Nevada Test Site Renamed

The United States yesterday renamed the installation used for some 1,000 nuclear weapon tests as the Nevada National Security Site (see GSN, Sept. 24, 2009).

The former Nevada Test Site comprises 1,360 square miles of territory some 65 miles northwest of Las Vegas. The last above-ground nuclear weapons test there was conducted in 1963. The United States has observed a self-imposed moratorium on all nuclear test blasts since 1992 (see GSN, May 20).

The chief task of the Nevada National Security Site is to assist the National Nuclear Security Administration in ensuring the United States continues to have a credible, safe and secure strategic deterrent. The rebranding, though, was undertaken to more aptly reflect the range of homeland security, nuclear and energy operations that take place at the NNSA site, the semiautonomous Energy Department agency said in a press release.

Today, the site is used by the Homeland Security Department to drill emergency responders in responding to a nuclear incident and to evaluate the latest radiation sensors for use at border checkpoints and ports. For years, the Defense Department has employed the installation to improve its ability to discover and eliminate protected underground facilities and to carry out a variety of biological, chemical and nuclear detection activities.

"For 60 years, this site has played a critical role in keeping our nation safe and secure," NNSA Administrator Thomas D’Agostino said yesterday in released remarks. "As we adapt to changing national security missions and work to transform a Cold War nuclear weapons complex into a 21st century nuclear security enterprise, this site is growing ever more important. ... Renaming the site the Nevada National Security Site better reflects the critical and diverse role it plays in national security" (U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration release, Aug. 23).

August 24, 2010
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The United States yesterday renamed the installation used for some 1,000 nuclear weapon tests as the Nevada National Security Site (see GSN, Sept. 24, 2009).