Nevada Appeal at 150: Jan. 25, 1951: First atomic explosion? “Detonation” near Las Vegas confirmed here by governor

First atomic explosion? “Detonation” near Las Vegas confirmed here by governor

Blast set off Wednesday night, Russell reveals

Other tests due in short while, officer report

Although few people in the state were aware of the fact, an explosion — and very possible an atomic one — has taken place in southern Nevada.

Gov. Charles Russell has been informed by an atomic energy commission official that there was a detonation in the desert testing area north of Las Vegas the night of Jan. 24.

That information was given him by Capt. Carroll Tyler, manager of Santa Fe operations of the U.S. AEC at Los Alamos, New Mexico.

Capt. Tyler told the governor that a “dry test run had been made” and confirmed report that a detonation (presumed here to be atomic) had been made Wednesday night.

Reason for the blast, Capt. Tyler said, was to test out the area’s communication system and other facilities.

He added that “other tests will be well underway within two or three weeks time.”

The captain was asked whether the tests would be noticeable or visible and he replied: “Some would be noticeable to a greater degree than others dependent upon weather conditions.”

Confirmation of thee rumored detonation came following a telephone conversation between Gov. Russell and Capt. Tyler. The governor’s office told Tyler that no announcement would be made unless inquiries were made. That agreement was satisfactory to him.

Capt. Tyler had said that there was no general release being made to the press because there was no need for it.

This week’s explosion came less than two weeks from the time that AEC officials announced that Nevada was to be the site of the first continental testing ground for atomic energy explosions.

This continues the Appeal’s review of news stories and headlines during its Sesquicentennial year.


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