Skip to main content

You are here

BREN Tower comes tumbling down as world record is set

NNSA BlogSome 345 tons of steel came tumbling down yesterday as a world record was set at the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS), when a 1,527-foot steel tower used in above-ground nuclear experiments in the 1960s was demolished.

The BREN (Bare Reactor Experiment -- Nevada) Tower was the tallest structure of its kind ever to be brought down. The tower was taller than the Empire State Building (1,454 feet, to the top of lightening rod) and taller than the Stratosphere Tower in Las Vegas (1,148 feet). 

The tower was brought down due to safety concerns for personnel working nearby and risk to aircraft flying in the area. Contributing factors included lack of use, maintenance issues, and an uneconomical cost of more than $1 million that would have been required return the tower to a usable state.

DEMCO, Inc. of West Seneca, N.Y., partnered with Controlled Demolition, Inc. of Phoenix, Md., to bring down the tower. Because the tower was so tall, highly controlled demolition techniques were employed. Explosives were used to remove a small section of one leg of the tower at ground level and sever the tensioned guy wires and the anchor/stanchions on the opposite side.

See video here.