Nevada National Security Site
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of land withdrawn from the public domain for use as a protected wildlife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.
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.
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, one of the
fastest growing urban areas in the United States. The world famous
"Entertainment Capital of the World" offers a full range of cultural
attractions and leisure activities ranging from water skiing to ice
skating. The climate is that of a high desert basin with an estimated
rainfall of less than seven inches and 310 days of sunshine each year.
The state of Nevada ranks number one in the nation for business climate,
population growth, and job creation with the majority of that activity
taking place in the southern part of the state. Nevada's favorable tax
structure with no corporate income tax, no personal income tax, no
franchise tax, no inventory tax, no admissions tax, no unitary tax, no
inheritance tax, and no capital stock tax, is one reason many businesses
are relocating to Nevada. Together, the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV)
and the Community College of Southern Nevada serve the higher education
needs of more than 41,000 students each year.
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Date Last Modified:
February 20, 2014