AUTHORFehner, Terrence R. / Gosling, F. G.
TITLEOrigins of the Nevada Test Site
PUBLISHERDepartment of Energy
CITYWashington, D.C.
ISBNnno number - use WorldCat search box/a
Web Access
Available online from Department of Energy

This 94-page book describes the events at the onset of the Cold War that led up to the selection of a southern Nevada site for the atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons. Written by two senior historians with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the summary provides descriptions of the test site region and its early occupancy by Native American people and miners; background on the opening of the nuclear age; a focused discussion of the selection of a continental atomic test site between 1947 and 1950; a detailed examination of the Ranger series of above-ground atomic tests in 1951; and a concluding section on legacies of the atmospheric testing program. The authors conclude that the fear of a "seemingly monolithic communism" and a "descent into a new dark age" propelled the rapid opening of a continental test site in 1951 (p. 88). They add, "Successfully locating and using in a matter of weeks, without public knowledge and referendum, a facility whose activities would cause physical damage in nearby communities and spread a known harmful substance across vast swaths of the countryside is now simply inconceivable" (p. 88). The report includes useful endnotes from many archival documents, most from the DOE's Coordination and Information Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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