Our compelling national security mission to maintain the nuclear deterrent and to mitigate the nuclear danger requires an outstanding workforce to do great science and to achieve technological excellence. Bruce T. Goodwin, Associate Director at large for National Security Policy & Research
The Laboratory conducts scores of hydrodynamics experiments that re-create the exact specifications of a nuclear device except for the special nuclear material. This experiment was conducted as part of the Stockpile Stewardship Program, which ensures the safety, security, and reliability of the nation's current weapons stockpile without nuclear testing. The test results help answer performance- and safety-related questions and are also used to improve computer simulations.
Though the Cold War is over and many global leaders are working to reduce their countries' nuclear footprint, our nation and allies continue to rely on our extended deterrent. LLNL's Weapons and Complex Integration (WCI) Directorate works to ensure the remaining deterrent remains safe, secure, and reliable.
WCI accomplishes this through the Stockpile Stewardship Program, an ongoing effort to apply a science-based fundamental understanding of nuclear weapons performance — from the development of enhanced warhead surveillance tools that detect the onset of problems to manufacturing capabilities that produce critical components. WCI integrates its science, technology, and engineering services and its facilities with the work and facilities at other laboratories within the NNSA Complex to meet NNSA's objective of creating a modern nuclear weapons infrastructure that is smaller, safer, more secure, and more cost effective. See video on YouTube: Stockpile Stewardship.
Using the Laboratory's tools and talents, along with those of the other NNSA laboratories, the nation has been able to assess and certify the safety, security and reliability of the stockpile each year without a return to nuclear testing for more than 20 years.
WCI scientists and engineers are able to accomplish this through unique centers of excellence, including:
Through these cutting edge tools, coupled with the Lab's multidisciplinary expertise, the nation can successfully transition to a reduced stockpile.
Much of our research is conducted in collaboration with other DOE national laboratories, academic institutions, and industry. Many times these collaborative projects end up directly benefitting the U.S. economy, because they lead to the transfer of new science and technology to industry.
WCI strongly encourages the widest possible dissemination of research results in publications and presentations at national and international conferences (both unclassified and classified, as appropriate) and offers numerous opportunities for professional development.