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.