Military Wiki

Area 12 within the Nevada National Security Site

Aerial view of Rainier Mesa

Rainier Mesa is one of four major nuclear test regions within the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS).[1] It occupies approximately 40 square miles (100 km2) along the northern edge of the NNSS and corresponds to Area 12.[1][2]

The Rainier Mesa area consists of both Rainier Mesa proper and the contiguous Aqueduct Mesa.[3]

At 7,680 feet (2,340 m), the top of Rainier Mesa is the highest elevation within the NNNS.[2]

Nuclear testing

Test Chamber for Operation Toggle Diamond Sculls, inside Rainier Mesa.

Area 12 held 61 nuclear tests between 1957 and 1992, one of which involved two detonations.[1] All tests were conducted below Rainier and Aqueduct mesas.[3]

Area 12 was the primary location for tunnel tests and used almost exclusively for that purpose.[nb 1] The tunnel complexes mined into Rainier and Aqueduct Mesa include the E-, G-, N-, P-, and T-Tunnel complexes.[2]

Current Activities

A 600-bed camp in Area 12 served as temporary housing to Mesa-region workers who didn't want to commute back home.

The Area 12 Camp was renovated and upgraded and provides a secure base camp for military units and other government agencies for conducting counter-terrorism and other exercises in the northern region of the NNSS. It provides an urban terrain setting utilizing existing commercial, residential, and industrial buildings. The camp includes 200 dormitory rooms, a cafeteria, weapons and munitions storage, and numerous operations and support buildings.[2] The Office of Secure Transportation uses it as a training facility.[2][4]


  1. Area 12 held 59 tunnel tests. There were a total of 61 tests in Area 12. The U.S. conducted a total of 67 tunnel tests, all at the NNSS.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 U.S. Department of Energy / Nevada Operations Office, United States Nuclear Tests - July 1945 through September 1992, December 2000, DOE/NV-209 Rev 15
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 National Nuclear Security Administration / Nevada Site Office, Draft Site-Wide Environmental Impact Statement Nevada, ch.2, July 2011, DOE/EIS-246-D
  3. 3.0 3.1 U.S. Department of Energy, National Nuclear Security Administration, Nevada Site Office (December 2004). "Corrective Action Investigation Plan for Corrective Action Unit 99: Rainier Mesa/Shoshone Mountain, Nevada Test Site, Nevada". 
  4. Knapp, George (2008-11-07). "I-Team: The Road Warriors, Part 2". Retrieved 2008-11-10. 

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Department of Energy.

This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).