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April 17, 2014

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U.S. tests effectiveness of nuclear weapons at Nevada proving ground

Officials at a national proving ground in Nevada say scientists have conducted an underground experiment using high explosives to test the effectiveness of the nation's nuclear weapons.

National Nuclear Security Administration spokesman Darwin Morgan said Friday the Pollux subcritical experiment was conducted Wednesday at the Nevada National Security Site by researchers from the Los Alamos and Sandia national laboratories in New Mexico.

Pollux was the 27th such experiment since 1997 at the vast federal reservation 85 miles northwest of Las Vegas. The last was on Feb. 2, 2011. It was called Barolo B.

The experiments use explosives to test the properties of plutonium, but stop short of critical mass. That's the point at which a self-sustaining nuclear reaction occurs.

The NNSA posted a YouTube video of the test: http://bit.ly/YGlDHG

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