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Nukes in Alaska: Then and now

Date and Time:

Raven Landing Center, 1222 Cowles Street, Fairbanks, Alaska

Headshot of speaker Curt Szuberla
Curt Szuberla
Wilson Alaska Technical Center

If you mention nuclear weapons testing, Alaska probably isn’t the first place that comes to mind. However, the 49th state has a long history of nuclear weapons research that continues into the present. Dan O’Neill’s popular 2007 book The Firecracker Boys shed light on plans in the late 1950s for so-called “peaceful nuclear explosions” to create artificial harbors in western Alaska. In this talk, we’ll focus on some lesser-known aspects of Alaska’s involvement, beginning with the three actual tests conducted in the Aleutians, from 1965 to 1971. In addition, Alaska’s proximity to the former Soviet Union and China made it an ideal location for long-range seismic monitoring of their testing programs during the cold war. This helped play an important part in establishing and verifying the nuclear test ban treaties of today.