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Dirty Harry: When the American Dream Became a Nightmare, Part 1


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Frenchman Flat, Nevada - Atomic Cannon Test - first atomic artillery shell fired from the Armys new 280-mm artillery gun. Source:

Frenchman Flat, Nevada - Atomic Cannon Test - first atomic artillery shell fired from the Army's new 280-mm artillery gun. Source:

In 1951, the first Atom bomb was detonated over a section of desert called Frenchman Flat, about ninety miles northwest of Las Vegas.

For more than forty years, this stretch of sage brush and sand would become ground zero for U.S. nuclear testing. In fact, the last detonation happened just fifteen years ago, on September 23, 1992.

Since the early 1990’s, independent producer Claes Andreasson has interviewed test site workers, scientists, legal scholars and test officials, as well as people living “downwind” from the Nevada Test Site. “Dirty Harry: When the American Dream became a Nightmare” is a culmination of those interviews.

Host Jon Beaupre will be our guide as we hear the stories about the early years of testing and how it affected people working at, and living nearby the test site.


Kern Bulloch, sheep farmer, Cedar City, Utah; Hal Curtis, iron worker at the Nevada Test Site, (Interview courtesy of KNPR-Las Vegas); Troy Wade, former test manager, Las Vegas, Nevada; Elmer Picket, Claudia Peterson, Michelle Thomas, “downwinders,” St. George, Utah; Janet Gordon and Patricia Gordon Dominguez, “downwinders,” Las Vegas, Nevada; Mike Wilcox, former test site worker, Las Vegas, Nevada; Joseph Lyon, University of Utah professor, Salt Lake City; John Gofman, professor emeritus, San Francisco, California; Bruce Jenkins, U.S. District Court Judge, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Senior Producer/Host: Tena Rubio
Contributing Freelance Producer: Claes Andreasson and host Jon Beaupre
Associate Producer: Puck Lo
Interns: Samson Reiny and Joaquin Palomino

“Dirty Harry: When the American Dream Became a Nightmare” was made possible in part by the PRX reversioning project.

For more information:

The Nevada Desert Experience – Las Vegas, NV

HEAL Utah – Salt Lake City, UT

Shundahai Network – Washington, DC

Western Shoshone Defense Project – Crescent Valley, NV

Downwinders – Malad City, ID

Western States Legal Foundation – Oakland, CA

Peace Action – Silver Spring, MD

Additional Information:

“Through the Hill” (Harold Budd-Andy Partridge)
“My Hero” (Jeff Beal)
“Back Safe At Home” (Jeff Beal)
“I am Leaving You” (Ry Cooder)
“Upstairs” (Jeff Beal )
“Letter from Lee” (Jeff Lee- Jeff Beal)
“To a Wild Rose” (Edward MacDowell-Lorelle Nelson)

Author: Radio Project

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