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The United States conducted a subcritical nuclear test at Nevada earlier this week, according to a statement released by the US Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. The experiment, the third under the administration of President Joe Biden, was carried out on Tuesday to collect “essential data” regarding the country’s nuclear warheads, according to the National Nuclear Security Administration.

The experiment was the first in the Nimble series, executed at the Principal Underground Laboratory for Subcritical Experimentation (PULSE) facility in partnership with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. The NNSA, an arm of the US Energy Department, said it relies on subcritical tests to support the safety and effectiveness of nuclear warheads, without the use of nuclear explosive testing.

The US government had announced a moratorium on tests involving nuclear explosions in 1992, however, successive administrations have continued subcritical tests. The last subcritical test took place in September 2021. “This experiment and all 33 previous US subcritical experiments were consistent with the zero-yield standard of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty,” the NNSA said in a statement.

Marvin Adams, Deputy Administrator for Defence Programs said in a statement, “We plan to increase the frequency of these subcritical experiments so we can continue to gather important data on nuclear weapons materials, with no technical need for a return to underground nuclear explosive testing.”