Nuclear Effects

White Sands Missile Range has the unique ability to conduct tests on nuclear effects. Capabilities include the blast and heat effects and two levels of radiation testing.


White Sands Missile Range is able to simulate the effects of a blast from a nuclear explosion at the Large Blast Thermal Simulator (LBTS). The LBTS can also be used to simulate conventional explosive blast effects.

  • The LBTS is used to evaluate the survivability and vulnerability of items to a simulated nuclear or conventional detonation.
  • Concrete shock tube size of 170m L x 20m diameter means full-size targets can be tested in the facility.
  • Thermal Radiation Source can be added for thermal pulse effects, especially the thermal pulse accompanying a nuclear blast.


White Sands Missile Range has the unique capability to simulate extremely high-temperature environments such as the heat generated from a nuclear explosion or solar exposure in space. Capabilities include:

  • White Sands Solar Furnace (WSSF). Simulates a nuclear thermal radiation environment by producing high-fidelity intense thermal radiation resulting from a nuclear blast (1kT to 3MT). It can also produce a high, steady-state, thermal environment of long duration. At full power, the energy generated by the WSSF can penetrate a half-inch stainless steel plate in 40 sec.
  • Large Blast Thermal Simulator (LBTS). The LBTS produces a combined blast and thermal environment to simulate a nuclear or conventional detonation environment.

Beta Wave Radiation

Gamma Wave Radiation

The Gamma Radiation Facility (GRF) is designed to provide the total gamma dose and residual gamma dose environments needed for nuclear effects testing of virtually any size item. The GRF has sources that can be used in any combination to provide an environment for transient radiation effects on electronics (TREE) experiments as well as verification tests of systems for gamma dose survivability. However, the uses of the GRF are diverse, including radiography and shielding experiments, as well as calibration and operational testing of military radic instrumentation.

  • Relativistic Electron Beam Accelerator (REBA)

    A Flash X-ray simulator that produces the gamma dose rate environments of a nuclear weapon detonation.

  • Gamma Radiation Facility (GRF)

    GRF provides total gamma dose and residual gamma dose environments.
    Used primarily for gamma dose survivability evaluations.
    Also can be used for radiography and shielding experiments.

  • Linear Electron Accelerator (LINAC)

    LINAC simulates the high intensity gamma spike associated with a nuclear detonation.
    High energy, short duration pulses of radiation.
    Used to test gamma dose-rate-sensitive electronics at the piece part, component and assembly level.

  • El Dorado Gamma Facility (EGF)

    EGF is an Enhanced Low Dose Rate Sensitivity (ELDRS) gamma room irradiator.
    Tests gamma radiation effects on semiconductors, circuit boards and entire electronic units.

For any questions or more information please contact G-5 Strategic Communications at 1-866-532-9767 or email us at