Nevada Test Site Gets New Name - 8 News NOW

Nevada Test Site Gets New Name

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LAS VEGAS -- The Nevada Test Site 65 miles northwest of Las Vegas has a new name. The new name, the Nevada National Security Site, is meant to reflect the change from nuclear explosions to counter terrorism experiments.

The test site has gone through many changes over the years -- from mushroom clouds to underground explosions that continued until 1992.

The newly renamed Nevada National Security Site, or N2S2, aims to change the experiments from destruction to detection.

"This is the only place in the United States you can test chemical weapons. You can do it out in the open. It's one of the places you can do some great work in the tunnels that are available there, find out what some of the bad guys might try and do," said Nevada Senator Harry Reid.

Those potential bad guys Reid speaks of include Iran, North Korea and other countries developing weapons of mass destruction. That is bringing the U.S. State Department to Nevada's test site for the first time with a message for rogue nations.

"I think it will make a major difference in how we're able to do our job to keep them from doing the job they want to do," said Brian Nordmann with the State Department.

The name change also carries with it an added level of federal investment -- $40 million this year alone.

"This is not going to replace the 11,000 jobs that we've lost over the years, but we have about 3,000 people working there now, so it's going to create hundreds of new jobs. But this is only the beginning," said Sen. Reid.

The test site is also home to a new solar power testing zone. The Secretary of Energy says that project will create thousands of construction jobs and hundreds of permanent jobs.

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