NNSA Announces New Name for Test Site

Press Release
Aug 23, 2010

LAS VEGAS -- National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Administrator Thomas D’Agostino today joined senior officials from the U.S. Department of State, Department of Defense (DoD) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and members of Nevada’s congressional delegation for a ceremony to announce the new name of NNSA’s 1,360 square mile facility located 65-miles northwest of Las Vegas. The new name for the site – the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS) – better reflects the diversity of nuclear, energy and homeland security activities being conducted there.

NNSS logo“For 60 years, this site has played a critical role in keeping our nation safe and secure,” said Administrator D’Agostino. “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. The work being done here in Nevada is a perfect example of the ways our nation’s investment in nuclear security is providing the tools to tackle a wide variety of national security challenges. Renaming the site the Nevada National Security Site better reflects the critical and diverse role it plays in national security.”

To commemorate the event, Administrator D’Agostino was joined by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid; Nevada Representatives Shelley Berkley and Dina Titus; Warren Stern, director of DHS’ Domestic Nuclear Detection Office; Kenneth A. Myers, director of DoD’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency; Brian Nordmann Director of the State Department’s Verification and Transparency Technologies Office; Stephen Mellington, manager of NNSA’s Nevada Site Office; and Stephen Younger, president of National Security Technologies.

The primary mission of the NNSS is to support NNSA’s efforts to maintain the safety, security and effectiveness of the nation’s nuclear deterrent without underground nuclear testing. Exercising the skills and capabilities required to accomplish that mission also helps provide the nation with a unique capability to support a wide variety of additional national security missions.

By renaming NTS the Nevada National Security Site, NNSA is recognizing the expanding, critical and diverse role it plays in our nation’s security. In addition to the critical work NNSS does in support of NNSA’s nuclear security agenda, other government agencies have come to increasingly rely on the inherent capabilities and remote location of the Site to support all of our Nation’s nuclear, energy, and homeland security efforts.

For example, DHS uses the site to train first-responders how to react in the event of an incident involving nuclear materials and test the next generation of radiation detection equipment for ports and border crossings. The DOD has long used the site as a location to understand how to detect and defeat fortified facilities constructed deep underground and conduct a wide range of chemical, biological and nuclear sensor detection work. Support of these and other national security missions is expected to grow as the NNSS continues to transform into a 21st century national security facility.

Later this year, NNSA is will be providing the Congress with a report on potential areas in which NNSS work can potentially be expanded to continue to tackle problems as diverse as counterterrorism, treaty monitoring, explosive sciences, and radiological countermeasure testing. This report will also examine any potential site improvements that would be required to support a change in the Site’s mission.

For a fact sheet on the potential new mission work at the NNSS, click here.

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Established by Congress in 2000, NNSA is a semi-autonomous agency within the U.S. Department of Energy responsible for enhancing national security through the military application of nuclear science in the nation’s national security enterprise. NNSA maintains and enhances the safety, security, reliability, and performance of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear testing; reduces the global danger from weapons of mass destruction; provides the U.S. Navy with safe and effective nuclear propulsion; and responds to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the U.S. and abroad.