209 DAYS

When the Biden administration carried out its second subcritical nuclear experiment in September 2021, it remained a secret for 209 days.
209 days since the latest nuclear test on April 14, 2022

What is a subcritical nuclear test?

Subcritical nuclear tests are nuclear experiments designed to explosively bombard small amounts of weapons-grade plutonium-239. Carried out by the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) periodically in an underground alcove in the State of Nevada, the experiments, also dubbed ‘subcrits,’ do not reach a self-sustaining “critical” fission chain reaction. However, several critical problems remain. 

From my Handout , 'What are Subcritical Nuclear Tests?'

There are other ways of defining a subcritical nuclear test that get even closer to the core of why these experiments are controversial. Consider another definition of a subcritical nuclear experiment: 

What's a nuclear test that's not a nuclear test in name only? What is allowable by test ban treaties only because it escapes identity with the term 'nuclear test'?

More on transparency: 'U.S. Sneaks In Vega, Its 28th Subcritical Nuclear Test' 

Scan the global conversation map 

Subcritical nuclear tests are nuclear tests  in verbal camouflage.

Subcritical nuclear tests by U.S. since 1997 

1st --------------  2 July 1997, Rebound
2nd --------------18 Sept 1997, Holog
3rd --------------25 March 1998, Stagecoach
4th --------------26 September 1998, Bagpipe
5th --------------11 October 1998, Cimarron
6th --------------9 February 1999, Clarinet
7th --------------27 September 1999, Oboe
8th --------------10 October 1999, Oboe 2
9th --------------6 February 2000, Oboe 3
10th --------------22 March 2000, Thoroughbred
11th --------------9 April 2000, Oboe 4
12th --------------18 August 2000, Oboe 5
13th --------------14 December 2000, Oboe 6  
14th --------------26 September 2001, Oboe 8 
15th --------------13 December 2001, Oboe 7 
16th --------------14 February 2002, Vito 
17th --------------7 June 2002, Oboe 9 
18th --------------29 August 2002, Mario 
19th --------------26 September 2002, Rocco 
20th --------------19 September 2003, Piano 
21st --------------25 May 2004, Armando 
22nd --------------23 February 2006, Krakatau
23rd --------------30 August 2006, Unicorn 
24th --------------15 September 2010, Bacchus 
25th --------------1 December, 2010, Barolo A
26th --------------2 February, 2011, Barolo B
27th (Scaled)------5 December, 2012, Pollux
28th (Scaled)------13 December, 2017, Vega
29th (Scaled)------13 February, 2019, Ediza*
30th (Scaled)------3 November, 2020, Nightshade A
31st (Scaled)------22 June, 2021, Nightshade B
32nd (Scaled)------16 September, 2021, Nightshade C

*'Radiation Leak from 2019 Subcritical Test Blamed Mostly on Goofs, Incompetence'


Excerpt from 'U.S. Sneaks In Vega, Its 28th Subcritical Nuclear Test':

In 1997, beginning with 'Rebound,' the Department of Energy started providing a 48-hour notification prior to each subcritical test to various governments, organizations, and the media. For over a decade, the Energy Department, and later the NNSA, consistently adhered to this policy of prior notifications and also issuing a press release within hours or a day of each test.

In September 2010, for its 24th subcritical nuclear test, named 'Bacchus,' the NNSA abandoned its voluntary policy of providing a 48-hour notice and, months later, the agency first began to opt out of issuing a press release following a subcritical test. In fact, in late 2010 and early 2011, the NNSA conducted two subcritical tests, 'Barolo A' and 'Barolo B,' that were not followed up by any confirmatory announcements for months.

In June 2011, the NNSA proudly announced via a press release posted online that it was introducing a new practice of issuing quarterly summaries of its stockpile stewardship experiments, which included reporting on any recent subcritical tests.. and other stockpile experiments, many of them occurring at Los Alamos National Laboratory. In the press release, the NNSA remarked that the move was in keeping with its 'commitment to promote transparency.' For years, a growing collection of quarterly summaries was hosted on a NNSA web page but then in late 2015 the summaries were discontinued and in 2017 the webpage disappeared altogether without any notification or reason given.

2011 video primer: