Mushroom cloud blast in Nevada delayed indefinitely
Las Vegas Sun
May 26, 2006

The federal government has indefinitely postponed a planned explosion that was expected to generate a mushroom cloud over the Nevada desert.

Officials said the delay would allow more time to answer questions about the blast, which opponents fear would kick up radioactive fallout left from nuclear weapons tests conducted at the Nevada Test Site about 85 miles northwest of Las Vegas.

“The previously announced date of no later than June 23 is no longer accurate,” said Darwin Morgan, spokesman for the National Nuclear Security Administration in North Las Vegas. “The experiment will be scheduled at a date later to be announced pending the legal action.”

The Winnemucca Indian Colony and several Nevada and Utah “downwinders” have filed suit in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas to block the non-nuclear blast.

The lawsuit, filed by Reno-based lawyer Bob Hager, claims the federal government failed to complete required environmental studies before planning to detonate a 700-ton ammonium nitrate and fuel oil bomb.

The federal Defense Threat Reduction Agency has said the explosion would help gather data about penetrating hardened and deeply buried targets.

Critics have called it a surrogate for a low-yield nuclear “bunker-buster” bomb.