Flashback: Forgotten test site nuclear bunker found

Mysteries

This story originally aired on KLAS-TV in Las Vegas, NV on September 14, 2001.

MYSTERY WIRE — On September 14, 1957, an 11 kiloton nuclear device within the Operation Plumbbod tests code named Fizeau was detonated from a tower on the Nevada Test Site.

All that remains of the tower is a tangled mess of metal and broken concrete. What test site workers didn’t realize for decades though is that just under the surface is a hidden bunker, a bunker that was once filled with high tech equipment, but which was forgotten until veteran technician Emery Whitlow reminded his former employers.

“I spent from May until September 212 hours a day down in that hole,” Whitlow said.

After learning about the bunker’s existence, test site workers set about to excavate the spot. Whitlow believed that with a 10,000 pound metallic dome over its top, the bunker and all of its technical goodies would still be intact.

Once the dome was removed, a team was assembled, radiation suits were put on, and a descent was made.

It was determined there was no longer any radiation danger, and days later, George Knapp and his photographer also entered the bunker.

Test site historians were disappointed to find the bunker was not intact, like modern tomb raiders, someone got in and took out a lot of the equipment including recording gear.

Much of what was found inside was slated to go to the yet-to-be-built National Atomic Testing Museum.

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