater and outer space. A total of 928 tests took place at the Nevada Test Site between 1951 and 1992, when the U.S. conducted its last underground nuclear test. In 1996, the U.S signed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which prohibits nuclear detonations in all environments.

(More Events on This Day in History)

LITERARY
2000
Michael Chabon’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel debuts
Chabon, who was born in Washington, D.C., in 1963, graduated from the University of Pittsburgh and earned a master’s degree in creative writing from the University of California, Irvine. His first novel, “The Mysteries of Pittsburgh,” a coming-of-age story set in the city named ...
GENERAL INTEREST
1994
U.S. forces land in Haiti
On September 19, 1994, 20,000 U.S. troops land unopposed in Haiti to oversee the country’s transition to democracy.In 1991, Roman Catholic priest Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the first freely elected leader in Haitian history, was deposed in a bloody military coup. He escaped to ...
GENERAL INTEREST
1995
Unabomber manifesto published
On this day in 1995, a manifesto by the Unabomber, an anti-technology terrorist, is published by TheNew York Times and Washington Post in the hope that someone will recognize the person who, for 17 years, had been sending homemade bombs through the mail that had killed and maimed ...
GENERAL INTEREST
1955
Peron deposed in Argentina
After a decade of rule, Argentine President Juan Domingo Peron is deposed in a military coup. Peron, a demagogue who came to power in 1946 with the backing of the working classes, became increasingly authoritarian as Argentina’s economy declined in the early 1950s. His greatest ...
GENERAL INTEREST
1881
President Garfield succumbs to shooting wounds
Eighty days after a failed office seeker shot him in Washington, D.C., President James A. Garfield dies of complications from his wounds.Born in a log cabin in Ohio, Garfield was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives while serving as a Union colonel in the Civil War. He ...
GENERAL INTEREST
1893
New Zealand first in women’s vote
With the signing of the Electoral Bill by Governor Lord Glasgow, New Zealand becomes the first country in the world to grant national voting rights to women. The bill was the outcome of years of suffragette meetings in towns and cities across the country, with women often...