By Al Kamen
Friday, March 11, 2005; Page A21
Sudan's foreign minister told Al Jazeera television Wednesday that his government wanted to know more about a U.S. nuclear test in Sudan in 1962 that was disclosed last week at a House Armed Services subcommittee hearing.
The Sudanese summoned the U.S. chargé d'affaires to explain what this stunning revelation was all about. Turns out it was a false alarm.
The Federation of American Scientists (FAS) checked the subcommittee transcript and, sure enough, there is Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-Calif.) talking about a previously undisclosed 1962 "Sudan" nuclear test, which "displaced 12 million tons of earth and dug a crater 320 feet deep" with more than a 1,000-foot diameter.
But the FAS said the context makes it clear Tauscher was talking about the 1962 explosion in Nevada code-named "Sedan." "The remarkable crater it left behind can be visited today by tourists."
Both the Federal News Service and FDCH Political Transcripts mistranscribed Sudan for Sedan, and it "has been so recorded in the Nexis news database, where it continues to cause mischief," FAS reported.
Sudan's agriculture minister was reported to have suggested Wednesday that the test may have caused cancers in Sudan.
After talking to embassy officials, the foreign minister said the confusion was cleared up. "They want to confirm the tests did not take place in Sudan but in Sedan, part of the United States in Nevada," he added, according to Reuters.