TONOPAH TEST RANGE
Sandia also operates the Tonopah Test Range (TTR) near Tonopah, Nevada approximately 240 kilometers (150 miles) northwest of Las Vegas, for flight testing. The TTR comprises 1,616 square kilometers (624 square miles), reduced from previous information citing 3,510 kilometers (1,350 square miles), of desert and mountainous terrain. It is surrounded on three sides by the Nellis Air Force Range, which provides a substantial buffer between the site and public lands, and to the north by Bureau of Land Management open range. TTR was part of the Nevada Test Site, which is located approximately 104 kilometers (65 miles) northwest of Las Vegas, Nevada in a sparsely populated region about the size of the State of Rhode Island.
The Test Range Area is a research facility with the mission to test the mechanical operation and delivery systems for nuclear ordnance and other defense-related projects. The site was used by DOE and DOD for testing ordnance delivery systems employing mock-ups of nuclear weapons, tests with conventional explosives, electronic training missions, and other activities. The site is still actively used by Sandia National Laboratories and the U.S. Air Force. Past operations at the site have resulted in the contamination of soils, and possibly the ground water with radioactive and hazardous materials.
Since 1956, the Tonopah Test Range has been managed by DOE and its predecessor agencies under a Memorandum of Understanding with the U.S. Air Force. No Category I/II quantities of SNM are permanently maintained at the TTR, although some test operations have involved SNM. Currently, the Tonopah Test Range is undergoing environmental restoration through the Industrial Sites Project.
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