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Two decades ago the last full-scale underground test of a nuclear weapon was conducted by Los Alamos National Laboratory at the Nevada Test Site.
The test, code named “Divider,” was detonated Sept. 23, 1992 as the last of an eight-test series called “Julin.”
The test had an announced yield less than the equivalent of 20,000 tons of TNT. The purpose of the test, also announced at the time, was “to ensure the safety of U.S. deterrent forces.”
Divider was the last of 1,030 nuclear tests carried out by the U.S. The first nuclear test, Trinity, also conducted by Los Alamos, took place in southern New Mexico 47 years earlier on July 16, 1945.
Early in September of 1992, Congress adopted the Hatfield-Exon-Levin amendment to the Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill calling for a nine-month moratorium on nuclear testing. In 1991, Mikhail Gorbachev unilaterally declared a halt on all Soviet nuclear tests. Because of this, Los Alamos scientists were well aware that Divider might be the last U.S. test for a while, though they did not envision a future completely without testing.
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