Environment: Green Light on Cannikin

The word is go. Or, as AEC Chairman James R. Schlesinger put it, "The Atomic Energy Commission is now planning to proceed with the Cannikin test. We have received the requisite authority to go, including detonation."

The decision was made by Richard Nixon himself, and it was a decision he did not expect to have to make. The whole thing seemed simple enough when it was proposed. The nation needed an anti-ballistic missile system, and its prime ingredient was the Spartan warhead, which is designed to destroy or neutralize incoming enemy warheads.

Since tests in the atmosphere were banned by international treaty,...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!