Nevada Test Site


President Truman established the NTS in December 1950, as the nation's on-continent nuclear weapons testing area. Prior to 1950, most tests were conducted in the Pacific. This was costly, time-consuming, and logistically difficult. The first bomb, a one kiloton warhead dropped from an airplane, was detonated on January 27, 1951. Between 1951 and 1962, 126 atmospheric tests of atomic weapons were conducted within the Test Site's boundaries.

Subsidence craters
Subsidence craters from underground nuclear testing.

In 2010, the NTS is renamed the Nevada National Security Site

What You'll See

Take a walk through "Doom Town", realistic sets constructed by the Atomic Energy Commission to measure effects of atomic weapons on animals and various types of buildings.

Public Tours Dates and Times

Apple-2 house
The Apple-2 house, part of Operation Teapot, a weapons-related series of nuclear tests in 1955.,

The site is only open to the public once a quarter, with the exact day picked a few months in advance. The site is closed on Friday through Sunday, so the public tours will always fall on a Monday through Thursday. To find out the day of the next tour call the Office of Public Affairs at Phone (702) 295-0944. You meet at the Department of Energy Nevada Operations Office in North Las Vegas at 7:00am, and a bus takes you there and returns you by 4:30pm. You need to call several weeks in advance and give them your full name, your date of birth, your Social Security number and your place of birth. Radiation badges are no longer necessary when visiting.

Please note:

  • A parent or guardian must accompany any participant under 18. The minimum age for taking the tour is 14.
  • A driver's license or other photo identification is required at time of badging. Foreign national must present a valid passport at time of badging.
  • Firearms, cameras, recorders, and binoculars are prohibited on the test site.
  • Casual clothing is recommended. Wear sturdy shoes. No shorts, no skirts, no sandals.
  • Cafeteria services are no longer available therefore, you need to provide your own lunch.

Tour Schedule

7:00am Visitors arrive at U.S. Department of Energy's Nevada Operations Office, Public Reading Facility, 2621 Losee Road, Building B-3, North Las Vegas, Nevada
7:15am Depart for Yucca Mountain Science Center (YMSC), 4101 Meadows Lane.
7:30am Arrive at YMSC.
8:00am Depart for Mercury, Nevada
9:15am Arrive at Mercury Badge Office for badging.
9:40am Depart for Gate 100.
9:45am Arrive at Gate 100 for badge check.
9:50am Depart for Mercury Cafeteria.
9:55am Arrive at Mercury Cafeteria. Escort picks up water container from cafeteria supervisor. Rest stop.
10:15am Depart for Frenchman Flat.
10:30am Arrive at Frenchman Flat. Drive-through briefing on weapons effects test structures and Spill Test Facility.
10:45am Depart for Area 5 Radioactive Waste Management Site (RWMS).
10:55am Arrive at Area 5 RWMS. Briefing by REECo representative.
11:15am Depart for Control Point-1 (CP-1).
11:30am Arrive at CP-1. Briefing by escort. Lunch while showing "NTS Events" film.
12:15am Depart for Bilby Crater.
12:30am Arrive at Bilby Crater.
12:40am Depart for Sedan Crater.
1:00pm Arrive at Sedan Crater.
1:10pm Depart for Area 1 Drill Yard.
1:30pm Arrive at Area 1 Drill Yard.
1:40pm Depart for Apple II houses.
1:50pm Arrive at Apple II houses.
2:00pm Depart for Mercury Cafeteria.
2:45pm Arrive at Mercury Cafeteria. Escort returns water container to cafeteria supervisor. Rest stop.
3:00pm Depart for Gate 100.
3:05pm Arrive at Gate 100 for badge check.
3:10pm Depart for DOE/NV Building, North Las Vegas.
4:30pm Arrive in Las Vegas

How to Get There

The Nevada Test Site is located 65 miles northwest of Las Vegas on I-95, although the only way to go on the tour is to take the special bus that leaves from Las Vegas.

Google Map