Los Alamos Demolition Range and Laboratory General Assistance: (505) 667-5061
Operations: (505) 667-6622
Museum Information: (505) 667-4444
The Los Alamos Demolition Range is a 54,000 acre (84.38 square mile) facility in north central New Mexico approximately 102 miles north of Albuquerque at 35-53’00” N 106-19’28” W. The facility is bordered on the north, south and western fronts by the Valles Caldera National Preserve. The Western border of the area is marked by the Rio Grande River. The Los Alamos Demolition Range sits at an elevation of 7320 feet and as a result is subject to wide temperature swings. The arid climate around Los Alamos experiences hot summers and cold winters with occasional heavy snowfall and high winds.
The land of the Los Alamos Demolition Range was acquired by the United States Army in 1942 and the Laboratory established in 1943. The sole purpose of the Los Alamos Laboratory and Demolition Range was to serve as site Y for the Manhattan Project, to design and construct an atomic bomb. Within 20 months the site was able to develop and construct an atomic weapon, and on July 15 1945 the first atomic bomb was detonated 200 miles south of Los Alamos. Following World War II the Los Alamos Demolition Range continued to serve as testing range for large scale explosives and bombs in addition o researching nuclear weapons and applications.
The primary mission of the Los Alamos Demolition Range is to assure the reliability and safety of the United States nuclear deterrent. Though the focus of the Los Alamos Demolition Range and laboratory in the past weapons research, the present drive is science focused. A variety of research programs run at the facility including:
engineering sciences and application tomorrow
alternative energy systems
earth and environmental science
theoretical and computational biology
dynamic and energetic materials science
high-energy and applied physics and theory
New technologies developed at the facility allow for scientists to perform nuclear based tests and reactions without the need for underground demolitions or unnecessary radioactive exposure, develop plutonium manufacturing capabilities and conduct research of matter-radiation interactions. The Los Alamos Demolition Range and Laboratory is also home to Cielo and Roadrunner, two of the world’s fastest supercomputers that are approved for classified computing operations.
Sections of the Los Alamos Demolition Range and Laboratory or classified and off limits to the public but several areas are open for visitors. The Bradbury Science Museum found on the grounds is open to the public 7 days a week with varying hours. More information about public visits can be found by calling (505) 667-4444. Access to other areas of the facility is restricted and requires proper government clearance and authorization from the site security office.