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Explosives testing is a not-so-quiet part of INL security mission

Some people in the Terreton area have reported hearing explosions this week. To long-time residents, however, the experience may not be new.

One of the Idaho National Laboratory’s national security missions involves an area known as the National Security Test Range (NSTR). The range supports a variety of full-scale testing for the Department of Energy, Department of Defense, and other federal and industrial clients.

The range is located about 45 miles west of Idaho Falls in an isolated corner of the 890-square mile INL site. Its work includes testing explosives for such uses as breaching barriers or materials testing. The area is also used for custom electronics design and prototyping, specialty tool prototyping, electrical distribution systems, and laboratories for material analysis.

INL officials said the explosive testing is a fairly regular procedure, especially during the summer months.

The NSTR is allowed to use up to 500 pounds of explosives at a time.

It has been operating for over five years.

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