Nevada National Security Site

Coordinator: Steve Sterbenz

Located in southern Nevada just north of Las Vegas, the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS) is the nation’s premier facility for high-hazard experimentation in support of the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Stockpile Stewardship and Global Security missions and has a 65-year legacy of developing cutting-edge, high-precision diagnostic technologies at extreme time, energy and spatial scales.

The NNSS hosts an array of defense and national security research by providing our partner national laboratories with unique capabilities to perform experiments that cannot be executed at any other site. Some examples of the facilities that provide these unique scientific research opportunities:

  • U1a Complex: A laboratory approximately 960 feet below ground, where subcritical experiments are performed that underpin the nation’s confidence in our nuclear stockpile. This facility is the home of two world-class 2.25 MeV flash X-ray sources (Cygnus 1 & 2) and is the future home of a 20 MeV 4-pulse linear induction accelerator, called Scorpius, that will acquire radiographs of scaled weapon-like implosion experiments.
  • Dense Plasma Focus facilities (DPF): Among the highest-priority missions in Stockpile Stewardship experimentation at the NNSS is development of nuclear fusion reactors, used as pulsed neutron sources. These pulsed-power devices serve as pulsed neutron and radiation sources useful in radiation detector development research and the understanding of material properties, such as radiation hardness and reactivity.
  • Dynamic Science Platforms: The STL Shock-physics laboratory in Santa Barbara, California, the North Las Vegas Gas Launcher, and the Joint Actinide Shock Physics Experimental Research (JASPER) two-stage gas gun experiments generate high shock pressures, temperatures, and strain rates to simulate those of a nuclear weapon. The gas gun forces a high-velocity projectile to a target containing special nuclear material. When the projectile hits the target it produces a high-pressure shock wave. Diagnostic equipment, triggered by the initial wave, measures the properties of the shocked material inside the target.

National Security Technologies LLC manages and operates the Nevada National Security Site and its satellite offices in support of national defense as well as research and development programs for the National Nuclear Security Administration.

The NNSS is more than just the Nevada Test Site. We also have offices in North Las Vegas and at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada; Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland; Los Alamos and Albuquerque, New Mexico; and Livermore and Santa Barbara, California.