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Nevada is home to top nuclear sensing site

Reported by: Vicki Gonzalez
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Updated: 7/24/2014 10:04 am

NORTH LAS VEGAS (KSNV — A nuclear disaster could strike just about anywhere in the world, but where does Las Vegas stand when it comes to detecting a threat?

The Remote Sensing Laboratory, housed at Nellis Air Force Base for the U.S. Department of Energy, tracks all types of radiation, whether it is the enormous magnitude of a detonation or as miniscule as radiation in the soil.

Either way, as more than 2 million of southern Nevadans are evacuating, there will be the brave few heading toward the disaster. One such person is Rajah Mena, a senior scientist at RSL.

"There's always some sort of an activity going on," Mena said.

The only other laboratory like it is at Andrews Air Force Base outside of Washington, D.C. These bicoastal contamination hunters carry the heavy responsibility of protecting the nation from radioactive threats and dangers.

RSL’s mission is ensuring that the nation’s most valued moments in history are free from nuclear harm  scanning inaugurations, even taking the incredibly rare task of watching over the White House.

There have been more astronauts on the moon than pilots allowed to fly over the White House.

Why is southern Nevada is home to a world-leader in radioactive sensing? The answer dates back to the 1950s, an era when a continuing nuclear threat grew on the grim milestones of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The Nevada Test Site detonated more than 800 nuclear devices in its 50-year history, so southern Nevada was a natural choice as a home base for this unique detection squad, selected to monitor, manage and respond to radioactive emergencies

Although nuclear testing in southern Nevada is now a part of history, this piece of vast, remote desert now known as the Nevada National Security Site offers the perfect nuclear protection for our country.

RSL has transformed the Nevada Test Site from a nuclear weapons blast zone — and a spectacle for gambling tourists — to a classroom.

Once an attraction in the backdrop of the Las Vegas Strip, RSL now uses the atomic remnants left behind to train law enforcement in detecting real, low-level radioactive material.

Southern Nevada is the only area in the country capable of providing this education opportunity.


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