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Nevada National Security Site

Photograph of NNSSA 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 The remote site is surrounded by thousands of additional acres of land withdrawn from the public domain for use as a protected wildlife range and for a military gunnery range, creating an unpopulated land area comprising some 5,470 square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