The largest underground nuclear test ever staged by the United States went off successfully on Saturday (6 November) beneath Amchitka Island off the Alaskan coast.
GV ZOOM IN Newsmen listen to spokesman giving countdown to zero
CU (SAME SHOT) Map of test site, voice continues
CU Seismograph, voice continues
SV Map of Amchitka Island, ZOOM OUT TO audience, voice continues.
Initials BB/0107 MD/MR/BB/0059
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Background: The largest underground nuclear test ever staged by the United States went off successfully on Saturday (6 November) beneath Amchitka Island off the Alaskan coast.
The five-megaton explosion--250 times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima 26 years ago-sent shock waves around the world. But there were no immediate reports of it triggering off earthquakes or tidal waves, as some opponents of the blast had feared.
Hours before blast-off, the U.S. Supreme Court snuffed out the last legal hope of opponents of the Amchitka test by narrowly rejecting a delaying petition by environmental groups. But Japan, one of the countries with most to fear from a resulting tidal wave or earth tremor, renewed its protest to the United States immediately after the explosion.
SYNOPSIS: At Anchorage, Alaska, newsmen listened on Saturday (6 November) to the countdown for the largest underground nuclear test ever staged by the United States. Scientists were about to detonate a warhead 250 times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima 26 years ago.
The test site--a solid rock chamber over a mile (1,600-metres) beneath the barren surface of Amchitka Island, midway between Anchorage and Tokyo. The shattering blast--equivalent to five million tons of TNT--was only certain to take place after a last-ditch bid to delay the test had failed. Hours earlier, the U.S. Supreme Court had narrowly rejected a petition by environmental groups.
But after the explosion this seismograph was one of several to reflect more optimistic results than some opponents feared. They had argued that the test could trigger off earthquake-prone Aleutian island chain that rings the Pacific. Japan and Canada--the countries most likely to receive any reaction--had protested fiercely. But the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission claimed the site was stable and pointed out that the test shaft had been plugged with rock and plastic to prevent radiation escaping into the atmosphere. And first studies of the test showed no immediate damage. American scientists hailed it as a complete success.