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Nuclear deterrence

DOE, LLNL take center stage at inaugural artificial-intelligence expo

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) Director Kim Budil and other LLNL staff joined Department of Energy (DOE) Deputy Secretary David Turk, National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Administrator Jill Hruby, DOE Under Secretary for Science and Innovation Geraldine Richmond, DOE Director of the Office of Critical and Emerging Technologies Helena Fu, U.S…

FAA awards first approval for drone swarm testing

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s (LLNL) Autonomous Sensors team has received the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA’s) first and — to date — only certificate of authorization (COA) allowing autonomous drone swarming exercises on the Lab main campus. These flights will test swarm controls and sensor payloads used in a variety of national security applications…

LLNL leads successful execution of subcritical experiment in Nevada

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) recently led the successful execution of the first U.S. subcritical experiment (SCE) since 2021 at the Principal Underground Laboratory for Subcritical Experimentation (PULSE) facility, formerly known as the U1a Complex, at the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS). The last LLNL-led SCE was in February 2019. The experiment —…

Jupiter Laser Facility gets a reboot

Fifty years ago, the first laser, Janus, was installed in Building 174 (renamed the Jupiter Laser Facility in 2006) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Additional lasers, more than 100 Ph.D.s granted time on the system and thousands of international users later, the Jupiter Laser Facility (JLF) celebrated its grand reopening Thursday after a four-year refurbishment,…

Lab scientist wins Springer Thesis Award for work in neutrino research

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) postdoc Sam Hedges has won a 2024 Springer Thesis Award for his work in searching for the elusive neutrino. “I’m honored that my thesis was nominated for this award, and was excited when I found out it had won,” Hedges said. His thesis, “Low Energy Neutrino-Nucleus Interactions at the Spallation Neutron Source," highlights the…

Comic book tells the story of ignition

A new comic book from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) illustrator John Jett tells the story of how a Lab experiment at the National Ignition Facility (NIF) made history. This 2024 issue of Ignition is an exciting sequel to Jett’s award-winning comic book, released in 2018, that made the scientific research conducted at NIF accessible to a broad range of…

Strategic Deterrence Academic Collaboration Team awards six scientists to support collaborative research

Six scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) were recently granted awards through the Lab’s 2023 Academic Collaboration Team (ACT) annual call for proposals. Awards support university research partners for up to three years to perform research in collaboration with Lab scientists and offer an important way to build long-term connections with…

Excellence recognized at NNSA Defense Programs Awards for 2022 achievements

In a virtual ceremony held Dec. 14, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) recognized six teams of LLNL researchers with the Defense Programs Award of Excellence. One additional award was acknowledged following the ceremony. The awards commend outstanding contributions made in calendar year 2022. LLNL Deputy…

Watching aluminum’s reaction under extreme pressure

Understanding laser material interactions has applications that include inertial confinement fusion, material research and equation of state studies. Laser ablation, and specifically increasing the pressure that can be achieved from a laser system, is a longstanding topic of scientific research with implications ranging from damage in layered devices like solar cells and…

Energy Secretary honors Lab scientist's contributions to stockpile stewardship

Secretary of Energy Rick Perry recognized Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) chemist Bill McLean with a Secretary’s Achievement Award Wednesday in recognition of "pioneering technical contributions that have led to significant advancements in science-based stockpile stewardship." The Secretary’s Honor Awards are bestowed on individuals who have a singular…

NIF sets new laser energy record

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s (LLNL) National Ignition Facility (NIF) laser system has set a new record, firing 2.15 megajoules (MJ) of energy to its target chamber -- a 15 percent improvement over NIF’s design specification of 1.8 MJ, and more than 10 percent higher than the previous 1.9 MJ energy record set in March 2012. This demonstration shot successfully…

Warhead life extension passes key milestone

The program to extend the life of the W80 nuclear warhead recently achieved a significant milestone when the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) gave passing grades to the plans to refurbish certain components and the proposed approach to developing component cost estimates. Passing the milestone confirms that the life extension program (LEP), dubbed the W80-4…

Plutonium research to advance stockpile safely

Conducting an experiment that combines high explosives with plutonium -- a special nuclear material used in nuclear weapons -- is no trivial matter. Not only do researchers need to ensure the plutonium remains "subcritical" to avoid a nuclear explosion, they must be absolutely certain that these materials are confined in a worst-case scenario. On top of that, they have to…

LLNL supports ICBM flight tests

As an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) rocketed into the night sky, a team of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) researchers listened intently to radio chatter and watched flight data stream in from a control room at the Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site. It was the first of two flight tests conducted recently to…

How this Martian moon became the 'Death Star'

Mars’ largest moon, Phobos, has captured public imagination and been shrouded in mystery for decades. But numerical simulations recently conducted at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) have shed some light on the enigmatic satellite. The dominant feature on the surface of Phobos (22-kilomters across) is Stickney crater (9-km across), a mega crater that spans…

National Ignition Facility tops 400 shots in FY16

LIVERMORE, California – On Sept. 18, the National Ignition Facility (NIF) performed its 400th experiment of fiscal year (FY) 2016, meeting the year's goal several weeks early. In comparison, the facility completed 356 experiments in FY15 and 191 experiments in FY14. NIF is on track to complete 415 experiments by the end of the fiscal year, more than doubling its FY14…

60 years of service to the nation

After finishing his education in physics at Sacramento State, Dan Patterson applied at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory at the recommendation of his adviser. As part of his interview, he worked on a few physics problems and filled out paperwork for a potential clearance. Six weeks later, he finally got a call asking him to report to work. It was 1955. Little did he…

Event honors 20 years of Stockpile Stewardship

The proven success of the Stockpile Stewardship Program (SSP) – which pushed the limits of modern science and engineering by requiring the transition from explosive nuclear weapons testing to what is effectively virtual nuclear testing – was celebrated Wednesday at a half-day public event hosted by the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)…

Labs tap Silicon Valley to bolster computing

The National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA’s) Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory today announced the awarding of a subcontract to Penguin Computing — a leading developer of high-performance Linux cluster computing systems based in Silicon Valley — to bolster computing for stockpile stewardship at its three national security laboratories. Under the terms of…

From grassland to 21st century science

Sixty years ago, the UC Radiation Laboratory began testing high explosives at what would become one of the nation’s most sophisticated non-nuclear weapons testing sites, an 11 square-mile plot of rural grassland tucked away in the steep ravines and tawny rolling hills near the Alameda-San Joaquin County line.On Thursday, Site 300 celebrated its 60th anniversary, with a…