US nuclear test condemned by Iran, Japan
The Iranian Foreign Ministry said the Wednesday detonation proves that US foreign policy relies heavily on the use of nuclear weapons, disregarding UN calls for global disarmament, PressTV reports.
The experiment also drew criticism from Japan, with Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui wondering why the Obama administration carried out the test, despite saying he would “seek a nuclear-free world.”
The test proves that the US “could use nuclear weapons anytime,” said Hirotami Yamada, who heads the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Survivors Council.
On Friday it was announced that the Nevada National Security Site had successfully detonated plutonium in a deep shaft Wednesday to test the safety and effectiveness of US nuclear weapons, National Nuclear Security Administration officials said.
The Pollux subcritical experiment was carried out by scientists at the Los Alamos, New Mexico national laboratory and the Sandia National Laboratories and involved a tiny sample of plutonium bomb material.
Subcritical nuclear experiments have been conducted in the US since 1997 in order to help scientists understand how plutonium ages in the stockpile.
They use chemical explosives to blow up bits of nuclear materials designed to stop just short of erupting into a nuclear chain reaction, also known as a criticality.
The latest test used new diagnostic equipment that enabled researchers to collect more data then ever before.
“This is a significant diagnostics advancement,” Darwin Morgan, spokesman for the Nevada National Nuclear Security Site, was quoted as saying by the Las Vegas Review Journal.
Officials claimed that the test was carried out to provide for the secure storage of nuclear warheads.
International inspectors were not allowed to witness the experiment, as Washington has prevented access to its test site since the late 1990s.
Wednesday's test is twenty-seventh American "subcritical experiment" since full-scale nuclear weapons tests were halted in 1992.