Viva Las Vegas - NNSS Tour
It's been a while, but I've been busy with life. I took a trip to Las Vegas for the first time, two weeks ago. Visiting the strip was fun, and I managed to snag casino chips from 21 different casinos while I was there. But this blog isn't about gambling or casinos; you probably want to hear about my trip to the Nevada National Security Site.
It all started in 2022, when I found out you could visit our nuclear testing grounds on a free public tour put on by the Dept of Energy. Tours had been closed for a while due to COVID-19, but with some luck and frequently checking the tour page for updates, I was able to secure some spots on a tour when they resumed.
Rather than go through the list of what you couldn't take with you on the tour, I'll tell you what you could take. Your wallet/ID, snacks/food/water, and the clothes you're wearing. Yeah, that's pretty much it. You couldn't even bring a step counter. The tour took us through Mercury, NV, up into the Nevada Test Site where over 900 nuclear weapons had been tested up until the early 1990s. Atmospheric testing had been stopped since the 1960s, but underground tests continued for another 30 years.
The tour was awesome, and was right up my ally. I felt like a kid in a candy store getting in through the security gate guarded by private security contractors. Tons of unmarked buildings, razor wire, security checkpoints, and mystery around every corner. I'm sure working there takes a bit of the ambiance down a bit, but for a first time visitor in an area that many people will never see, it was exciting. I even kept my sales receipts from the cafeteria in Mercury, and the Bistro in the "Wet N Wild" forward operating complex.
Sedan Crater was amazing to see. Huge. But even better was know that just ~12 miles to the West was Area 51. You couldn't see it due to a mountain blocking the view, but honestly I don't think a civilian can get any closer than where I was at unless you gained clearance to work on something at the facility. Being out in the desert surrounded by mountains was incredible, and it was worth the trip by itself. Doubling my money in the casinos was great too, but I only bet $5....