Nevada Test Site

Although there may be useful links here, this page is not actively maintained (after 1997). For new links see our new Nevada Test Site page.

The Nevada Test Site is a Rhode Island-sized testing ground northwest of Las Vegas where the U.S. conducted the majority of its nuclear weapons tests during the Cold War. From its founding in 1951 until the final Divider test in 1992, over 900 atomic explosions were detonated in this barren desert. In the 1950s, atomic tests were conducted above ground and resulted in devastating health effects to the "Downwinders" northeast of the site in Nevada and Utah. Since then, tests were conducted only underground, resulting in a pockmarked "lunar" landscape. The NTS is operated by the Department of Energy, which has become increasingly open about the site's history and its environmental problems. The NTS is bounded on three side by the Nellis Air Force Range and adjoins "Area 51" a secret military base at its northeast corner. Today, the Test Site is under consideration for various storage and processing projects for dangerous materials, and some non-nuclear and sub-critical explosions are still conducted there. [gc 12/5/96]

General Information

The Nevada Proving Ground was created by Pres. Harry Truman on Jan. 11, 1951, and the first atomic test, Operation Ranger, was conducted on Jan. 27, 1951. The final nuclear test, Divider, was conducted on Sept. 23, 1992. In between, there were 99 above ground tests and over 800 below ground tests. The NTS is broken up into numbered areas of varying sizes, from 1 to 30, with the omission of Areas 13, 21, 24 and 28. (Area 13 is an off-site location in the Nellis Range north of Groom Lake.)

Local Documents

External Links

  1. Department of Energy Nevada Operations Office
  2. Searches
  3. Maps: Xerox PARC Map Server. Old boundaries of Nellis range are shown in red. More recent boundaries connect the two large red sections on the north.
  4. Article: "A tour of the Test Site". 11/1/93
  5. NTS Radio Frequencies. Wackenhut Security 9/2/95
  6. Served Agencies
  7. History
  8. Official Information:
  9. Law and Government
    • Federal Register articles
  10. Unofficial Information:
  11. Test Site Contractors:
    • Raytheon
  12. Former Contractors
    • E.G. & G. (Edgerton, Germeschausen & Grier)
      • R.E.E.Co. (Reynolds Electrical and Engineering, EG&G subsidiary)
      • EG&G Energy Measurement Systems, official*
  13. Adjoining and Affiliated Facilities:
    • Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project." (DOE): official*
  14. Major Points of Interest:
    • Mercury. Company town used to house NTS workers, off US-95.
    • Frenchman Flat. Early above ground Atomic testing.
    • Control Point One (CP-1). Command Center for the Atomic tests.
    • Yucca Flat. Later below ground Atomic testing.
    • Sedan Crater. Largest bomb crater on the NTS, and Snowboarding slope ?
    • Papoose Lake Road. Leads to a secret Flying Saucer Base ? Bob Lazar.
    • Mercury Highway. Leads to the secret facility at Area 51
    • Rainier Mesa. Location of horizonal tunnels, equipped with a railroad network.
    • Pahute Mesa. Most recent area of underground testing.
    • Jackass Flats. NERVA area, Nuclear Engine for Rocket Vehicle Application.
  15. Test Site Tales:
  16. Misc:


The Dept. of Energy conducts free all-day public tours of the Nevada Test Site. Tours are usually conducted quarterly, and you need to sign up in advance. Contact DOE at 702-295-0941.

For new links see our new Nevada Test Site page.

Created: 1995
Last Modified: 1/8/97 gc.e