B-52 A-Bomb Crash Test

Plutonium Valley is a six square mile valley in Area 11 on the Nevada Test Site, where in the early 1950’s, the AEC exploded 10,000 tons of TNT packed around a B-52 bomber and its nuclear device to simulate what could happen in a crash. The A-Bomb itself did not explode, but particles of plutonium […]


Slightly Hot Command Post

Occasionally the Nevada Test Site sells off surplus properties, which are most usually ‘command posts.’ I was told they are not radioactive, although my Geiger counter reacted by being placed near the skin of this ‘command post’. I went inside a few and while the Geiger counter beeped, I don’t think it was any more […]


Plutonium on the Half Shell

This small suite of rooms in the MacDonald Ranch farmhouse sits deserted on the White Sands Missile Range (WSMR). These rooms are where the ‘gadget’ was assembled after its arrival by car from Los Alamos. The tower holding the bomb was a short distance away, so the core was assembled and wired together in this […]


Test Structures – aka, The Motels

It sounds like it ought to be a rock band, but these were built to be destroyed in 1955. They have mostly weathered the storm, although at various times the Army used them for target practice despite being on the Historic Register of protected places. The tank was a test vehicle which became irradiated after […]


Fat Man Hiroshima Bomb

A World War II bomb casing for Fat Man dropped on Hiroshima in August 1945, is shown at the Atomic Museum in Albuquerque, New Mexico. These casings were filled with concrete and dropped from B-29’s in tests at the White Sands Missile Range and other locations to see how they fell. Dropping two Atomic bombs […]


Trestle, Area 5

This trestle was one of a series built for showing the effects of an atomic weapons pressure wave. There were a half dozen trestles, but today only one stands in the desolate silence of Frenchman Flat. More than 50 years has elapsed since Priscilla, as it was part of the Plumb-bob series detonated in 1957. […]


Melted Concrete, Area 5

This window frame is part of the structure known as the ‘Motels’. They stretch across Frenchman Flat as a series of concrete structures erected to show how varying materials withstood shock waves and high temperatures. This piece of concrete is melted and shows pitting probably caused by a combination of stress and heat. For additional […]


Mercury Hiway

This is the view the public sees when passing the Nevada Test Site entrance off US 95 between Las Vegas and Reno. On the left are large pens built to hold protesters. Whenever the going gets tough, the administration in DC changes the Test Site’s name. It began as the Nevada Proving Grounds, and then […]