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Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D.

Why Can't You Take Pictures at the Nevada Test Site?

By January 16, 2013

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Men in Black (RadioKirk)Yesterday I toured the Nevada Test Site, now officially called the Nevada National Security Site. It was a fascinating tour and I'll tell you more about it once I get back home, assuming I ever decide to leave Las Vegas! One question I wanted to take a quick minute to address was why you can't take pictures on the Nevada Test Site. Is there some great big secret or cover-up? What don't they want you to see?

There are two reasons you aren't allowed to bring cameras, cell phones (phone part is fine, but they have cameras), binoculars, video recorders, etc.

  1. First, there are sensitive projects relating to national security ongoing at the site. Photos of our expertise at detecting and thwarting terrorist plots don't need to get circulated around to people who might not have our best interests at heart. Various local and federal agencies and businesses conduct training exercises and research at the site. While there would be no issue whatsoever in photographing sites of the nuclear tests or even the equipment used for the tests, it would be too hard to control photography of other areas.

  2. Now, of course the more interesting reason why you aren't allowed to take photos at the Nevada Test Site is because its neighbor, Area 51 or Broom Lake or whatever you wish to call it, doesn't want you to take pictures of its projects. What projects? Well, they develop some of the latest and greatest aircraft. The US has never been keen on having pics of its cutting edge tech making the rounds. And, who knows? Maybe you've got aliens or alien technology there. People joke about it, but if you ever visit the site or the Area 51: Myth or Reality? exhibit at the National Atomic Testing Museum, you might have some things to think about. The Public Reading Room, located in the same building, has some intriguing declassified documents, too.
If you do want photos of the tests or the site as it is today, you can pick these up at the Museum or online. Everyone at the test site was very helpful and willing to answer any question. If you have an interest in atomic testing, chemical spill testing, or counter-terrorism, be sure to take the tour! Did I mention it's free?

Visit the Nevada Test Site | Trinitite Radioactive Glass from the Trinity Test


October 23, 2013 at 1:19 am
(1) Heather says:

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_Why Can’t You Take Pictures at the Nevada Test Site?_ on my own webpage. Do you mind in the event I reallydo it? Thanks a lot ,Susannah

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