A unique national resource, the Nevada National Security Site is a massive outdoor laboratory and national experimental center that cannot be duplicated. Larger than the state of Rhode Island, approximately 1,375 square miles, the Nevada National Security Site is one of the largest restricted access areas in the United States. The remote site is surrounded by thousands of additional acres of land withdrawn from the public domain for use as a protected wildlife range and for a military gunnery range, creating an unpopulated land area comprising some 5,470 square miles.
Established as the Atomic Energy Commission's on-continent proving ground, the Nevada National Security Site has seen more than four decades of nuclear weapons testing. Since the nuclear weapons testing moratorium in 1992 and under the direction of the Department of Energy (DOE), test site use has diversified into many other programs such as hazardous chemical spill testing, emergency response training, conventional weapons testing, and waste management and environmental technology studies.
Larger than many small countries, the Nevada National Security Site offers an enormous amount of space, including more than a 1,000 miles of completely undisturbed land available for new projects. The vast site also offers security. The boundary and security areas are guarded, and the area is isolated from population centers.
NNSS: A Proud Past, An Exciting Future
Project personnel operate in complete privacy only 65 miles from the major urban area of Las Vegas, from which supplies and services are readily available and which can accommodate any increase in population that might result from additional activities. Commuter buses provide convenient transportation to and from work for test site personnel, and the arid desert climate allows year-round operation.
The site is adjacent to the Nellis Air Force range complex. The site also benefits from ready access to several additional airports in the area, including McCarran International Airport and the on-site Desert Rock Airport with a runway capable of accepting jet aircraft.
Points of Interest on this Field Trip
Located within the boundaries of the Nevada National Security Site, the base camp of Mercury has many of the amenities found in a typical small town. Housing, medical services, fire protection, law enforcement and security, and a cafeteria are all on site. There are more than 1,100 buildings valued at more than $700 million. There is housing for more than 1,200; offices, laboratories, warehouses, and training facilities; a hospital, post office, fire station, and sheriff's substation; and a large motor pool complete with repair facilities.
There are 400 miles of paved roads and 300 miles of unpaved roads, two airstrips, and 10 heliports, as well as several active water wells and an electric power transmission system. Programs are in place to ensure environmental protection and the safety and health of the work force.
The Nevada National Security Site is located 65 miles north of Las Vegas.
This field trip has some restrictions. Additional details will be posted here as we work through the planning procedure.
Advance reservations are required for this field trip.
Visitors are not permitted to bring cameras, binoculars, telescopes, or tape recorders on the tour.
Cell phones are not permitted.
Laptop computers are not allowed.
Firearms are not permitted under any circumstances.
Visitors may not remove soil, rock, plant samples or metal objects from the Nevada National Security Site.
We anticipate this tour will depart from the Atomic Testing Museum at 755 E. Flamingo Road, Las Vegas, Nevada. It will likely depart at approximately 7:30 a.m. and return at 4:00 p.m. Please make arrangements to arrive early enough for adequate parking.
The Nevada National Security Site is located 65 miles northwest of Las Vegas, Nevada. Each tour usually covers about 250 miles. Casual clothing is recommended, and sturdy shoes are required for the rugged terrain. No shorts or sandals are permitted.
Visitors to the Nevada National Security Site must be at least 14 years old. Pregnant women are discouraged from participating in Nevada National Security Site tours because of the long bus ride and uneven terrain.
The Spirit Cave mummy is the oldest human mummy found in North America. It was discovered in 1940 in Spirit Cave, 13 miles east of Fallon, Nevada by the husband-and-wife archaeological team of Sydney and Georgia Wheeler.
The Wheelers, working for the Nevada State Parks Commission, were surveying possible archaeological sites to prevent their loss due to guano mining. Upon entering Spirit Cave they discovered the remains of two people wrapped in tule matting. One set of remains, buried deeper than the other, had been partially mummified (the head and right shoulder). The Wheelers, with the assistance of local residents, recovered a total of sixty-seven artifacts from the cave.
Partly cloudy. Lows overnight in the low 60s.
Partly cloudy. Low around 60F. Winds N at 10 to 20 mph.
A mainly sunny sky. High 72F. Winds N at 15 to 25 mph. Winds could occasionally gust over 40 mph.
Last updated on
Thu, 27-Apr 7:47 pm