Monday, 12 November 2018

The Nuclear Sedan Crater

Sedan Crater comes into existence of Sedan Nuclear Test. This Crater is located within the Nevada Test Site twelve miles of Groom Lake.  The Sedan Crater Maximum depth is 320ft and Maximum diameter is 1280ft. Sedan Crater is the result of the displacement of 12,000,000 short tons of earth. The Crater was created on July 6, 1962 by a 104-kiloton-of-TNT (440 TJ) thermonuclear explosion. In 1994, the crater was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  The Sedan experiment was part of the Plowshare Program, established in June 1957 to discover peaceable applications for controlled nuclear detonations. The idea was that a nuclear explosion could easily excavate a large area. They are facilitating the building of canals and roads, improving mining techniques, or simply moving a large amount of rock and soil.

Also more than ten thousand visitors pay a visit to Sedan Crater through free monthly tours. These tours are arranged by U.S. Department of Energy, National Nuclear Security Administration Nevada Site Office. Its closest Soviet counterpart is the slightly wider Chagan Crater which filled in to create Lake Chagan. The Sedan Crater at the Nevada Test Site (NTS) have features similar to the topography of Moon craters, 11 of the 12 American astronauts who walked on the moon trained in Nevada before their missions.

The Sedan experiment used an explosive device 3.5 times greater than any similar event at the Nevada Test Site. The explosion displaced approximately 7.5 million tons of earth, scattering it over 2,500 acres. The event covered vegetation and soil in radioactive material as far away as 10,000 feet from ground zero. Within 7 months of the excavation, the bottom of the crater could be safely walked upon with no protective clothing and photographs were taken. Hence, negative impacts from Operation Plowshare’s 27 nuclear projects eventually led to the program's termination in 1977, mainly due to public opposition. The explosion created fallout that affected more US residents than any other nuclear test, exposing more than 13 million people to radiation, although within 7 months of the detonation. The radiation had decayed to the point that the bottom of the crater could be safely walked upon with no protective clothing.

Further, the Sedan event and the other related experiments established that radioactive contamination in the surrounding areas made the technology prohibitive in area that might become populated. Nowadays, Russian thistle, also recognized as tumbleweed, dominates the plant species that have crept back into the Sedan Crater site. However in an analysis conducted in 1993 observed that the original perennial shrubs once living there had shown no recovery.

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