ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Ocean of Radiation Under Nevada

Updated on December 18, 2009

Nevada's Hidden Ocean of Radiation

Sadly, this is not science fiction, although, one could see how a screenplay might be derived from the story. It is a story of a government ruthlessly testing atomic bombs for over 41 years in the Nevada desert with almost total disregard for its own citizens when dealing with the fallout of nuclear weapons. We are not talking of deformations from high levels of radiation or extensive radio activity from those living nearest to the contaminated areas. We are talking about an underground ocean under Nevada in their aquifers where ground water is gold.

Some 75 miles NW of Las Vegas there is an old test site that for 41 years was used to test atomic bombs underground. In that time, 921 detonations of nuclear warheads were exploded, each depositing its toxic load into the local underground aquifiers. By the time the US halted such tests in 1992, more than 300 million curies ( a curie = 1 gram of radium, 500 rads is lethal) of radiation had been simply left behind tainting life giving water deadly. It is the most contaminated lethal site in the US.

Back in the 60s, 70s, Nevada didn't need the water as badly because its populations were small, however, the story is now the opposite. The 1375 mile test site containing vast areas of desert lies in Nye County. Underneath the county lies 1.6 trillion gallons of water so contaminated it is deadly. That is the same amount of water the whole state took from the Colorado River in 16 years! It is enough to create a lake that is 300 miles long, one mile wide and 25 feet deep. Its economic value is a whopping $48 billion, had the US government cleaned up the mess they created. They didn't, though. Like an odd Twilight Zone or Outer Limits TV show, this underground ocean is moving to the southwest from the high ground up to 18 feet per year. The nearest town is Beatty some 22 miles distant. The EPA has said that cleaning it up is impossible and all they plan to do is monitor it. Nye County needs water and because it has little of it, a dozen companies have been turned away. Worse, as the good aquifers are used up and emptied, this acts as a siphon for water, nuclear waste water, to move in that direction.

Citizens of Las Vegas back in 1951, when the town was only 50,000, witnessed numerous odd mushroom clouds popping up spawning heavy fallout in areas closer to the blast. Those sites are still hot enough that one must still weapon hazardous suits for protection. When the testing went underground, it went deep, some 5000 ft. below, One third of the tests were done in aquifiers and others above the critical water table. Some of the water is bad ass stuff and reaches millions of picocuries per liter (the standard is 15 picocuries per liter). The 48 testing wells to keep tabs of contamination indicate the levels will be deadly for thousands of years.

Because the Energy Department considers this area a no threat zone to anyone, the department ranks it last on its list to cleanup nuclear waste and only allocates $65 million out of a budget of $6 billion used for cleaning up contaminate sites. The department reasons that it will be 6000 years before the underground ocean moves to Beatty.

I guess we'll all be dead by then anyway, so what the heck! As Rod Serling would say, " you've just entered the Twilight Zone".


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Presigo profile image


      9 years ago from Spokane, Wa

      good article. I lived in Nevada in the early 70's and remem,ber all the stories. Where I live now is about 100 miles from the Hanford site in Washington. So I find these articles very informitive, thanks for the work


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)