is the largest named area in the Nevada Test Site
The Nevada National Security Site , previously the Nevada Test Site , is a United States Department of Energy reservation located in southeastern Nye County, Nevada, about northwest of the city of Las Vegas...
at 254 square miles (657.9 km²), and has its own direct access from Route 95
In the U.S. state of Nevada, U.S. Route 95 is a major U.S. highway traversing the state from north to south directly through Las Vegas and providing connections to both Carson City and Reno...
. The majority of Area 25 is composed of a shallow alluvial basin called Jackass Flats
No nuclear explosions took place within Area 25.
Area 25 is the site of the now decommissioned Nuclear Rocket Development Station (NRDS). It was built in support of Project Rover
Project Rover was an American project to develop a nuclear thermal rocket. The program ran at the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory from 1955 through 1972 and involved the Atomic Energy Commission, and NASA. The project was managed by the Space Nuclear Propulsion Office.Nuclear reactors for the...
to test prototype nuclear rocket engines. The complex includes three test stands, the Engine Maintenance, Assembly, and Disassembly (E-MAD) facility, the Reactor Maintenance, Assembly, and Disassembly (R-MAD) facility, a control point/technical operations complex, an administrative area and a radioactive material storage area. Project Rover was successful, but ultimately canceled. On 8 December 1962, President John F. Kennedy visited the NRDS.
Jackass Flats was proposed as a possible launch site for Project Orion
Project Orion was a study of a spacecraft intended to be directly propelled by a series of explosions of atomic bombs behind the craft...
, administered by General Atomics
General Atomics is a nuclear physics and defense contractor headquartered in San Diego, California. General Atomics’ research into fission and fusion matured into competencies in related technologies, allowing the company to expand into other fields of research...
in the late 1950s.
The Rock Valley Study Area, at the southern boundary of Area 25, was used for studies of radiation in a desert ecosystem, starting in 1960.
High-level radioactive materials handling studies were carried out at the BREN Tower
BREN Tower is a guyed steel framework mast, high, on the Nevada Test Site in Nevada, USA. "BREN" stands for "Bare Reactor Experiment, Nevada."...
, currently standing in Jackass Flats, where it was moved after 1963 for the High Energy Neutron Reaction Experiment (HENRE) series.
A "Treatability Test Facility" was established in Area 25 to study the physics of decontaminating soil containing plutonium or uranium.
Area 25 was used in the early 1980s for Peacekeeper missile siting studies and canister ejection certification tests.
Air Force Lieutenant General Robert Bond was test flying a MiG-23
The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23 is a variable-geometry fighter aircraft, designed by the Mikoyan-Gurevich design bureau in the Soviet Union. It is considered to belong to the Soviet third generation jet fighter category, along with similarly aged Soviet fighters such as the MiG-25 "Foxbat"...
from the secret U.S. fleet of MiGs held at Area 51
Area 51 is a military base, and a remote detachment of Edwards Air Force Base. It is located in the southern portion of Nevada in the western United States, 83 miles north-northwest of downtown Las Vegas. Situated at its center, on the southern shore of Groom Lake, is a large military airfield...
. He lost control of the MiG 23 over Area 25 on his second orientation flight on April 26, 1984. To explain the death and conceal the nuclear rocket testing that occurred at Area 25, the information on the crash and the secret MiG testing program, with no mention of the prior use of the crash area, was leaked to Fred Hoffman, an AP military reporter.
Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository site characterization studies were conducted at the site of earlier NRDS work. Yucca Mountain extends into Area 25, which was the proposed access point for delivery of radioactive waste
Radioactive wastes are wastes that contain radioactive material. Radioactive wastes are usually by-products of nuclear power generation and other applications of nuclear fission or nuclear technology, such as research and medicine...
to the repository.
Portions of Area 25 are used by the military for training exercises. The U.S. Army Ballistic Research Laboratory conducts open-air and X-tunnel tests using depleted uranium.
The BREN Tower is used by a number of organizations for a wide variety of research (e.g., sonic booms, meteorology, gravity drop tests, satellite infrared imaging).
On July 8, 2010 it was announced by Harry Reid
Harry Mason Reid is the senior United States Senator from Nevada, serving since 1987. A member of the Democratic Party, he has been the Senate Majority Leader since January 2007, having previously served as Minority Leader and Minority and Majority Whip.Previously, Reid was a member of the U.S...
, Steven Chu
Steven Chu is an American physicist and the 12th United States Secretary of Energy. Chu is known for his research at Bell Labs in cooling and trapping of atoms with laser light, which won him the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1997, along with his scientific colleagues Claude Cohen-Tannoudji and...
and Ken Salazar
Kenneth Lee "Ken" Salazar is the current United States Secretary of the Interior, in the administration of President Barack Obama. A member of the Democratic Party, he previously served as a United States Senator from Colorado from 2005 to 2009. He and Mel Martinez were the first Hispanic U.S...
that a 25 square miles (64.7 km²) portion of this area was being reassigned as a development and test area for new solar technologies.