Testing the Test Site

Got an opinion on what the federal government should do with the Nevada National Security Site, the chunk of land northwest of Las Vegas formerly known as the Nevada Test Site? Then mark Sept. 20 on your calendar, because Uncle Sam wants you to show up between 5 and 8 p.m. at Cashman Center, 850 Las Vegas Blvd., and tell him what you think.

The Department of Energy recently put an environmental impact statement that will decide the site’s fate for the next 10 years. There are three options: stay the course, do more work there, and do less work there. Underground nuclear testing ceased in 1992, so you may wonder what kind of work they do there at all. Well, they aren’t just kicking back and watching satellite TV in air-conditioned trailers, if that’s what you’re thinking. They perform research on keeping the nation’s nuclear stockpile safe and ready, figure out what to do in case of nuclear attack, dispose of low-level radioactive waste and clean up areas that were contaminated during the test site’s explosive heyday.

None of the three options preclude using the NNSS as a solar power research site/generating facility, by the way. Download the draft environmental impact statement at the National Nuclear Security Administration’s website, nnsa.energy.gov, for some education reading before you go, or just show up and spout off.