Action comes after arrest of 15 activists at earlier test.
A unarmed nuclear missile test launch scheduled for early this morning (Thursday) has been postponed, the Lompoc Record, the local newspaper in Lompoc, Calif., where the missile was set to be launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, is reporting.
The Record reports that the Air Force has blamed postponement of the launch, which was to come on the anniversary of the 1954 testing of the largest nuclear device ever detonated by the U.S., on technical problems.
“The test launch is delayed in order to replace a test-unique tracking component used only on test missiles,” said Air Force Global Strike Command officials.
Peace activists have been quick to say that the postponement may have been due to negative reaction regarding the timing of the launch on the anniversary of the 1954 test.
That test, which was known by the code name Castle Bravo and saw the detonation of a thermonuclear hydrogen bomb with a yield of 15 megatons, led to what has been called the largest accidental radioactive fallout of any nuclear test. Although conducted in the Marshall Islands, traces of radiation from the fallout were detected as far away as Australia, India, and Japan.
The radiation also affected a Japanese fishing boat, where one member of the crew eventually died from the effects, and significantly affected islanders who returned to the island after the test.
At the Nuclear Peace Foundation’s Waging Peace blog, Rick Wayman, the foundation’s director of programs and operations, pointed attention to the fact that his group had put out an action alert calling on people to contact President Barack Obama to demand a stop to the test.
News of the postponement also comes days after a separate unarmed nuclear missile test launch at Vandenberg saw activists gather in protest.
(Read the rest of this article and watch video of the Feb. 25th protest at National Catholic Reporter Online)