A tract of desert near Las Vegas that the US used to test nuclear weapons during the Cold War is set to be transformed into a huge solar farm as the government seeks developers for the project.

The US Department of Energy (DoE) has announced it is issuing a request for qualifications to identify developers to build a 200MW-plus solar farm and energy storage facilities.

The 2,000-acre tract of land on offer is in the Nevada National Security Site in Nevada, about 105 kilometres northwest of Las Vegas.

The DoE launched an initiative last year to re-purpose an initial 70,000 acres (283km2) of its land for clean energy generation, including some previously used in the US nuclear weapons programme.

“These sites are all safe now. They are completely clean and ready for redevelopment,” said Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm at the time.

The US conducted the first nuclear test on the Nevada site in 1951, when the Cold War was ramping up. The site saw 928 tests in total before the last one in 1992.

For earlier above-ground tests, which were banned in 1963, the mushroom clouds from explosions were visible from Las Vegas.

Part of the site remains in use for nuclear weapons research and development including subcritical testing, which uses small amounts of nuclear material in a contained environment to avoid an explosion.

Other locations the US is planning to use for clean energy projects include an area of Rhode Island used for the Manhattan Project, which produced the first atomic weapons.