Vegas PBS’ production The Test examines the history of atomic testing in Nevada, atomic tourism, and the consequences of being in Nevada’s “atomic backyard.”
The Test addresses atomic testing from the Manhattan Project’s secret laboratories to Nevada’s “Doom Towns” and the “downwinders” affected by radioactive fallout. During World War II and the ensuing Cold War, U.S. scientists were racing to keep the nation secure in the nuclear age. They knew the bomb had to be further tested, but the scientists initially lacked a full understanding of atomic weaponry’s destructive scope. Ultimately, atomic testing sites, including one in Nevada, were established. The program delves into the testing in Nevada and the rise of “atomic culture.” Highlights include “atomic tourism,” which describes how nuclear testing became a main event in Las Vegas as residents and visitors alike lined up to watch “the show.” Additionally, the production takes viewers to the present-day Nevada National Security Site, formerly known as the Nevada Test Site, for a tour and shows how the site is used to prepare first responders for the fight against terror and other dangers.
“The Test is part of our effort to produce programs interpreting significant events in Nevada’s history that help create a sense of place for residents and visitors,” said Vegas PBS General Manager Tom Axtell. “It is a meaningful local production resulting from a collaboration between Vegas PBS and our partners, the Atomic Testing Museum and the University of Nevada Las Vegas History Department.”
Featured interviews include Congresswoman Dina Titus, known for her expertise in the history and policies related to atomic power and the author of “Bombs in the Backyard,” and former Senator Richard Bryan, who in his early career worked at the Nevada Test Site.