The US Energy Department announced that the Wednesday nuclear test was aimed at providing “crucial information to maintain the safety and effectiveness of the nation’s nuclear weapons.”
The subcritical experiment, known as Pollux, was conducted by the staff from the Nevada National Security Site, Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories.
Subcritical nuclear tests examine the behavior of plutonium when shocked by forces produced by chemical high explosives.
According to UN figures, the US, which is the only country that has ever used atomic bombs against human beings, has conducted 1,032 nuclear tests since 1945.
The Nevada experiment has drawn sharp criticism from the Japanese city of Hiroshima, as the first victim of atomic weapons.
“I wonder why [US] President [Barack] Obama, who said he would seek a nuclear-free world, carried out the test,” Hiroshima mayor Kazumi Matsui told reporters.
“I wish he would take into account the feelings of the people of Hiroshima when making policy decisions,” he added.
Hiroshima was devastated on August 6, 1945 after the US B-29 bomber Enola Gay dropped an atomic bomb on the city, killing an estimated 140,000 people instantly or gradually from radiation sickness and cancers. Three days later, another atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, killing more than 70,000.
The nuclear radiation emitted following the blasts continued to claim thousands of more lives over the past decades.
“It is depressing that the United States cannot understand how atomic bomb survivors feel, despite our repeated protests,” said Secretary General of the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Survivors Council Hirotami Yamada.
The Wednesday experiment “is proof that the United States could use nuclear weapons anytime. Such a country is not qualified to be a world leader,” he noted.