Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory



The Primary Nuclear Design (PND) Program brings extensive experimental and theoretical expertise to a wide variety of national-security applications. The PND Program works with Secondary Nuclear Design (SND) Program to ensure national and global security by maintaining scientific and technical competence and leadership in all aspects of thermonuclear weapon physics, design, and operation. We apply theoretical, computational, and experimental physics to a wide range of Grand Challenge problems and more specifically to the following:

  • Design of nuclear weapon primaries
  • Shock hydrodynamics
  • Nuclear physics
  • High-explosive research and development
  • Science of materials under extreme conditions
  • Nuclear emergency response
  • Nuclear counterterrorism, forensics, and foreign nuclear weapon assessment
  • Advanced conventional weapons design
  • Integration of physics design, simulation, and experiments to the nuclear stockpile

This tiny metallic case holds the capsule for NIF experiments.]

This new diagnostic provided continuous photonic Doppler velocimetry (PDV) data during a subscale integrated weapons experiment. [More about this experiment.]

The program draws on key local resources as well as a wide circle of key facilities elsewhere in the NNSA complex. In the area of high-explosives (HE) research and development, we make integrated use of LLNL's High-Explosives Application Facility (HEAF) and the HE fabrication capabilities at Site 300. In support of the National Hydrodynamic Testing Program, LLNL's PND Program and its counterpart at Los Alamos National Laboratory both make extensive use of the complimentary capabilities of LLNL's Contained Firing Facility (CFF) at Site 300, the Dual-Axis Radiographic Hydrotest Facility (DARHT) at Los Alamos and the U1a Complex at the Nevada Test Site. The program plans to continue acquiring essential scientific data at the National Ignition Facility (NIF) in a variety of physics and material-strength experiments.

B Division

B Division is the integrating heart of the Primary Nuclear Design Program, which provides the experimental and simulation-based resources to implement NNSA's Stockpile Stewardship Program (SSP). B Division operates two of LLNL's key experimental facilities that support the SSP and other national security programs. The High Explosives Applications Facility (HEAF) and the Contained Firing Facility (CFF) at LLNL's Site 300 support the experimental side of the division along with efforts in experiment design and diagnostics development.

An extensive code-development effort supports the simulation side of the Division. B Division's designers integrate experiment and simulation to make decisions for the nation's nuclear stockpile.

WCI's computer simulations and code development are conducted on Sequoia, one of the world's most capable supercomputers, which is operated by LLNL's Computation Directorate in their Terascale Simulation Facility. PND conducts weapon system simulations using sophisticated computer codes to solve problems relevant to our mission.

Projection Simulation