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Post Nevada Nuke Tests and Pepcon Disaster, 1988
Created by John Eipper on 05/07/15 10:05 AM

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Nevada Nuke Tests and Pepcon Disaster, 1988 (Holger Terp, Denmark, 05/07/15 10:05 am)

I have been working on a strange story related to American nuclear weapons.

It began here:


and continued here:


Later, I discovered this:


and this:


Now, I don't know what role the loss of the Pacific Engineering and Production Company of Nevada (PEPCON) factory played in the US nuclear policy during the later part of the Cold War and after, if any.

Do WAISers have any suggestions on this matter?

JE comments: The Pepcon catastrophe (Henderson, Nevada, 1988) is not in my memory bank, although it apparently was the largest non-nuclear explosion in US history.

Nevada native Tim Brown was probably abroad at the time, but can he give us any details?  Is there a direct connection between this disaster and nuclear testing in Nevada?  Pepcon made rocket propellant.

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  • Pepcon Disaster, 1988; MOAB and the Russian FOAB (Randy Black, USA 05/07/15 5:27 PM)
    To address Holger Terp's questions of 7 May, the Pepcon (Pacific Engineering and Production Company of Nevada) disaster in 1988 at Henderson, Nevada (10 miles from Las Vegas) killed two and injured 372. The explosion lead to a documentary film that to this day shows from time to time on the History Channel (Link herein). The Pepcon factory manufactured fuel for solid-state rocket engines. The US Space Shuttle program was a large customer of this type of fuel as were the US submarine-launched nuclear rockets.


    To answer John Eipper's question: There was no connection between that Henderson explosion and the US nuclear testing that took place in Nevada.

    Additionally, John offered, "it apparently was the largest non-nuclear explosion in US history." My quick read of the various US explosions seems to indicate that the Pepcon disaster is not the US's biggest non-nuclear explosion. According to the following Website, Henderson was "the equivalent energy of" 2.7 Kilotons of TNT in strength.

    June 27, 1985: The United States Defense Nuclear Agency conducted a test to simulate the blast of a nuclear weapons by detonating 4.8 kilotons of ammonium nitrate-fuel oil (ANFO) at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. This was the largest planned, non-nuclear explosion in history.

    See: http://gizmodo.com/5976153/25-of-the-deadliest-explosions-man-ever-made

    While the Henderson explosion may have been among our largest, the Russians have had larger explosions and they were not accidents but were man-made and involved Russian weapons.

    The Russian non-nuclear is four times larger than the US's version (their words). They call their non-nuclear bomb "the Father of all bombs" (FOAB) in contrast to our smaller "Mother of all bombs" (MOAB) tested a few years ago in Florida.



    JE comments: That's one heck of a bomb. The Russian officer in the video stresses that FOAB offers all the punch of an atomic bomb without the environmental mess.  There is something singularly disturbing about this argument, but conceivably a nation could use MOAB or FOAB without violating the uncrossable "nuclear boundary."

    The ball is in the US court now:  look out for GOAB (Grandfather of all Bombs).

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