The above link tells about the Nevada Test Site, an expanse of desert NW of Las Vegas where nuclear testing was conducted for forty years. It is run by the Dept of Energy, and bureaucracies being what they are, the place is still in business, even though its been over fifteen years since they popped the last nuke.
I was dumbfounded when I learned FREE TOURS were available. Go to the website above and click 'tours' to get the details on how to apply. Tours depart from the Atomic Testing Musuem on Flamingo Boulevard in Las Vegas; the group is bussed to Mercury, NV, which is closed to the public, and into the test area. It's an all day tour involving a two hour round trip bus ride--bring your own sack lunch.
The tour brought home to me the stupendous amounts of monies poured into nuclear weapons--at one time the NTS was one of the biggest employers in Nevada. The guides--in my case a retired DOE employee who'd spent his career at the test site--are extremely knowledgable, and make the trip a very informative experience. Included is a visit to a low-level nuclear waste processing area, with a very good briefing--abeit intended to reassure the visitor-- and a stop at one of the surviving houses of Doom Town, the village vaporized to study what would happen to an American city subjected to nuclear attack. I'm sure many correspondents on this board have seen the film of a house that _didn't_ survive--first charred black for an instant from the heat, then a moment later blown into toothpicks.
If your idea of a Las Vegas vacation is limited to gambling, gals, and gin and you wonder why anyone would want to spend a day looking at craters, this might not be your cup of tea. But for those of us old enough to recall the daily possibility of being vaporized because someone in Moscow had a grievance with someone in Washington DC--or vice versa--there's a macabre sense of fascination looking at a place where so much energy and treasure was expended on figuring out how to blow up the world.
Edited by El Bibliotecario, 07 March 2009 - 11:36 AM.